T-Mobile is rolling out 3G services in New York City today. They join their larger mobile brethren, Verizon and Sprint, who have enjoyed a considerable 3G lead on T-Mobile. Sprint is already moving on 4G plans, with Xohm. What’s taken T-Mobile so long? Probably a variety of factors, with spectrum availability towards the top of the list. As for the current launch, T-Mobile will utilize an UMTS/HSDPA network, starting in New York City and expanding into 20-25 other markets throughout the rest of the year. Initial data speeds for the service will range from 200 Kbps to 300 Kbps, with an increase by two fold soon after when the HSPDA portion of the network becomes operational.
Since Sprint, Verizon, Alltel, and others have had such a lead in offering 3G services, one has to wonder how much of a market is left. The answer is a significant one. Even though T-Mobile’s competitors have had a fair lead, we are still at the beginning of the 3G growth curve. T-Mobile should do just fine, but it may take a while for them to see mainstream adoption of 3G. Verizon and Sprint have probably already captured the low hanging fruit. T-Mobile does have a younger customer demographic, so they’ll have some real opportunity to convert those technology hungry customers to a 3G product.