T-Mobile to offer iPhone-compatible '4G' at WWDC

After an iPhone user on T-Mobile's network got 3G coverage near Moscone today, the carrier announces that it will provide an iOS-device-compatible '4G' HSPA+ Mobile network to WWDC attendees.

T-Mobile to offer iPhone-compatible 4G at WWDC.

During Apple's WWDC at Moscone West next week, T-Mobile has said that it will have an iPhone-compatible 4G network on hand for attendees, according to the Apple news blog 9to5Mac.

The carrier just announced last month that it's network would be compatible with the iPhone later this year, but few expected it to happen so soon.

Here's what a T-Mobile spokesperson told 9to5Mac:

While upgrading coverage inside the West side of the Moscone Center, T-Mobile has also deployed 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band to test the live network on a small scale. As part of the company's previously announced $4 billion network modernization effort, T-Mobile plans to launch 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band in a large number of markets by the end of the year, which will make our 4G network compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone. NOTE: The time and location of this test is just coincidental.

T-Mobile spilled the beans after one of the carrier's users told 9to5Mac that they could get 3G coverage on their iPhone on the block surrounding Moscone West. Once the user left the area, their iPhone went back to 2G service.

One of T-Mobile's issues is that it lacks sufficient spectrum for a broad deployment of LTE. So, to fill that void it has focused on HSPA+ technology, which it says is fast enough to be called 4G. The company plans to use 1900-megahertz spectrum for its upgraded HSPA+ network, and plans to have several of its markets covered by the end of the year.

This 1900MHz spectrum is important because it lets the carrier support unlocked iPhones on its 4G network.

Here's what T-Mobile told 9to5Mac last month:

Today we have more than one million unlocked iPhones running on our network. T-Mobile currently offers microSIMs for customers who already have a GSM phone they want to use on the T-Mobile network, including an iPhone. In order to set up an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile's network, customers simply need to purchase a microSIM card and select a T-Mobile Value plan that suits their needs.

The HSPA+ network covers more than 220 million people in 229 markets, allowing T-Mobile to boast of the largest 4G network in the country.