T-Mobile’s 1900 MHz band is upgrading.

Some users have been discovering that their unlocked iPhones operating on T-Mobile’s network have been picking up 3G and even HSPA+ speeds. Apparently T-Mobile has been refarming their 1900 MHz spectrum to include UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+. T-Mobile’s 1900 MHz spectrum has been limited to GSM/GPRS/EDGE, but in some regions, 3G is beginning to appear on that band.

This upgrade is likely part of T-Mobile’s efforts to introduce LTE in 2013. That, plus the draw for out-of-contract and unlocked iPhone owners to their lower-priced and non-contract plans, may just be enough to get T-Mobile back into a competitive spot among the big US mobile carriers.

Yesterday at CTIA in New Orleans, T-Mobile USA, Inc. CEO and President Philipp Humm announced their strategy to get back into the mobile tech fight. “Over the next two years, we’re prioritizing and investing in initiatives designed to get T-Mobile back to growth in the years ahead—beginning with the transformation of our network.”

Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray stated that “launching LTE next year lets us take advantage of technology infrastructure advancements and benefit from a more mature LTE device ecosystem while continuing to meet the growing demand for data with a powerful 4G experience.”

Most people believe that until T-Mobile can land the iPhone, the carrier will continue to fall behind Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T, regardless of the size of its Android phone library. Of course, it doesn’t help that Google’s current Nexus device is being offered at a subsidized price on Sprint and Verizon or that HTC’s flagship Android device is on AT&T.

Still, it looks like T-Mobile is finally getting ready to play with the big boys.


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