For the longest time, T-Mobile USA (DT) was at a major disadvantage compared with its competitors. It didn't have a 3G network to compete with Verizon (VZ), Sprint (S) or AT&T (T). But, its fortunes are changing rapidly. Within the next few weeks, the nation's fourth largest cell-phone operator says it'll have its new 3G HSPA network up and running in more than 120 cities by the end of November.

T-Mobile previously lagged behind the big three operators because it lacked the "bandwidth" (frequency space) and proper licenses to roll out a next-generation data network.

But, two years ago, T-Mobile fixed that problem. In government auctions, it spent more than $4 billion for 120 Advanced Wireless Services licenses for new frequencies. Since then it's spent an additional $2.6 billion on upgrading its network to 3G status.

By the end of last week, T-Mobile USA had deployed new 3G, WCDMA/HSPA systems in 92 major cities. It promises to add another three cities by Wednesday, which just happens to be the day its G1, the first Android-based Google ( GOOG) phone, officially goes on sale nationwide. The new 3G network is said to deliver data download speeds of up to 1 megabit per second.

( Photo gallery: Google's T-Mobile G1 Phone)

T-Mobile now says this network will be deployed in more than 120 major cities and some surrounding areas by the end of November. Not bad for a company that had predicted it could have the service in 27 cities by the end of the year.

What this all means is that T-Mobile is catching up to the other majors. According to today's GSMA Newsletter, a recent edition of Wireless Intelligence Snapshot forecasts that the operator's 3G connections base will surpass 1 million before year-end and reach almost 5 million by the end of 2009. That could account for between 10% and 15% of T-Mobile USA's total wireless connections.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.

More from Technology

CyberArk Is Ready to Break Out on the Topside, So Buy It Here and Higher

CyberArk Is Ready to Break Out on the Topside, So Buy It Here and Higher

Tencent Music Rises Sharply Above IPO Price in Trading Debut

Tencent Music Rises Sharply Above IPO Price in Trading Debut

Potential Global Market Impacts After the Arrest of Huawei's CFO

Potential Global Market Impacts After the Arrest of Huawei's CFO

Amazon Representative Addresses the Economic Impact of HQ2 on New York City

Amazon Representative Addresses the Economic Impact of HQ2 on New York City

Traders Could Go Long VMware on a Dip or On Strength

Traders Could Go Long VMware on a Dip or On Strength