Back at CES 2011, T-Mobile outlined its plans to double the speed of its 4G HSPA+ network and said it expected to roll out its upgraded network to 25 metro markets by mid-year. However, it looks like the carrier is actually ahead of schedule.
Today, T-Mobile announced it is launching its enhanced 4G network in more than 50 new markets, including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Phoenix, and San Francisco. The additions brings the total to 55 markets, where customers can enjoy theoretical download speeds of up to 42Mbps (previously, the max was 21Mbps).
Of course, what's the use of an upgraded network if you don't have any compatible devices, which is why T-Mobile also introduced its Rocket 3.0 USB modem today.
Manufactured by ZTE, the T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 will be available starting May 25 for $99.99 with a qualifying two-year mobile broadband plan (2GB or higher) and after a $50 mail-in rebate. Customers will also have the option of purchasing the laptop stick off contract for $199.99.
The Rocket 3.0 supports both PC and Macs and is backward compatible with T-Mobile's network, so it will continue to work even if you're out of the carrier's 4G coverage area. It's just one of 25 new 4G devices being released by the provider in 2011, joining such products as the T-Mobile G-Slate, Dell Streak 7, T-Mobile G2X, and T-Mobile Sidekick 4G. T-Mobile said we'll see smartphones capable of supporting HSPA+ 42Mbps in the second half of the year.
Though claims of theoretical download speeds are always higher than actual speeds, T-Mobile showed off average speeds of 27Mbps when it demoed the enhanced connection at CES, but of course, we'll judge for ourselves when we get the T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 in for review. In the meantime, you can check out the full list of markets where 42Mbps service is launching on T-Mobile's Web site.