T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 smartphone users guzzle 1.3 GB per month

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T-Mobile USA subscribers with smartphones capable of accessing the carrier's HSPA+ 42 Mbps network consume an average of 1.3 GB per month. The figure is almost double the 760 MB per month that T-Mobile said its overall smartphone user base consumes, and it highlights the fact that users generally consume more mobile data if they have access to a faster network.

Click here for Ray's full presentation. (PDF)

According to Chetan Sharma Consulting, roughly 30 percent of all U.S. smartphone users download more than 1 GB of data per month.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray disclosed the carrier's figures during a presentation at the NGMN conference in San Francisco. Ray also said that video accounts for almost 50 percent of T-Mobile's overall HSPA network traffic.

Currently, T-Mobile offers an HSPA+42 network covering 184 million POPs in 185 markets, and its HSPA+21 network covers around 220 million POPs. The carrier advertises the network as "America's largest" that provides "4G" speeds. Indeed, independent tests have shown that T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 network offers download speeds of around 8 Mbps, similar to what Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) provides via its LTE network.

Alongside the usage figures, T-Mobile's Dave Mayo provided an update on the carrier's network upgrade plans. Mayo, senior vice present of technology at T-Mobile, said that by the end of this month the carrier expects to install new, LTE-capable base station equipment at 400 cell sites and will grow that number to 2,500 sites by the end of July.

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Nokia Siemens Networks are the vendors for T-Mobile's $4 billion network upgrade project.

Interestingly, Mayo also said T-Mobile is currently testing LTE network technology and that the carrier will begin testing LTE Release-10 equipment--dubbed LTE Advanced--in the summer.

Following AT&T's (NYSE:T) failed $39 billion attempt to purchase T-Mobile, the carrier now is embarking on a network and marketing refresh it hopes will rejuvenate its flagging position in the U.S. market. On the network side, T-Mobile plans to refarm its own spectrum and use AWS spectrum it acquired from AT&T in order to launch LTE next year. Part of that effort will free up HSPA services on T-Mobile's 1900 MHz spectrum, which will allow the carrier to provide 3G speeds to unlocked iPhones. On the advertising side, T-Mobile is taking aim at rivals with a more aggressive message touting the speed of its network and the prices of its services.

For more:
- see this T-Mobile blog post
- see Ray's NGNM presentation (PDF)
- see this EE Times article

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