T-Mobile CEO on Android, femtocells and more

T-Mobile International CEO Hamid Akhavan said that the carrier's MyFaves offering now has 5.2 million customers in U.S. "We believe that we have found the pulse of community," Akhavan said. There are already more than a quarter million MyFaves users in Europe five weeks after it launched, he added. T-Mobile offers 35 different handsets that support MyFaves.

Akhavan also announced that T-Mobile Austria will carry Apple's iPhone during the first half of the year and that a few other T-Mobile carriers across the globe will get the handset soon. What's more, T-Mobile plans to debut its first device based on Google's Android operating system during the fourth quarter of 2008.

An audience member asked Akhavan why T-Mobile wanted to launch a device running an unproven operating system like Android. Akhavan replied: "That's the dilemma of innovation--someone always has to be first." The CEO explained that a good operating system takes years to develop, but Android's progress is very encouraging and could make Android a groundbreaking platform. Android "kicks the web'n'walk experience [up] to the next level."

T-Mobile has also updated roaming for its Web'n'walk mobile Internet offering in Europe: Now all European users can roam onto other European carriers' networks and maintain the same service price. Akhavan said the carrier plans to introduce a data cap on such usage, but it won't come out until later in 2008. It won't be a "bill shock for any customer," Akhavan promised.

Akhavan also teased the audience with an upcoming LTE and femtocell announcement: "Come to CeBit, I promise we'll impress you," he said. T-Mobile has been working on femtocells for quite some time, but the carrier is stumped on monetization of femtocell services more so than any technological aspects. Akhavan said to expect the first commercial femtocells during the second half of 2008. -Brian and Jason

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