updated 04:20 pm EDT, Tue March 13, 2012
T-Mobile not ruling out fastest HSPA option
T-Mobile in a Q&A session with its CTO Neville Ray left the possibility open that it would still upgrade its HSPA+ network to 84Mbps. Although the carrier was now focused on LTE, it would "continue to evaluate" the option, Ray said. He wanted to see both flourish, as the network was still technically capable.
In the interim, eight new cities were getting the current 42Mbps peak speeds. The focus was primarily on Texas, where Abilene, Amarillo, Odessa, and Victoria were now on faster networks. Bakersfield in California, Eau Claire in Wisconsin, and both Joplin and St. Joseph in Missouri were getting the upgrades.
The pseudo-interview also saw Ray possibly call AT&T's bluff on its dropped merger attempt. Despite AT&T and T-Mobile claiming in March of last year that the $39 billion would-be merger was necessary as there was "no clear path to LTE," the spectrum and cash transfer agreements for failing to complete the deal were enough to cover its subscribers with the faster network. Three quarters of the top 25 urban areas would get a wide 20MHz bandwidth for 4G by 2013, while "most" other areas would have a smaller but usable 10MHz.
T-Mobile would "love to have more spectrum," Ray said, without indicating any near-term deals.
Rounding out the talk, he left further hints that T-Mobile's primary goal for devices in 2012 is to get the iPhone. In refarming frequencies, the company was adding support for more devices, "including the iPhone," he said. The swap would help with indoors coverage and would keep supporting EDGE-only (2G) users.