updated 11:05 am EST, Tue December 20, 2011
ATT deal with T-Mo may see new frequencies
T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom in new details surrounding its roaming deal with AT&T has suggested it may get much more coverage than today. A seven-year pact with the carrier will give it not just licenses for Advanced Wireless Spectrum bands (usually 1,700MHz) in 128 markets but should also let T-Mobile use AT&T's existing 3G network. The step would give it access to the same 850MHz and 1,900MHz bands and theoretically allow iPhones or other devices to connect freely without or alongside T-Mobile's regular AWS bands.
Certain phones on T-Mobile already support AT&T's 3G bands, including the HTC Amaze 4G. Some of these were likely adapted around the presumption that the AT&T deal would close, although more hardware makers are now likely to have pentaband 3G chips that can support both AT&T and T-Mobile.
T-Mobile already has some limited access to the 1,900MHz band that it's using for its 84Mbps HSPA+ expansion. The new deal, however, could lead to more consistent access for those devices.
Adding the roaming deal and new licenses gives T-Mobile a significant if potential competitive boost by increasing the addressable population base from 230 million to 280 million. It partly assuages financial problems, although $3 billion of the $4 billion being paid out as a breakup fee is going towards Deutsche Telekom debt and not the carrier.
No guarantees exist that the competitive shift will see T-Mobile get the iPhone, but it would make any adaptation easier. On the record, the fourth-largest US network has said it's desirous of the iPhone and has mostly been hampered by lacking the needed 3G bands, which could change with the roaming agreement. [via Phone Scoop]