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

T-Mobile USA has been crowing about its HSPA+ rollout, but the carrier may have bigger plans in store for next year. According to the blog TMoNews, the nations' No. 4 carrier 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."

A T-Mobile spokeswoman declined to comment.

T-Mobile, which was the last of the four Tier 1 operators to roll out its 3G network, has been trying to bound ahead of its competitors with HSPA+, which is currently available in 25 markets. The operator plans to cover 100 major metropolitan areas--185 million people--with HSPA+ by year-end. 

Meanwhile, Sprint is hoping to cover around 80 markets and 120 million POPs via WiMAX by the end of this year. Verizon said it will offer LTE in 25-30 commercial markets in the fourth quarter, covering 100 million POPs. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) said it will roll out HSPA+ to 250 million POPs by year-end, with LTE scheduled for next year.

For its part, T-Mobile has been coy about its 4G plans. Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann declined to comment on a recent Financial Times report that said T-Mobile was holding preliminary talks with Harbinger Capital Partners to become a wholesale customer of Harbinger's proposed LTE network. However, he said T-Mobile USA needs to be open to cooperation on 4G, "for instance with other network operators, where one could share the network in certain regions," because capital expenditures "would be huge if you plan to cover a large area. So we need to remain open to that, there's no question." T-Mobile reportedly also has had discussions about being a wholesale provider with WiMAX carrier Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR).

In other T-Mobile news, the carrier introduced a 3,000 minute family plan option, to sit between its existing 1,500 minute and unlimited offerings.

For more:
- see this TMoNews post on T-Mobile's network plans
- see this TMoNews post on T-Mobile's family plans
- see this Gadgetsteria post

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