Get ready for blazing fast Internet speeds on the T-Mobile wireless network.
The mobile phone provider announced Tuesday that it has added metro Detroit to the list of cities getting so-called fourth-generation, or 4G, wireless service.
The new network offers a theoretical top-end download speed of 21 megabits per second. That’s up from a theoretical top end of 7.2 megabits per second on the old 3G network. Actual download speeds are usually substantially less than the theoretical peak — a third to a half of it, many times. But even a consistent 10 mpbs is blazing fast for a phone and opens up the possibility to do many things on a phone that are now only possible on a computer with a broadband connection.
“What people are going to notice I think above all is a truly enhanced experience in performance on this network,” said Bentley Alexander, regional vice president of engineering and operations for T-Mobile. “It’s really a whole new paradigm of what wireless mobile broadband is all about. There used to be things that people avoided doing on a smartphone that they will now be very comfortable doing on a handset.”
Alexander said T-Mobile has five devices capable of taking full advantage of 4G network speeds — two smartphones, a Dell netbook and a couple of phone modems. And, he said, the 15 3G devices T-Mobile offers should run much more quickly on the 4G network as well.
The T-Mobile 4G coverage area includes the entire city of Detroit and stretches as far north as Flint and as far west as Ann Arbor. Alexander said T-Mobile has improved its Detroit-area network with 434 new cell sites since the beginning in 2009, and now boasts a dropped call rate of less than 0.4 percent.
The Detroit suburbs covered include Allen Park, Ann Arbor, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Ferndale, Franklin, Flint, the Grosse Pointes, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Highland Park, Inkster, Keego Harbor, Lake Orion, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Madison Heights, Melvindale, Mt. Clemens, New Baltimore, Northville, Novi, Oak Park, Port Huron, Redford Township, Romulus, Roseville, Royal Oak, St. Clair Shores, Southfield, Troy, Waterford Township, West Bloomfield Township and Westland.
T-Mobile now has 80 major metropolitan areas served by 4G, and plans to expand that to 100 by the end of the year.
And get ready for more speed: Alexander said T-Mobile plans to double the top speed of its network to 42 megabits per second by the end of 2011.
Other T-Mobile metro areas receiving 4G service as of today are Grand Junction, Colo.; Harlingen, Texas; Lafayette and South Bend, Ind.; Montgomery, Ala.; Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va. and Youngstown, Ohio.
Alexander said Michigan’s other major metro areas should get 4G soon too.
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