T-Mobile USA has officially joined the higher-speed wireless fray.
The company, a unit of
, announced it has taken the first commercial step in the rollout of its 3G wireless, UMTS/HSDPA network starting in New York City. The new network will support voice and data services.
T-Mobile plans to continue the rollout across major metropolitan markets through the year. By year's end, T-Mobile expects its high-speed data network will be available in those cities where a majority of its subscribers currently use data services.
The company also announced the future availability of handsets that are able to operate on the UMTS network. The phones are designed to automatically connect to the best available network (3G or the current 2.5G -- GSM/GPRS/EDGE).
In coming months, T-Mobile plans to offer its first HSDPA device, along with new and compelling data-centric, all-in-one devices that help make the most of T-Mobile's high-speed data network.
Customers using a 3G-capable handset should experience faster data speeds when accessing the Web or downloading content, at no extra charge.
According to today's corporate announcement, the launch also enables T-Mobile to accommodate and serve more customers more efficiently through the use of its AWS spectrum, effectively doubling T-Mobile USA's spectrum position, and laying the foundation for the company's growth.
T-Mobile and the U.S. Departments of Defense and Justice continue to work closely and effectively together to make available AWS spectrum that will give consumers access to the 3G network.
The company says it is not abandoning the current Wi-Fi/Internet initiative. As the new 3G service rolls out in targeted major markets, T-Mobile will continue to build upon its T-Mobile® HotSpot Wi-Fi network and its nationwide voice and data network, to empower customers to effortlessly stay connected using the best available network.
Speaking of 3G networks and new handsets,
is expected to announce a higher-speed, 3G version of its iPhone in the next few weeks. It's expected that those phones, like the original models, will continue to be locked, exclusively, into service plans with
Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.