updated 12:20 pm EDT, Mon May 5, 2008
T-Mobile 3G Official
T-Mobile today officially introduced its anticipated third-generation (3G) cellular service. Coming after company hints and unofficial tests, the network is now live in New York City and significantly improves both call quality and data access versus the current 2G network. Like other 3G services, T-Mobile's is seamless and allows supporting phones to automatically switch to 3G when they come within range.
Service begins today using more modest UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) access; faster service using HSDPA (High Speed Download Packet Access) is arriving in coming months, the company says. Multiple major urban areas should also receive the enhanced coverage by the end of the year, though T-Mobile is unspecific on these locations. Past reports have alluded to areas such as Los Angeles and Miami being some of the first to receive the update.
While not naming the devices, T-Mobile confirms that several 3G-capable phones are already in use on its network, which include the Nokia 6263 and the Samsung t639.
The addition of 3G heats up competition between cellular providers in the US, with T-Mobile being the last of the top five to add the faster technology and the only other major GSM operator after AT&T to offer the format. The US carrier is using the relatively uncommon 1,700MHz Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum, however, and so will need different devices than those offered by its rival to enable full 3G access. No phone makers have yet announced a multi-band 3G phone that supports both providers.