T-Mobile Milking HSPA+ For All Its Worth?

After a short absence I’m back dearest TmoNews readers and ready to deliver the goods. Lets first start off with the above image, rumored to have been taken last week at a T-Mobile managers meeting held in Seattle. Now let me just say that we don’t know the context under which it was taken but our belief is that T-Mobile is planning on milking HSPA+ for all that its worth and concentrating on the speed of the data rather than the number of the generation. Obviously the title of the slide “Staying Ahead of Competitors” could easily be interpreted as T-Mobile showcasing future plans for their HSPA+ network. And as we don’t yet know what T-Mobile’s future plans are, we further wonder if this image is perhaps a little bit of insight into what the next 18 months will hold. T-Mobile has not been very forthcoming about plans after HSPA+ and perhaps it is because they feel HSPA+ offers enough speed and capability to focus on for the foreseeable future.

Time will tell us answers to next generation plans but if the above image really is part of the T-Mobile HSPA+ future, things might get very interesting.

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  • wack mode

    sounds good

    • john

      Wichita ks woke up to hspa this morning, consistent 4.9 down and 1.2 up

      • the guy

        you sure about that?

      • john


      • the guy

        i just ran a speed test on my mts and i got a 0.63 down, 0.11 up.

      • tmorob

        so does anyone ever realize that is also depends on how fast your phone is? and how bad you have crapped it out? if you say you have a g1, and getting those speeds… well, then theres your answer.

      • john

        Also helps if you powercycle the phone.

      • TMO employee

        John is correct. I saw the go-live launch notification email last week regarding the backhaul service agreements for AAV backhaul receive full testing approval. If I remember correctly, the backhaul provider is COX. These emails have been averaging about 1-3 cities a week.

      • BeerBellyBilly

        Hey…4.9 down in Wichita? Maybe I should take my Dash 3G off of EDGE now.

  • 30014

    I’ll be glad to see hspa+ arrive in my area of suburban Atlanta. My 3g speeds only average between 400 and 700 kb/s. That’s what I call slow 3g.

    • Bryan

      What part of Atlanta are you in, in Northwest metro it is rolling out now. It is on a tower by tower basis but my area is averaging between 3-5 Mbps, most of my speed tests (using the speedtest.net app on my Mytouch Slide) have been around 4Mbps with a high of 5.5 Mbps.

      • 30014

        I’m in Covington. It took my area about 6 months to get 3g after its initial launch, I hope it doesn’t take that long with hspa+.

      • badaphooko01

        I live in Cumming and work in Alpharetta and my speeds average from 300k to 900k but never more. How can you tell what towers have been upgraded and which will be upgraded in the near future? I really want the vibrant to retire my G1 but this whole 3g speed really bugs me. I don’t want to be stuck for another 2 years if these slow speeds persist.

      • Bryan

        If you check your settings on the phone, under network settings it should show HSDPA instead of UMTS.
        Running a speed test is the best way to know for sure, the tower right outside my work has been going back and forth between UMTS and HSDPA while it is getting upgraded, and I get odd speed test results there (800 Kbps down 2 Mbps up)
        I am looking forward to the Vibrant, I hope it doesn’t lag because of Touchwiz 3.

      • Bryan

        I would guess that if you currently get 3G you should be covered by HSPA+ 21 by the end of the year. That is my personal opinion, but the official statement is the majority of the network (185 million people if I remember correctly) will be HSPA+ 21 by the end of the year.

      • DannOfThurs

        I drove through north ATL Metro the other day towards LA and I hit HSPA+ on my CLIQ – ~3-5 Mbps down, .5 – 1 Mbps up. I was able to watch YouTube in standard quality, same as wifi, without problems.

  • jayy336

    ok, this is nice, but i hope they plan on ACTUAL 4G. They can’t afford to be left behind like they did with 3G.

    For now i’ll give T-Mobile the benefit of the doubt and say that HSPA+ is pretty much 4G, but when Verizon, Sprint, & AT&T flip the switch on TRUE 4G, i hope T-Mobile will be doing the same.

