T-Mobile HSPA+ Service Expanding to 42M bps by 2011

T-Mobile says it will ramp up HSPA+ speeds to 42M bps in 2011 and reach 200 million people in 2010.

T-Mobile plans to increase theoretical peak speeds of its HSPA+ (High-Speed Packet Access) to 42M bps in 2011, according to an Aug. 31 statement from Neville Ray, the company's chief network officer. Currently, the carrier offers "theoretical" peak speeds of 21M bps.

HSPA+ will allow Android phones to reach 4G speeds at downloads up to three times faster than 3G, the company has said.

T-Mobile also reported that it will expand the HSPA+ network to 100 million customers in the United States and nine additional cities, including Boston; San Diego; Miami; Topeka, Kan.; and Spokane, Wash.

The carrier also plans to reach 200 million people later this year, according to Ray.

The company recently announced that it will have an Android G2 (most likely an HTC model) available by mid-September on the HSPA+ network.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group, explained that the expansion of the network should provide a boost to the selling power of the G2 phone. "This is what will make new phones like the HTC Android G2 sing, and it is a strong response to Sprint's 4G moves," Enderle wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK.

In May, T-Mobile expanded its network along the East Coast, including in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. It first launched HSPA+ in Philadelphia in September 2009.

With HSPA+, T-Mobile is in a race for faster wireless speeds with Verizon's LTE, Sprint Nextel's WiMax and AT&T's 14.4 HSPA+ networks.

"T-Mobile lags Verizon significantly in coverage and has a huge opportunity against a near-crippled AT&T if they can bring something unique and powerful to market," Enderle wrote. At&T's "network is saturated and they are having the biggest bandwidth problems of any of the providers," Enderle wrote. This has prompted many AT&T customers to move to other mobile carriers, he noted.

AT&T service also has been strained due to iPhone load, as noted when the Dell Aero smartphone was released. The carrier has also been known for locking down Android phones on its network from installing applications outside the Android Market.

"HSPA+ coupled with T-Mobile's bandwidth headroom may be enough to put them back in the running and, at the very least, where they have coverage make them a better choice for those that want to use the full capability of their hot new smartphones," Enderle added.