T-Mobile expands HSPA+ to 25 markets, will call it '4G'

T-Mobile USA has expanded its HSPA+ footprint to cover 25 metropolitan markets nationwide and will continue to market that service as "4G" despite criticism from competitors. 

The new HSPA+ markets launched include Los Angeles; Dallas, Houston; Atlanta;  Seattle; Tampa and Orlando, Fla., Pittsburgh; Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, N.C.; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; New Orleans; Charleston, S.C.; Bentonville, Ark.; Anderson, S.C.; and Fayetteville, N.C.

T-Mobile plans to cover 100 major metropolitan areas--185 million people--with HSPA+ by year-end. In late May the company said that its HSPA+ service was available in the New York City metropolitan area, including New Jersey and Long Island, as well as Upstate New York (Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse); Connecticut (Hartford, New Haven, Milford and Stamford); Providence, R.I.; Memphis, Tenn.; Las Vegas; Philadelphia and the Washington, D.C., suburbs.

In an interview with FierceWireless, Jeremy Korst, director of mobile broadband products and services at T-Mobile, said that the carrier will market the service as 4G because it provides 4G speeds. "Our competitors are talking about 4G speeds as 3 Mbps to 5 Mbps and asking customers to pay more for that service. We have had third parties clock our speeds at 5 Mbps and we aren't asking customers to pay more for it," he said.

AT&T, which is also deploying HSPA+ throughout its network as a stepping stone to its 2011 deployment of LTE, cautioned T-Mobile and others from calling HSPA+ a 4G technology for fear of misleading consumers.

Mark McDiarmid, director of engineering and operations at T-Mobile USA, added that T-Mobile will be selling its HSPA+-capable webConnect Rocket Laptop Stick in the new HSPA+ markets. He added that the company's 15 HSPA devices will benefit from the upgrade even though they are not HSPA+ devices because these devices will be able to take advantage of faster backhaul speeds. The company has upgraded its backhaul in these markets using a combination of copper, fiber and some microwave backhaul. He added that T-Mobile's core network has been modernized and has an all-IP infrastructure which lets the firm efficiently scale capacity to the core network. "Some of our competitors are still working with ATM and TDM and those technologies don't scale well," he added.

For more:
- see this press release

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