Las Vegas - T-Mobile disclosed a timetable for expanding its high-speed HSPA+ wireless-data footprint, launched its first 3G netbook, and welcomed the first Nokia 3G smartphone to its selection during the CTIA Wireless 2010 convention here.
HSPA+ technology, which delivers theoretical peak data speeds up to 21Mbps, has been rolled out in the Philadelphia, New York and Washington metro areas. The technology will be operating by year's end in more than 100 metropolitan areas with a population of 185 million people, with the fiber-optic cell-site backhaul in place to support those wireless speeds, company executives said during a press briefing. By midyear, half of that rollout will have been completed, said Neville Ray, engineering and operations senior VP.
AT&T will no longer be able to boast that it has the fastest 3G network, added Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer.
The company's 3G 7.2Mbps HSPA network currently operates in markets with a combined population of more than 206 million people.
As the company lights up its HSPA+ markets, the installed base of 7.2Mbps HSPA handsets and modems will enjoy an immediate speed boost, with the potential to double their peak speeds to 14.4Mbps, depending on their processing power, Brodman said. Because of this backward compatibility, "Customers don't have to spend money on a device upgrade, which is a rarity in consumer electronics," he said. The majority of the carrier's smartphones already support 7.2Mbps HSPA, he noted.
The sole T-Mobile device capable of 21Mbps HSPA+ speeds is the webConnect Rocket USB Laptop Stick, available in Philadelphia at $99.99 with built-in Wi-Fi. Additional models will be available in the second half, as will additional smartphones supporting 14.4Mbps peaks, Brodman noted.
In launching new products, the carrier said its first 3G netbook will be available March 24 in T-Mobile-owned stores and the carrier's Web site in Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 with Windows 7 starter pack and 7.2Mbps HSPA retails for $199 with two-year contract and qualifying data plan.
The 3-pound netbook also features Intel Atom processor N450, integrated six-cell battery delivering up to eight hours of continuous usage, and webConnect Manager software to help customers manage connections to T-Mobile's 3G network, Wi-Fi and thousands of T-Mobile HotSpots.
The company held off until now to offer netbooks because it was waiting for netbook performance to improve, Brodman said. It will be available only in four markets for now "to ensure a good retail experience," he added.
The Nokia 3G smartphone, called the Nuron, is also available March 24 and will be the carrier's most affordable touchscreen smartphone, at $69, Brodman said. It features full touchscreen, Symbian OS, 3.6Mbps HSPA technology, included Nokia's Ovi Maps navigation application and access to Nokia's Ovi store.