In September 2009, T-Mobile became the first carrier to launch an HSPA+ network in the U.S. A lot of people these days are clamouring about the new 4G network from Sprint, but it turns out T-Mobile’s network may be better or equal in many cases. T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network is considered 3.75G and offers a maximum download speed of 21Mbps. In order to benefit the most from T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, you need an HSPA+ capable device. Right now, the only one available is the webConnect Rocket USB stick.
Real world speeds range from 2Mpbs where T-Mobile has not yet implemented the HSPA+ upgrade to close to 7Mbps in optimal HSPA+ locations.
The USB stick is fairly straight forward. You plug it into a computer and it allows you to install the custom software. I found the software to be buggy, and uninstalled it. Luckily, the broadband adapter was still recognized natively by Windows 7 and worked better without the software. Granted, the software is useful for keeping track of your data usage which is important if you’re on the 200Mb/month plan. The software also has an interface for finding T-Mobile WiFi Hotspots for which the webConnect service plans also include unlimited access to.
On the same network without the HSPA+ support (only HSPA 7.2Mbps), the T-Mobile HD2 (and any other T-Mobile 3G handset) still benefits from the added speed increases on the back-end. So even if your device is not HSPA+ capable, you may see speed increases as T-Mobile continues to upgrade their network.