    • J-Hop2o6

      even tho HSPA+ is nice for data speeds and latency/ping.. its still 3G/WCDMA/UMTS tho.. wont LTE-Advance/4G be a better technology? and im not only talkin about theoretical data speeds.

      • God

        LTE-Advanced is 4g. But that’s not ready for deployment til ~2012.
        Until then, HSPA+ is the king of the GSM ring.

    • J-Hop2o6

      oops.. forgot to mention, but didn’t last yea Neville Ray (T-Mobile VP of Engineering) say T-Mobile will choose the LTE path eventually? but for right now, HSPA+ is the main focus.

    • Bryan

      T-Mobile has committed to LTE for 4G, HSPA+ is an intermediate step not a replacement for 4G.

      The current HSPA+ 21 roll out is taking longer because each HSPA+ tower is also having the backhaul switched over to all fiber optic. Once this is done it is a much easier and quicker update to upgrade from HSPA+ 21 to HSPA+42.

      The only true advantage of 4G networks like LTE is that data is handled more efficiently, including IP based handling of voice calling. This will help with network congestion but not really increase speeds. Additionally 4G network speeds will be hampered by the lack of coverage for at least the next couple of years.

      • tmogeek

        I doubt we’ll see HSPA+42. The hardware changeout is too costly. Better to spend the money on LTE. An interim step will be adding a second carrier which is already underway in some markets on busy sites.

      • phandy

        HSPA+42 is dual carrier, the change from HSPA+21 to HSPA+42 is not costly at all, you just need the handsets to support 2 carriers.

    • Sapphire

      Can anyone truly state what “4g” really is? The 4g standard is not being met by any wireless provider in this country. This is straight from wikipedia.org:

      “This article uses 4G to refer to IMT Advanced (International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced), as defined by ITU-R.

      An IMT advanced cellular system must have target peak data rates of up to approximately 100 Mbit/s for high mobility such as mobile access and up to approximately 1 Gbit/s for low mobility such as nomadic/local wireless access, according to the ITU requirements. Scalable bandwidths up to at least 40 MHz should be provided.”

      Speak to someone at Sprint and ask what their network speeds are on 4g. They are definitely not 100mbps while mobile. And technically the WiMax, which is what Sprint is using as it’s “4g” network just recently a test to meet 4g requirements. Reference this article: http://www.telecomskorea.com/tkinsight-9654.html LTE passed the requirements as a “4g” candidate as well.

      So, “4g” has been defined and the standard for “4g” is finally being met. Does T-Mobile need to deploy “4g” when the majority of it’s customer’s will consume about 50% of the bandwidth they are allotted per month when using “superphones”? I do not think so. The rocket users and webconnect users will benefit from that type of speed, but those users do not even match the amount of phones that have browsing capabilities.

      LONG LIVE HSPA+!!!!!!

  • Regular Joe

    I’m still waiting on regular ole 3G to get to my neck of the woods…

  • Me

    we supposedly have HSPA+ in Dallas but I’ve been around several parts of the metroplex and have yet to see an “H” on my phone.

    I guess I’m not standing in the magical 4 ft radius hot spot.

    • Regular Joe

      Most phones won’t show an H. I know my Cliq XT only showed 3G as I passed through Bentonville, Arkansas (home of walmart) but I was getting over 3mbps down.

    • Sushi

      Just wanted to clarify, but the “H” does not stand for HSPA+. If you are sitting around waiting to see an “H” on your screen, more than likely you never will unless you have a Nexus 1 or some others. The “H” stands for HSDPA. It’s essentially the same thing as showing “3G”.

      • ItsMichaelNotMike

        That’s how I understand it.

        I am in San Francisco and we have only 3G. But on my Touch Pro2 last year and my HD2 currently, I get an “H” all the time. So that means “3G.”

        Now one oddity was about a month ago I was at a T-Mobile store in downtown San Francisco. My “H” switched to “3G.” When I got back home it had switched back to “H.”

        My Slide shows 3G when right next to my HD2 which is showing an “H.”

        Sidenote: On the Touch Pro2 and HD2 installed custom Taskbars that have an “H” as a data signal indicator. But that still does not explain why it displayed 3G then H. Maybe it went to H because I was getting 3G++ speed?

