T-Mobile: myTouch 4G is averaging 5 Mbps download speeds

Neville Ray, chief technology officer at T-Mobile USA, said the carrier's new HSPA+ myTouch 4G smartphone supports average download speeds of 5 Mbps, with peak speeds in the 10 Mbps to 12 Mbps range. "This is a smartphone with a compelling proposition," he added.

Neville Ray, chief technology officer at T-Mobile USA, Speaking at the Wells Fargo Securities Technology, Media & Telecom Conference this morning, Ray offered a view into the carrier's network plans. The company has deployed its HSPA+ service in 75 major cities, and plans to deploy the technology in up to 100 major metro areas by year-end. Earlier this month, T-Mobile announced it will upgrade its network from HSPA+ 21 Mbps to HSPA+ 42 Mbps in 2011. Ray said the company believes there will be a strong device lineup for HSPA+ 42 Mbps in 2011, and he predicted that by next year at this time there will be HSPA+ 42 smartphones on the market.

Ray added that much of the T-Mobile's HSPA+ performance is due to advances in its backhaul. T-Mobile now uses 14 different backhaul providers, including local exchange carriers, Ethernet wireless providers and cable companies. Economics is the main reason T-Mobile is using so many providers. Ray said that beginning in 2007 when T-Mobile started to upgrade its backhaul many of the incumbent backhaul providers were struggling to upgrade to fiber, so T-Mobile had to work with smaller providers to get the right mix of technology and price. "It was a combination of scheduling and pricing to bring it together and create a capable network," Ray said.

Ray said T-Mobile will move to LTE, but noted that the technology still faces challenges including standardizing voice over LTE and offering compelling devices. "LTE devices are still expensive and still a challenge with battery life and heat dissipation," he said. "We are looking at how that will mature in 18 months to two years." 

He added that T-Mobile does have options available to it in terms of migrating to LTE in 2011 and 2012 using its existing spectrum. However, he said that the company will watch and see how the LTE ecosystem matures.

Nevertheless, he added that the company is not opposed to using a wholesale provider such as LightSquared. However he added that T-Mobile must evaluate the cost proposition. "I am not an MVNO and there is nothing virtual about T-Mobile's operations. When we look at wholesaling, I have a factory that produces minutes and bits at a certain price. For me to look at opportunities I need to make sure the cost has to be similar or better than my own production."

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