T-Mobile USA outlines aggressive plans for HSPA+ coverage this year

During this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, T-Mobile USA revealed more plans regarding its rollout of HSPA+, which is capable of transmitting peak data rates at 21 Mbps.

T-Mobile plans to launch HSPA+ marketwide before the end of the year, covering 90 percent of its existing 3G footprint, but indicated the rollout depends on T-Mobile upgrading its backhaul capabilities to support those data speeds and avoid any capacity problems.

Neville Ray, senior vice president of engineering operations, told Light Reading that T-Mobile is working with independent providers to put fiber and microwave backhaul in place. T-Mobile already offers HSPA+ in Philadelphia, and Ray said fiber was already in place before the initial HSPA+ launch. The rest of the operator's markets will follow that model.

For T-Mobile, this will mean working with "independent providers" to get fiber or microwave radios in place. "It's a mix," Ray says. While copper is the preference for T-Mobile, pragmatism and availability come into play too.

T-Mobile announced it will release its first HSPA+ plus device, the webConnect Rocket Laptop Stick, in March. According to T-Mobile, the webConnect Rocket will enable subscribers in the operator's Philadelphia HSPA+ market to surf the Web, download large files or view video content on the go at speeds comparable with their home broadband service.

For more:
- see this Light Reading Mobile article

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T-Mobile's Ray promises national HSPA+ deployment by mid-2010
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