      • Phaelenx

        From what I read, the H could be for either HSPA or “super 3G” speeds, basically another way of saying HSPA. My phone has been flipping back and forth between H and 3G for the past week now. I don’t think H and 3G are one in the same…it wouldn’t make sense, but T-mobile does things that arent quite logical sometimes.

      • J-Hop2o6

        If u have HSPA(+) in your area, and have the “H” symbol enabled (T-Mobile likes to disable them in their ROMS to not confuse their customers i guess), it will be like this:

        3G = idle data
        H = active data

        thats why u guys keep seeing it switch back and forth.. It’s like that on my TP2.

      • anthony

        Sushi I’m not sure about that h showing on the N1. I have a N1 and yesterday I was I longisland NYC and got speeds of 4850 download and the phone still showed 3g is there any N1 users getting H on their phones

      • MikeyLikey

        In NYC and getting 2.68 down on my N1 but no letter H

  • Me

    good to know! i’ll have to a run a speedtest next time i’m out.

  • jmts80

    Sounds good to me. My Cliq XT rarely gets over 900 kb/s and the 3G coverage in Phoenix is spotty at best so I hope this helps :)

    • Macknifetx

      I am in the same boat on the 3g coverage in the Phoenix area. I almost always have the 3g coverage, but in addition to my MT3G, I also have a webconnect rocket and it shows the same speeds. WE are on the list for HSPA but they do not say when. Hope it is soon.

  • jp

    Where are the damn phones?

  • disturbedone

    i live in houston tx. and the last time i did a speed test i got 5756 kbps and 1 mgps up :)

    • chevyBoy

      same here! i live in Katy and i got 4mb down

  • Galen20K

    This is Amazing no wonder they put their all into HSPA+, I think at this point in time its as good as 4G for me until they release actual 4G, its just a number after all a marketing ploy.

    HSPA+ FTW!

  • BlackMamba

    Well I’m pretty sure 7.2 HSPA is live Orange County CA (Or at least in Huntington Beach). I ran a speedtest last night on my computer while I was using wireless tether. I got 5.76 Mbps on the downstream and 1.29 Mbps upstream. The experience was indistinguishable from wifi. I was able to watch a 720p Youtube clip no problem.

    T-Mobile needs to start marketing their HSPA speeds agressively! They’ve idly sat by and let AT&T market their trash 3G network as the fastest in the nation. My friends on AT&T and Verizon run speed tests all the time and are always surprised when I come out on top with much faster speeds and really low ping times (75ms is the record so far).

  • JimmyJam

    T-Mo’s progress with throughput is great, but the corporate focus on it makes me concerned that they’re satisfied with their relatively limited actual coverage.

  • Bryan

    The big advantage of LTE over HSPA+ is not speed but more efficient usage of spectrum. This will have a bigger impact on Verizon and ATT due to the congestion on their networks.
    T-Mobile has plenty of spectrum according to the reports I have seen so focusing on HSPA+ makes sense for now, since the speed advantage will be immediately noticeable. It will also put T-Mobile in a good position to advance rather than just play catch up.
    One of the big things that is slowing the current HSPA+ 21Mbps rollout is that in addition to upgrading the towers, the back haul is being upgraded to full fiber optic to and from the towers. Because this is being done now, the HSPA+ 42Mbps upgrade should be faster to roll out, since it is basically a software update for the towers.
    T-Mobile is eventually going to LTE for 4G, but HSPA+ 21 and then 42 will provide better speed and coverage until then.

  • Washout


    This shows the potential for a fully devleoped HSPA+ as well as LTE networks.

    In the next 5 years or so they are very similar with LTE being much better long term.

    In the mean time there is still much room for HSPA+ throughput growth that will be nearly the same as what other carriers are currently rolling out with LTE.

  • niididy

    I like what I see…

  • BluHaze

    I’m in NYC and my highest speed currently on my MT3GS is 5.17 down & 1.30 up. That pretty damn good, I can’t even only imagine the speed their going to deploy in the future.

