T-Mobile said that its high speed HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access Plus) network is now available in areas of New York, New Jersey, Long Island and suburban Washington, D.C.
It also said Los Angeles will get the service soon and that the operator plans to upgrade its entire network to the technology by the end of the year.
HSPA+ can deliver download rates as fast as 21M bps (bits per second) and is considered an interim step to LTE (Long-Term Evolution), a technology that could offer as fast as 80M bps download speeds.
T-Mobile already offers HSPA+ in Philadelphia but the only way computers can use the network is with a HSPA+-capable USB stick. In the future, additional devices such as mobile phones and laptops with built-in HSPA+ capability will be able to use HSPA+ networks.
The operator also said on Tuesday that it is continuing to install the necessary backhaul capacity at its cell sites since that is required to enable the higher data rates.
All of the operators are racing to upgrade their networks to higher-speed technologies, which also boost the efficiency of the networks. Verizon will likely be the first operator to offer LTE but T-Mobile and AT&T plan to follow. Sprint is relying on Clearwire's WiMax network for its next-generation services.