T-Mobile has the fastest 4G HSPA+ network in the US, but it runs on 1700 MHz AWS spectrum that is not compatible with most GSM phones. Unlocked GSM phones can still operate on T-Mobile, but they are limited to slow 2G EDGE speeds. Thankfully T-Mobile is in the middle of a massive $4 billion network upgrade, and they will support 4G HSPA+ speeds on AT&T compatible spectrum in major markets this year.
This week T-Mobile announced that 4G HSPA+ was available on the 1900 MHz band (compatible with AT&T and unlocked GSM phones) in Las Vegas. Benefits of the new network upgrade include:
- Improved coverage: T-Mobile customers in Las Vegas will experience improved coverage and capacity on our 4G network in the vast majority of major hotels and casinos on the Strip, the Las Vegas Convention Center, Thomas and Mack Arena, as well as in surrounding cities such as Henderson and Summerlin.
- Faster speeds on unlocked iPhones: Las Vegas customers who bring unlocked AT&T iPhones to T-Mobile will now experience a significant speed boost. In fact, our internal tests of unlocked iPhone 4S devices running over 4G on our 1900Mhz spectrum recorded on average 70% faster download speeds than iPhone 4S devices on AT&T’s network.
- Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data: As America’s only nationwide 4G network with unlimited 4G data, T-Mobile offers consumers the best value in wireless. Customers who bring unlocked iPhones to T-Mobile can save up to $50 a month compared to AT&T.
Las Vegas joins the growing list of upgraded cities including Seattle, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and New York metro area. By the end of the year T-Mobile hopes to have 4G HSPA+ on the 1900 MHz band across 80 percent of their current HSPA+ footprint.
We don’t have the full details on the nationwide rollout, but it’s something you should pay attention to if you have considered switching to a pre-paid wireless plan. Currently, most unlocked Android phones will only see 4G HSPA+ speeds on AT&T’s network (on pre-paid plans like Straight Talk SIM), but soon they should soon see even faster speeds on T-Mobile and customers will have more pre-paid options like Simple Mobile or Solavei.
If you live in one of the upgraded T-Mobile markets and have an unlocked device, let us know if you have seen the faster speeds yet.