HTC was the first handset maker to provide Sprint with a 4G handset (the EVO) and now it appears they will deliver the first HSPA+ handset to T-Mobile later this year.
A report from Light Reading is claiming that T-Mobile will launch its first HSPA+ handset this September, according to a spokesman at Deutsche Telekom AG, T-Mobile’s parent company. The new device launch in September will be followed by the introduction of a second HSPA+ smartphone in the fourth quarter.
This new information lines up nicely with the leaked T-Mobile roadmap that revealed an Android handset called the HTC Vanguard that is tentatively scheduled for a launch on September 9th. We expect the second HSPA+ handset will be the much rumored HTC Project Emerald, which is slated for November 5th.
T-Mobile still refers to their new HSPA+ network as 3G, but it actually offers max theoretical download speeds up to 21 Mbps, double what is currently available from Sprint 4G. Real world data speeds on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ handsets should actually be closer to 10 Mbps, which also exceeds the 3-6 Mbps that Sprint advertises on their EVO.
Of course the other major advantage of HSPA+ is that it’s fully compatible with existing HSPA 7.2 devices, which includes T-Mobile’s entire Android lineup. By the end of 2010, T-Mobile hopes to cover over 100 markets and 185 million people.
When T-Mobile was asked about the report on upgrading to HSPA+ 42 Mbps, the spokesman responded that T-Mobile had not decided if they would use the new standard or switch to LTE (like AT&T and Verizon are doing for their 4G networks). T-Mobile was able to transition to HSPA+ 21 Mbps primarily through software upgrades to its cell sites and with expanded backhaul to their towers, but the move to HSPA+ 42 Mbps (or LTE) will require new network equipment.
Customers who were considering picking up the Samsung Vibrant next week now face a tough decision. Are you willing to hold out a couple more months to purchase one of the first HSPA+ handsets?