  • Wilma Flintstone

    *In old person voice*
    David, is that you? It really is you. Oh my goodness I am sooo glad to see you boy. Last time I saw you, you were knee high to a french fry, but now look at you, all grown up with a wife, three kids and a pet parrot on your shoulder. My how time flies. Haaa!!!

    now on topic:
    oh man, the controversy that the title of that comparison chart could start “staying ahead of the competitors”. Wow Tmobile. Just wow.

  • going_home

    On the MyTouch 3G checking the network is in settings/about phone/status. Mine still says UMTS instead of HSDPA. HSDPA was supposed to be in the Tampa area by the end of June. Wonder what happened ?


    • Bryan

      Assuming Tampa is going live in the same manner that Atlanta is, it could still be tower by tower. If the tower you are connected to is not switched over yet then you will still be on UMTS.

  • croikee

    I love T-mobile. Seems I’m one of the few that actually appreciates an affordable plan over having to get the best of the best phones.

    I will say, however, that communication within the Tmobile ranks seems sketchy. GREAT customer service. However, the three times I’ve called with questions about HSPA, the people don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. I have to explain to THEM that it is their new network. I even had a lady talk to her manager and then tell me that HSPA has not officially been released yet. I mentioned to her that she should check out the wall street journal review comparing HSPA to Sprint 4g then.


  • jp2dj1

    I live in la habra, CA. And I get 650kbps/down & 225kbps/up on a so called “hspa+ network.” Hope by 2011 I’ll get at least 725kbps…..LOL

  • Superhappy

    BOO to the cocksucker who took a picture during the Seattle meeting only to send to this site… Is anyone else seeing something wrong with this???!!!

    • David

      Welcome to the tech blog world…

    • tecjunkie

      What other site would you send this too?

    • Jonathan

      What a c0ckmaster… quit f’ing whining about people giving the f’ing consumer an inside look. I spend my money with t-mobile and want more than “we’re working on it…” or “T-mobile is dedicated to customer satisfaction”. If it weren’t for sites like this people would leave t-mobile for competitors who move quicker than them… which is almost all of them. Go whine with the Apple lvoing douches who cried when someone tore a prototype to shreds to share with the world.

    • TMOprophet

      Boo to you, getting info out early is an important business tool to get cutomers excited, the fact that tmo doesnt like to tell us anything early is their problem, but its clear that there are those within the organization that believe as I do, people should know about stuff, it hurts business to keep things under wraps until the last minute.

      And like the other guy said..go cry with the Apple loving douches.

    • Jrsykind

      It’s info like this that makes me come to Tmonews daily.

    • Chris

      Person should be fired. Hopefully corporate pulls the exif info off the pic and figures out who it is.

      They should be publicly defrocked.

  • Edgar

    I`ll be happy if we get traditional 3G here in Puerto Rico we have only EDGE, no 3G jhere they always say next month next month and we are still with no 3G. It sucks to have a great and expensive phone (blackberry bold) and be runjning on crappy speeds like that of EDGE. C`mon tmobile we here in Puerto Rico want 3G!!! Every other carrier has it except you!!!

  • vinny

    On may 25th TMOnews reported that HSPA would be rolling iinto Boston and surrounding areas in two weeks. 6+ weeks later and still no HSPA+ speeds. Don’t forget Boston and the 128 technology highway belt. Come on T-Mobile you have millions of customers in the Boston area dying for this HSPA+ speeds. Bring it home.

    • Anthony

      Stop whining.

      Until Chicago gets HSPA+, no other city deserves to complain…

  • jimbo

    I was in uptown Dallas (the rich part of the city), did manual network selections and powercycles with the mytouch 3g 1.2. still no hspa. Did a speed test with an ATT friend in same location, lost all three speed tests, but not by much ;)

    did *#*#4636#*#* to confirm…come on engineering get your s*&# together.

  • jt

    the picture was taken at the frontline meeting in seattle. the chief engineer is planning on cranking up the hspa+ to 42mbps (lab tested) in 2011 (hspa ++)

    • J-Hop2o6

      [42]HSPA++ FTW!

