Live from CTIA 2010 T-Mobile HSPA+ Event!


Today was a monumental day for me, for TmoNews, our readers and for humanity in general.  Just kidding on that last part!  Andrew already touched on the HSPA+ announcements just a little while ago.  However, for the first time, TmoNews found itself at a T-Mobile event and I didn’t even have to sneak in!  It was an experience in and of itself and, while it wasn’t some huge event with balloons and hoopla, to me it was fantastic just to be there.  Yet again, it helped reaffirm the love I have for T-Mobile and the desire I have to help in its success.  That being said, you all want details and forgive me if I touch a little on what was posted earlier.

  • 97% of the US is covered with 2G right now; 47,000 cell sites covering 206 million people
  • HSPA+ currently is available in New York City, New Jersey, Long Island, Washington DC and the suburbs west of DC with Los Angeles coming soon

  • Over 100 metros will enjoy HSPA+ goodness before the end of 2010; that equals 185 million pops
  • “HSPA+ will rival the speeds to LTE”
  • Easy overlay to the existing footprint, utilizing spectrum blocks purchased a few years ago
  • HSPA+ is 4G-like speeds with the footprint better than LTE AND Wimax in the near term
  • HSPA+ isn’t just specific to T-Mobile; the ecosystem is maturing; global technology path for 40+ carriers
  • 1 in 5 households are now mobile only
  • 60$ of T-Mobile customers choose 3G smartphones; the average Android users on T-Mobile uses 20 times more data a regular smartphone user
  • Dell Inspiron Mini rolling out tomorrow
  • Webconnect Rocket, first HSPA+ device

Cole Brodman and Neville Ray, our two speakers, went on to discuss a few more details before taking some questions. One of their highlighted bullet points was that T-Mobile offers the best value, with flexible plans on a faster network which is something that tends to be overlooked by some of the T-mobile faithful as they peer at the other carriers with stronger device lineup.  One of the most interesting facts was that websites would load some 40% faster than Wimax on HSPA+.  In addition, Cole Brodman emphasized that an 800mb download will be 3x faster than the Verizon EVDO network.  When it comes to T-Mobile pricing, there is emphasis on delivering the best value with the most competitive options and there is a strong focus on smartphone pricing.

Here is what you really want to know.  HSPA+ capable devices WILL BE available in the 2nd half of 2010. Of course, what devices those are remain unknown but I think it’s a safe bet to think T-Mobile has an understanding that, at those speeds, users will want powerful smartphones and I believe they are prepared to deliver on that.

When it came to marketing, T-Mobile emphasized that they are among the top 20 advertisers in the US.  However, what is lost in translation and a source of my own complaints is that they are outspent by both Verizon and AT&T who are the top two advertisers in the US right now.  Cole Brodman made a sharp point to say that he wants to move the conversation away from terms like “3G” and “4G” and more to “blazing fast internet” and “download movies faster.” They want to change the lingo and whether or not that is due to the fact that the competition is likely to play the name game, it’s a great strategy because the average consumer doesn’t care about the lingo.  The consumer wants to hear things like “blazing fast internet,” because that is what a customer will remember.  I don’t know what kind of marketing T-Mobile has in store, but I look forward to a commercial that doesn’t involve this terminology because every time I see a Sprint commercial praising their 4G network, I want to throw something at the TV.

One of the questions asked during the Q & A revolved around tethering and/or a Mifi-like service.  Brodman deflected the question of tethering away and pretty much gave a we don’t think so kind of response but more important was his confirmation that a Mifi-like device is on the T-Mobile roadmap for this year.  Emphasis was placed on the idea that the theoretical speeds of HSPA+ are 21mbps but the network is like to run between 10-12mbps.  Still, all things considered, that’s pretty damn good.  It’s certainly expected to be faster than the Clear Wimax I’m running in the pressroom right now.

That’s our recap for the T-Mobile HSPA+ announcement from CTIA.  We’ll be wandering around the CTIA hall looking for more info at our very first (and definitely not last) wireless convention!


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