While Verizon Wireless and AT&T (NYSE: T) have been duking it out as to which carrier has the largest 3G map, T-Mobile USA has been quietly and quickly building out its high-speed network across the country.
To be sure, T-Mobile has been lagging, and still is, but it’s closing the gap. In two years later, it has gone from covering zero to 205 million people, which is roughly two-thirds of the population in 271 cities. That’s right behind AT&T, which claims to cover roughly 230 million people in 350 cities. Verizon claims to cover 284 million people.
The Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT) subsidiary plans to unveil these figures today at a joint press conference. It is unknown whether executives from either company will address recent break-up rumors that say DT is considering to spin-off or take T-Mobile USA public. In addition to the network updates, T-Mobile USA will talk about the upcoming availability of the HTC HD2, an entertainment-packed device that comes with content from Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS), Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) MobiTV, and Paramount Pictures.
More network stats: In addition to covering more people, T-Mobile is talking about speed. Since they are still rolling out the network from the ground up, it’s now opting for the faster HSPA 7.2 technology, which is now available on its entire footprint. From there, it will move quickly to roll out HSPA+, which offers 21 mbps. Jeremy Korst, T-Mobile USA’s director of broadband products and services, told mocoNews: “We are first national carrier in the U.S. to deploy and launch on that.” It is announcing its first HSPA+ device, the webConnect Rocket USB Laptop Stick. It will be available in March, but no word on pricing or plans. Korst: “AT&T and Verizon have been busy battling away, while T-Mobile has been aggressively and much faster building out its network. It