T-Mobile USA to Sell First HSPA+ USB Stick

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At Mobile World Congress, T-Mobile USA plans to introduce a USB stick that will run on HSPA+, a high-speed wireless network technology that the operator has built out so far only in Philadelphia.

It will be the first product offered by a nationwide operator in the U.S. to use the high-speed technology, T-Mobile claims. HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access Plus) is an interim technology that T-Mobile -- but not its rival AT&T -- will use before rolling out LTE (Long-Term Evolution), a technology that will deliver even faster connections.

Separately, T-Mobile will also announce applications, including one from Blockbuster that delivers full movie downloads, that it will include with HTC's HD2 when it starts selling it. The phone, which is already available in Asia and Europe, features one of the largest phone screens on the market.

So far, T-Mobile has launched the HSPA+ network in just one market but it has said it hopes to roll out the upgraded service across its existing 3G footprint by the middle of the year. It claims the technology will deliver speeds that are three to five times faster than its current 3G network.

The USB stick, called the Rocket and made by Huawei, works on both Mac and Windows machines. In addition to HSPA+, it will work on 3G, EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) and Wi-Fi. Users can insert a memory card into the stick in order to store as much as 16GB of data on the stick.

T-Mobile is not revealing pricing for the product, which it plans to start selling in March.

In addition to the USB stick, T-Mobile is now revealing some notable applications that will come preloaded on HTC's HD2 phone. The company announced in January that it would sell the phone, but still isn't announcing when it will be available or how much it will cost, saying only that it will come out in the spring. Spring in the U.S. is the second quarter.

The HD2, a Windows Mobile phone, will include a movie on demand service from Blockbuster. T-Mobile believes it will represent the first full length movie download service available on a mobile phone. Users will be able to download an entire movie wirelessly and view it on the HD2's unusually large 4.3-inch screen.

The movies Transformers 1 and Transformers 2 will come preloaded on the device.

The phone will also come with Barnes and Noble's eReader application, through which users can download books, magazines and newspapers.

Users will also get six months of free inflight Internet service on the phone through an arrangement with GoGo, the provider of Wi-Fi services on some planes operated by American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, AirTran and Virgin America.

The HD2 will also come with MobiTV, a mobile television application.

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