T-Mobile wants to take 3G as fast as it can go

Posted by Mark Raby

T-Mobile wants its customers to know that even if they're not eligible to upgrade to 4G yet, or may not have enough money to buy its 4G phones, it still cares about them.

The carrier has announced that it's working together with a mobile technology group to bring 3G download speeds to as much as 650 Mbps.

That's just a scoche away from what current 4G download speeds offer, and considerably faster than what current 3G networks are offering.

While it may seem like a move that stifles customers from switching over to 4G, it's anything but. It is actually a strategic move from T-Mobile to gain more spectrum and coverage area, as well as various mobile technology licenses.

There's more to a mobile network than just its top download speed. The company needs to have all its ducks in a row. See, T-Mobile's 4G plans are quite different than Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T.

T-Mobile is using a technology called HSPA+, which relies on the network's existing infrastructure much more so than the other options being deployed by everyone else. That's why it has been able to roll out the technology so quickly, but it also put a bit more of a burden on the company.

Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T have to build new networks from the ground up, which costs a lot but eliminates the hassle of needing to make the old stuff work with the new stuff. T-Mobile's plan is cheaper but more difficult because everything has to fit together.

It's like buying a completely new computer versus opening the one you have and adding new parts here and there. The former costs more money but you know it'll work, whereas the latter is cheaper but carries more risk. However, the latter option also makes it possible for the computer to be even more powerful than just buying a new one outright.

T-Mobile was late to the 3G game and was hurt for it for the rest of the mobile generation. So with the switch to 4G, it has a whole lot of ground to catch up. It looks like it's been able to do that.

(Via Ars Technica)