T-Mobile's HSPA+ now available in 50 markets

T-Mobile USA continues its aggressive rollout of HSPA+, announcing that the network now covers more than 85 million people in 50 major metropolitan markets.

In June, T-Mobile announced it had HSPA+ coverage in 25 major metro markets. The operator plans to cover 185 million people in 100 major markets by the end of 2010.

In conjunction with the roll out, T-Mobile also introduced the webConnect Rocket 2.0 USB laptop stick with an updated form factor to its first HSPA+ capable device. The operator said 16 of its current 3G devices, including more than a dozen smartphones, will benefit from the higher data speeds provided by HSPA+ but they aren't HSPA+ enabled. T-Mobile also confirmed reports that its first HSPA+ smartphone will be released later this summer but didn't provide any additional details.

Earlier this month, the blog TMoNews, indicated the nation's No. 4 carrier also plans to double the peak download speed of its HSPA+ network to 42 Mbps in 2011. The blog, which cited a picture taken at a T-Mobile managers meeting in Seattle, indicated T-Mobile hopes to stay ahead of the rest of the wireless pack by increasing the speed of its network through software upgrades. The picture shows a chart with T-Mobile ahead of "VZ LTE" (presumably Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) planned LTE network), WiMAX from Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and "AT&T 14.4."

The newest HSPA+ additions include: Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Waco, Texas; Baltimore; Baton Rouge and Lafayette, La.; Birmingham, Ala.; Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale and Jacksonville, Fla.; Greenville, S.C.; Honolulu; Indianapolis; Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; and Wichita, Kan.

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Rumor Mill: T-Mobile punching up HSPA+ to 42 Mbps in 2011