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@ CES: T-Mobile comes out swinging

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 2:26pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

The industry hasn't heard a whole lot from T-Mobile USA lately – it went into quiet mode during AT&T's doomed buyout – but that changed at the 2012 International CES show in Las Vegas on Tuesday evening, when the company's executives took the stage to talk about how the failed merger was more benefit than bane.

"We are here, in fighting shape, and we will compete aggressively to win and retain customers by delivering compelling 4G services," T-Mobile President and CEO Philipp Humm said in a transcribed statement from his address.

AT&T has to fork over a good chunk of spectrum to T-Mobile as part of the deal's breakup package, which also included a favorable roaming deal and $3 billion in cash.

T-Mobile will get a "large package" of AWS spectrum in 128 cellular market areas, including 12 of the country's top 20 markets, after the license transfers pass the requisite regulatory hurdles.

The spectrum isn't likely enough to deploy an LTE network but will add much-needed airwaves to T-Mobile's arsenal.

The operator also announced that it has rolled out its speedy dual-carrier HSPA+ service in 12 new markets and has expanded its HSPA+ network to nine new markets. The service, which T-Mobile advertises as 4G, is now available in 217 markets across the country.

In addition to the network news, T-Mobile debuted its latest HSPA+ device, the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze. The smartphone will be able to take advantage of T-Mobile's dual-carrier HSPA+ service and comes equipped with Qualcomm's dual-CPU Snapdragon S2 processor and a Super Amoled display. Specifics on pricing and availability weren't announced.

The Galaxy S Blaze unveiling came on the eve of the Nokia Lumia 710 debut with T-Mobile. The Lumia 710 goes on sale today, marking the start of Nokia's reentry into the U.S. market with phones based on Microsoft's Windows platform instead of the Symbian operating system. The device, which sells for $50 after rebate, has won strong reviews, and T-Mobile said Windows Phone devices will "play an important role" in its 2012 gadget lineup.

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