  • TMOprophet

    lol, I’d be happy to get 3G in my area, they have within 15 minutes of me, but not quite to me, where the pop is like 23K

  • Patrick

    i get download speeds of about 2.4mbps on simple 3G….i’m not complaining at all lol. Will being able to get speeds of about 5mbps on average be even better? Yes, considering my HOME connection is only 6mbps. But am I complaining? Not by any means lol

  • oldcoot

    I just want EDGE where I live. That’s just damned embarrassing.

    • Jrsykind

      What are you currently getting? I thought EDGE was the slowest they had.

      • J

        GPRS is the slowest. EDGE is 2.5G technology. There are a few places that still have GPRS only. Its mostly in places that are rural or have a seasonal population.

  • Alex V

    you have to have the phones for it and not just the potential speed for it.

  • eYe

    I’d be happy with regular 3G speeds if 3G wasn’t so spotty. I, seriously, drop my signal twice during 15 minutes of my morning commute. Does anyone know if HSPA+ will only give us a speed bump or will it provide greater coverage per tower as well?

  • chicago081

    I don’t know what happened, but I am getting MUCH BETTER coverage in downtown Chicago for over a week now.

  • Jeff

    I don’t know what area of Wichita KS one of the posters is in but in my downtown office with full signal i can’t get any faster than 700K which is no better than it was last week and no better than it has ever been for that matter. HSPA+ in Wichita KS? Not seeing it at all…

    • podstolom

      I just did a speed test in downtown Wichita and got 3.5 Mbs down 0.565 Mbs up from my dash 3G synced to my pc, 175 ms latency.

  • pjcamp

    Perhaps they could release a device that uses it? I dunno. Like, a phone or something.

  • Rilesman

    Wonder how the upgrades will affect distance and mobility. I use to be able to drive home with full connection in a rural area until the upgrade to 3G and now it is spotty. Not complaining…just stating a concern.

  • Meniscus

    All this is great, but in the meantime right now I am about 1 mile away from Brier Creek Shopping Center, which is one of the busiest outdoor shopping centers right in the heart of Raleigh-Durham, NC, not to mention surrounded by dozens of subdivisions of all income levels and apartment complexes, and I am getting one bar, sometimes zero, once in a while two bars if I’m lucky. I get missed call alerts all the time because someone called while I had no reception. I’d rather them get reception issues solved first instead of being wrapped up in boasting about how fast their HSPA+ or whatever is…

  • Boatie

    What handsets work with HSPA+? Am assuming my unlocked Tilt won’t get these speeds? Trying to figure out upgrade path…

  • Gabriel

    T-Mobile sucks in Puerto Rico, we still running on EDGE here and even local cheap ass carriers have 3G already even in rural areas….what a shame. They always telling nex month, next summer, and stuff like that, im desperate for my contract to expired, im moving to sprint or At&t!

    • Edgar

      Amen brother!!!, I subscribed to them back on February and the salesperson told me that they should have 3G on March, well we are now on July and still no 3G just crappy EDGE. I’m waiting until July 19, if they don’t offer 3G by then i’m going to pay the penalty and get out of my contract and probably go to Claro or Sprint.

  • Testament

    Question? What good is speed when you can’t keep a connection? I like T-mo and all, but I prefer stability over speed.

  • Mr. T

    Probably no one will notice this post, and most refute anything I say anyways cause I am just a lowly poster on TMONEWS.COM

    But yes, this is legit. The future is bright indeed.

    • David

      I noticed it…I agree!

  • GooG_Nut

    This is some awesome stuff……I can’t wait!!!

  • cybah

    We haven’t gotten HSPA yet here in Boston (Its in Rhode Island now), but T-Mobile has greatly improved the speeds in general in our area.

    Lately I’ve been having issues with my cable internet, and strangely enough, if I tether my TP2 to my computer, it works pretty darn good (almost as good as Comcast). Its a sad day when a mobile data connection is more reliable than a cable modem.

    I may only be getting 1MB or so (I havent really checked), but its hella faster than GPRS and EDGE. I can’t wait to see what HSPA has in store for us when its rolled out in the next month or so!

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  • As part of the breakup of merger attempts between AT&T and T-Mobile, AT&T is to provide bandwidth to T-Mobile so that it could expand its coverage. Can anyone confirm to me specifically what spectrum and bandwidth is being provided to T-Mobile?

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