T-Mobile's HSPA+ wave to hit coasts first

T-Mobile USA hinted it will soon deploy its HSPA+ network upgrade to cities along the East and West Coasts, according to Dave Mayo, the carrier's vice president of engineering.

Mayo, in an interview with GigaOM, said the carrier has already upgraded its HSPA network in "major" cities along the California coast, and "major cities from Washington, D.C., to Boston" will soon get the upgrade. In January, T-Mobile said it deployed HSPA 7.2 network technology across its entire footprint as part of a prelude to HSPA+, which will offer theoretical peak download speeds of 21 Mbps.

The exact timing of T-Mobile's HSPA+ upgrade is still unknown, but the company said it plans to deploy HSPA+ across the breadth of its network by the end of 2010 and that its network would cover around 205 million people in the United States. In clarifying its timetable, the carrier noted that it had previously stated it would have HSPA+ broadly deployed by mid-2010.

Of course, backhaul upgrades are an equally critical piece of the puzzle. Mayo acknowledged T-Mobile does not have a wireline network to turn to for backhaul, like larger rivals AT&T and Verizon. Mayo told GigaOM that T-Mobile so far has brought fiber with 20 Mbps of capacity to 7 percent of its cell towers, and in the comings weeks will deploy fiber at around 25 percent of its towers.

By deploying HSPA+, T-Mobile is leapfrogging its GSM competitor AT&T Mobility, which has said it will skip HSPA+ and move directly to LTE next year. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Deustche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company, is considering an initial public offering or a spinoff of T-Mobile. By selling off a portion of the company, Deutsche Telekom could potentially attract more cash for T-Mobile's network buildout and upgrades.

For more:
- see this GigaOM post

Related Articles:
Report: Deutsche Telekom considering T-Mobile IPO or spinoff
AT&T upgrades cell sites to HSPA 7.2 software
T-Mobile upgrades 3G footprint to HSPA 7.2
AT&T starting HSPA upgrade in six cities
T-Mobile's Ray promises national HSPA+ deployment by mid-2010
T-Mobile USA to boost 3G network speeds to 21 Mbps

Article updated Feb. 10 to clarify T-Mobile's HSPA+ deployment timetable.