LAS VEGAS ( TheStreet) -- Despite all the brouhaha surrounding 4G technology, there are plenty of companies banging the 3G drum at CTIA this year. Cue Deutsche Telekom's ( DT) T-Mobile subsidiary, which announced plans to upgrade its 3G service with High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) technology and also unveiled its first netbook in Sin City this week. The Dell ( DELL) Inspiron Mini 10 will be available Wednesday, according to the telco, complete with T-Mobile USB modem. Netbooks, or mini-computers, have become one of the hottest technology trends of the last few years as consumers scramble to buy scaled-down PCs. A recent study by retail research specialist Pricegrabber.com revealed that the netbook craze shows no signs of abating. With tech heavyweights such as Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Dell ramping up mini-laptop efforts, more and more consumers are switching to netbooks, according to Pricegrabber.com. The percentage of online consumers who own a netbook has leapt to 15% from 10% last year, it said. And another 11% of consumers surveyed by Pricegrabber.com plan to buy a netbook this year. T-Mobile, which lags behind AT&T ( T), Verizon ( VZ) and Sprint ( S) in the U.S telecom market, is also touting its enhanced 3G capabilities. HSPA+, it claims, is three times faster than competing 3G networks, and T-Mobile has high hopes for the technology. T-Mobile expects to have HSPA+ deployed across its 3G footprint by the end of this year, covering more than 100 metropolitan areas and 185 million people. The Bellevue, Wash.-based firm launched its HSPA+ service in Philadelphia last fall and has also made the technology available in parts of New York City, New Jersey, Long Island and suburban Washington D.C. A deployment in Los Angeles is imminent, according to T-Mobile. T-Mobile is not the only company making a song and dance about 3G in Las Vegas. Prior to CTIA, there had been talk that rival Verizon would make a major 4G announcement, possibly with Skype. On Tuesday, however, Verizon and Skype announced that Skype Mobile will be available on Verizon Wireless, starting with nine 3G smartphones. Skype Mobile lets users initiate Skype calls across mobile devices, effectively extending the Skype service currently available on desktops and laptops. "Customers want to be untethered from their PC," Russ Shaw, general manager of Skype's Europe, Middle East and Africa business, told TheStreet. "They don't want their Skype experience to end on their mobile."
Even though the initial Verizon deal is for 3G, Shaw would not rule out the possibility of Skype Mobile on 4G phones in the future. "We're happy to work with them on 4G and LTE when the time is right," he said. Fourth-generation wireless networks, or 4G, are certainly grabbing plenty of attention at the moment, not least thanks to Sprint's launch of the first 4G smartphone this week. Not everyone, however, is getting carried away with 4G. Telecom giant Ericsson ( ERIC), for example, recently told TheStreet that the foreseeable future lies in the switch from 2G to 3G, essentially voice networks to mobile broadband. -- Reported by James Rogers in New York Follow James Rogers on Twitter and become a fan of TheStreet.com on Facebook.