T-Mobile USA has been aggressively updating its data network to keep up not only with demand, but with current technology. They have been rolling out increased speeds to their towers without end-users needing to do anything (other than have the latest and greatest hardware).
Later this year T-Mobile has plans to launch an Android handset specifically designed for its High-Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+).
HSPA+ has a theoretical maximum download speed of up to 21Mbps. Real-world numbers would put this closer to 10Mbps, significantly faster than the lower end of the single-digit Mbps that we see today.
Where does that leave us for the future? Sprint and others are already jumping on the LTE bandwagon. T-Mobile’s HSPA+, however, is not out of the game just yet. HSPA+’s 21Mbps current ceiling can be upgraded to 42Mbps, but doing so requires more than firmware and software upgrades (like the previous updates), in addition to upgrading the size of the data pipes to each cell, going up to 42Mbps requires new multi-antenna upgrades to each tower — significantly more labor intensive than a firmware update.
So which is faster: HSPA+ or LTE? Without the 42Mbps upgrade, LTE will win the speed battle. So the question might be better stated: will T-Mobile upgrade to 42Mbps HSPA+ or to LTE?
What are your thoughts?