T-Mobile Set to Launch 3G Network

T-Mobile is planning to launch its 3G wireless network today in New York City, according to documents leaked to a T-Mobile news blog.

A company memo obtained by the blog TimoNews reveals that T-Mobile is scheduled to launch the first phase of its 3G network Thursday, with plans to expand to 20 additional markets by year-end. Other markets due to get 3G coverage this year include Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Until now, T-Mobile has been the only major wireless carrier in the United States that has not offered 3G wireless services.

As various bloggers have noted, T-Mobile's memo mentions delivering only voice services in the early stages of its 3G network. Although the memo doesn't explicitly state that no data services will be delivered initially over the network, it does put far more emphasis on voice call-quality. Blogger Joshua Karp slammed T-Mobile's apparent decision to not offer data services immediately, and noted that T-Mobile is already far behind its competition in deploying 3G networks.

"T-Mobz, we love you, but this is ridiculous," wrote Karp over at the Boy Genius Report. "Your 3G coverage is rolling out years after the rest of the competition, and you can't do us the service of making sure it supports the features that most people are looking for in a high-speed access network? No word on when they plan to turn the good stuff on, but sometime in 2011 is a safe bet."

T-Mobile's 3G deployment has been plagued by various delays related to the spectrum the company won in the Advanced Wireless Services auction in 2006. During that auction, T-Mobile spent $4.2 billion to obtain 120 licenses for spectrum on the 1700MHz band.

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