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T-Mobile to boost network speeds this year

T-Mobile USA will announce this week plans to boost its wireless network with faster speeds in several cities over the next several months. The nation’s fourth-largest wireless provider said it will upgrade of its 3G network to provide speeds of up to 21 megabits a second, or access that is three to five times faster than what's available for current cell phone users.

The move, to be announced this week at the World Mobile Congress conference in Barcelona, would give T-Mobile a slight if temporary head start on competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless in a race to build high-speed mobile Internet networks. AT&T and Verizon Wireless said they will rollout their next-generation LTE wireless networks for commercial use next year. Sprint Nextel, which has chosen to go with WiMax technology, has its fourth generation, or 4G network, already launched in few cities. But the speeds provided by competitors for their 4G, or fourth-generation networks, will be faster, analysts say.

The Federal Communications Commission is looking into concerns that the wireless industry is not competitive enough, with the largest two service operators -- AT&T and Verizon -- gaining more market share from smaller competitors.

It’s difficult to say exactly how fast LTE networks would be, but the 4G standard has said to deliver speeds that are comparable to cable modem at as high as 50 to 100 megabits per second.

T-Mobile said its network upgrades to HSPA+ which will be a final iteration of its 3G networks, will come to the Washington D.C. area this year. Users with regular 3G-enabled phones will automatically get the faster speeds at no additional cost.

By Cecilia Kang  |  February 15, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  AT&T , Clearwire , FCC , Sprint Nextel , T-Mobile , Verizon  
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