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T-Mobile is announcing 10 new markets that are being added to its list of 1900MHz HSPA+ areas, as part of its vision to eventually move to the frequency completely. Joining the current set of enhanced coverage cities -- Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Washington D.C. -- users in the following locations will experience improved coverage and speeds, and should start seeing HSPA+ speeds on unlocked AT&T-compatible devices:

  • Phoenix, AZ: including Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, Paradise Valley, Surprise and Ahwatukee
  • Mesa, AZ: including Chandler and Gilbert
  • Tucson, AZ: including South Tucson, Marana, and Vail
  • Silicon Valley: including Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Santa Clara, San Jose
  • Oakland, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Stockton, CA
  • Modesto, CA
  • Miami, FL: including Coral Gables and Miami Beach
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL: including Hollywood

Users in these areas may have already seen 1900MHz HSPA+ coverage before this date, but now T-Mobile feels there are enough towers supporting the service that it has launched it officially. Our own Chris Parsons notes that it has been off-and-on operational in Arizona before this point.

T-Mobile also notes that it is working to expand the same 1900MHz HSPA+ coverage in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, the New York metro area, Philadelphia, San Diego and Seattle, and users may start seeing faster service as they work to roll it out officially.

This is a very important move for the carrier as it attempts to lure customers away from AT&T -- especially those with the iPhone -- and offer them a full-speed experience with their current handset. As we move through 2013, we'll see even more markets go live with 1900MHz HSPA+.

Source: T-Mobile


Reader comments

T-Mobile improving coverage, lighting up 1900MHz in 10 metro areas


The GSM Galaxy Nexus already supports all of T-Mobile's HSPA+ so this isn't necessary. Basically this 1900MHz refarming will make pretty much any GSM phones compatible with T-Mobile's 3G.

Nearly every GSM phone in the world is capable of 1900MHz (except older T-Mobile branded phones). It's one of the standard frequencies for quadband GSM phones. For example, any AT&T phone is 1900MHz capable.

Most international GSM phones that support HSPA does.All ATT phones as well, but have to unlock them of course to use on T-Mobile. You can check GSM Arena.

Both together. Lots of T-Mobile branded phones that are still out there (even ones sold in the last year) are only capable of AWS and don't have the 1900MHz frequency to operate.

It should be interesting to see how it plays out, as they intend to refarm the 1700/AWS for their LTE network. In the short term, those that can use the 1900 should have really nice speeds.

Well they're both sharing the same network though. The 1900MHz people theoretically are going to see the same type of speeds as anyone using 1700 AWS right now (assuming they're similar radio chips). They're both still HSPA+.

T-Mobiles long-term plan is to have about 1/2 of its capacity moved over to 1900MHz by end of 2013 iirc, with the other half still on 1700/2100 AWS while they take the other half of the 1700/2100 and use it for LTE. It'll eventually all move over to full-on 1900 for HSPA+ and 1700/2100 LTE.

but isn't it like how wi-fi works. the more people use the same frequency in the wifi/router bands the slower/faulty the connections get. So if there is less 1900MHz bands in the US wouldn't connections be more stable compared to a crowded 1700MHz or another.?

Its all about the backend behind it. For this, its the same tower and network, but just operating on different frequencies. My understanding is we won't be seeing any difference in speeds or congestion on 1900 vs 1700/2100 because theyre both HSPA+ and on the same towers.

Which T-Mobile DC-HSPA+ branded phones don't support 1900mhz WCDMA? Or even a regular HSPA+21 phones?

I think they're starting with HSPA+21 on PCS, and then slowly adding capacity in markets with 30+Mhz of PCS like Houston, Dallas, Philly, San Francisco, etc..
The idea is to migrate as much HSPA from 1700Mhz to 1900Mhz to free up AWS (1700Mhz) for LTE.

I had T- Mobile over four years ago. Here in southern Maine we were lucky if we got 3g anywhere. Only really good coverage we get is Verizon. Kills me that I can't do the nexus phones from Google to use on big red.

Blame Verizon for that one. Google got tired of dealing with Big Red's bullshit of forcing control over the software.

Wow, coincidentally I just ordered a T-Mobile SIM card today and I live in one of those areas. Planning to test coverage before switching from Verizon.

I'm in Wisconsin and it works great for me. Just switched a few weeks ago from Verizon. The speeds are not as fast as LTE, but it'll get the job done for half the price.

I enjoy LTE here a lot. It's city wide here too so luckily we have decent options.

On an unrelated note, why don't any carriers use maps with overlays for their coverage? The coverage maps are bad.

That's a great question. Every time I go to Google a particular carrier's coverage map, I can never get a definitive result, either. I usually end up with 2 or 3 maps that look similar but have subtle differences. Another pet peeve I have with the coverage maps is that they neither show what areas are roaming, nor what carriers' networks are roamed on when you leave a 4G or 3G coverage area.

Really wish they'd improve coverage maps too. My quick guess would be that Google charges entities that make lots of calls to the Google Maps API, and for carriers they'd surely be charged quite a bit if they have 1000's of customers viewing the coverage maps every week.

I live right in between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, so I'm hoping the new coverage can reach me. My GSM GNex has a habit of randomly dropping down to edge, even when I am outside - would these new towers alleviate that?

Since the nexus 4 is pentaband does that mean it will be able to effectively utilize both frequencies for improved speeds and coverage?

Way to go T-mobile, I wish sprint would be doing something like that here in Phoenix, instead they are selling super 4G phones like the EVO LTE, but the service we get is at dial up speeds of 56k to 10 years ago dsl speeds of 256k. Sprints sucks, Phoenix, is not nowhere on their list to get LTE any time soon. I'm glad I only have to put up with this a few days more. If you live in Phoenix, please do not sign up a contract with sprint. They offer unlimited data but at dial up speeds you can't do anything even if its unlimited. Unlimited nothing.

Slow as molasses, only way I can bear it, is using a Verizarape prl to roam here in Mesa. On a side note the AT&T htc one x supports HSPA+ up to 21.1 mpbs .

Just found out there is spotty coverage here in the Chicagoland area. Testing with a Verizon iPhone 5 (unlocked GSM) out in some of the northwest suburbs and it lit up with 3G around Des Plaines, Park Ridge and Niles (download speeds peaking around 13 Mbps down, 3.5 up)! Lost 3G and dropped back to EDGE around Rosemont. Not sure if there's coverage in the city of Chicago proper quite yet, will have to test out soon! Hopefully it won't be long before the entire area is covered!

seeing the 1900 radio in the Boston area. It is showing up all over the place. many of the surrounding suburbs are also getting it. T-Mobile is a great network in this area.

T-Mobile's biggest issue for me is building penetration. 1900 Mhz isn't going to help them do any better in that area. In my office building, T-Mobile's a dead zone, even holding my phone next to an exterior window. My Verizon LTE phone gets a usable signal even in the center of the building in the elevator and restrooms. AT&T's able to pull a weak signal within a few feet of the exterior wall. Makes me think AT&T is using 1900 where I work and not 850.

I hope that increased coverage in the NY metro area includes Long Island. I still get completely dead service areas during my daily commute.