T-Mobile to Double 4G Speeds

T-Mobile today unveiled plans to double the speed of its fourth-generation, or 4G, wireless network this year, ratcheting up the race for higher-speed service and to catch up to rival Verizon.

The Bellevue, Wash.-based company said it expects to boost the speed of its 4G service to 42-megabits per second, and cover up to 140 million people in 25 cities, by mid-year. T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. carrier, will also release at least 25 4G devices in 2011.

While details were not disclosed, Philipp Humm, T-Mobile’s chief executive, said it will aggressive price its data plans so customers “will not pay a toll to ride on our 4G superhighway.”

Humm, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, added that customers using 3G devices will also see faster performance, as network upgrades allow them reach their top speed.

As one of its first 4G devices, T-Mobile, earlier today, unveiled the Dell Streak 7, a larger 7.0-inch tablet, which will be arriving in stores in the coming weeks.

Rivals Verizon and AT&T showcased gadgets that will run on their speedier services at CES, as well. Both carriers are also upgrading their network standard, called “HSPA-plus,” to a faster-service called Long-Term Evolution, or LTE. The companies, while calling their networks “4G” for marketing purposes, are actually, in fact, “3.5G,” a bridge-technology and a relatively cheap software upgrade.

As T-Mobile and its rivals roll out LTE improvements in the year, they will need extra spectrum. One option could be to buy airwaves in a federal auction. Another could be to partner with Clearwire, which Sprint has been in favor of.

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