T-Mobile's 1900 MHz HSPA+ refarming efforts reach 100M POPs milestone

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T-Mobile USA has deployed HSPA+ on its refarmed PCS 1900 MHz spectrum in 23 cities, covering 100 million people with the improved service, according to CTO Neville Ray.

The latest markets to gain 1900 MHz HSPA+ are Chicago; Reno, Nev.; Fresno and Sacramento, Calif; and Southern California, wrote Ray in a post on the operator's blog.

The Southern California market upgrade covers numerous cities, specifically, Alhambra, Anaheim, Claremont, Culver City, El Monte, Encino, Garden Grove, Granada Hills, Inglewood, Irvine, La Crescenta, Laguna Niguel, Monrovia, Monterey Park, Newport Beach, North Hills, North Hollywood, Paramount, Pasadena, Redlands, Reseda, Rosemead, Santa Ana, San Fernando, San Gabriel, Santa Monica, South El Monte, Temple City, Torrance, Upland, Valley Village, Van Nuys, Westminster and Wilmington.

GigaOM noted that T-Mobile's latest announcement means the operator is about one-third of the way to completing its 1900 MHz HSPA+ refarming effort.

At the 4G World conference in Chicago in October, Ray said T-Mobile USA had completed 95 percent of the refarming of its 1900 MHz spectrum but had not launched HSPA+ service in all those markets. Some of company's HSPA+ deployments in its 1900 MHz spectrum were delayed due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

The company is not shy about reminding current and and potential customers that they are welcome to bring their unlocked AT&T smartphones to T-Mobile, which can provide HSPA+ service to them in upgraded markets rather than just the 2G GSM service that formerly occupied all of T-Mobile's 1900 MHz spectrum.

T-Mobile says its data plans would enable a smartphone user to save up to $50 per month vs. what they would pay on AT&T. The savings are based on a comparison of T-Mobile's $69.99 monthly Unlimited Talk, Text and Data plan vs. AT&T's Unlimited Talk, Text and 3 GB Smartphone Data plan.

T-Mobile has been harmed by customer churn due to the fact that it has not carried Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, though at least 1 million unlocked iPhones are believed to be on its network currently. By deploying HSPA+ on its 1900 MHz spectrum, the operator will be positioned to offer the iPhone. In fact, the operator announced last week that it will finally begin marketing unspecified Apple products starting sometime in 2013.

T-Mobile also stated that it will eliminate all device subsidies from its rate plans in 2013.

T-Mobile is on track to begin deploying LTE on the AWS 1700/2100 MHz frequencies being vacated by its HSPA+ service in 2013.

For more:
- see this T-Mobile blog entry
- see this GigaOM article

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