T-Mobile: iPhone-compatible HSPA+ network coming later this year

Folks looking to move their iPhone service to the often-cheaper T-Mobile network will be happy to hear this. The nation’s fourth largest carrier has just announced that it plans to roll out an iPhone-ready network by the end of the year.

According to a recent press release, T-Mobile is modernizing its 4G network this year by launching HSPA+ services in the 1900 MHz band. This will improve data speeds, in-building service, and yes, compatibility with Apple’s smartphone…

“As part of the company’s network modernization effort, T-Mobile also plans to launch 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band in a large number of markets by the end of the year. Network modernization trials have shown up to a 33 percent increase in HSPA+ data speeds as well as improved in-building coverage. Rolling out 4G HSPA+ services in the 1900 MHz band will also provide customers with the ability to use a broader range of devices, including the iPhone, on T-Mobile’s 4G network.”

Even though T-Mobile isn’t officially an iPhone partner, it says there are currently more than a million iPhones on its network. Users with unlocked handsets have long-since been able to activate them on T-Mobile, but have been limited by 2G data speeds and other drawbacks. This upgrade will change that.

And not only will this help T-Mobile attract more iPhone users — i.e. new customers — but it will also help it make a case to become an official partner this fall. Unless, of course, Apple restricts the handset to LTE carriers the way it did with its new iPad. Because T-Mobile won’t be joining the LTE game until 2013.

Would you switch to T-Mobile if it properly supported the iPhone?