T-Mobile’s iPhone-friendly HSPA+ goes live in Atlanta, Seattle and Minneapolis

Not to be outdone by AT&T which today rolled out LTE in three new markets, Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile USA just flipped the switch on its iPhone-friendly HSPA+ network in Atlanta, Seattle and Minneapolis. With today’s roll-out, T-Mobile’s 3G HSPA+ service (incorrectly advertised as “4G”) is available in a total of 18 metropolitan areas.

The German carrier is hoping that landing the iPhone next year would curb subscriber losses. As part of the incoming iPhone launch, T-Mobile is eliminating subsidies on high-end devices. Under the new rules, customers would pay for the full device price upfront in exchange for lower service fees. A good example are the carrier’s unsubsidized Value Plans that offer significantly cheaper monthly rates for voice and, particularly, data services…

T-Mobile’s technology boss Neville Ray confirmed in a blog post that HSPA+ is now available in Atlanta (including Roswell, Alpharetta, Marietta, Covington and Conyers), Seattle (including Lynwood, Bothell, Mill Creek, Edmonds, Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville, Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish, Kenmore, Mercer Island, North Bend, SeaTac, Burien, Tukwila, Renton and Lake Stevens), Minneapolis (including St. Paul and St. Cloud) and San Francisco Bay Area (including Fairfield, Monterey, Napa, Petaluma, Salinas, Santa Crus, Santa Rosa and Vallejo).

The executive expects the carrier will cover a hundred million people with “an enhanced network experience” by the end of this year.

T-Mobile is in the process of refarming its AWS spectrum by moving 3G HSPA+ service to the 1900MHz band in order to make room in the 1700/2100MHz bands for the deployment of LTE next year.

The company is on track to launch LTE in the second half of 2013 and thinks it can cover about 200 million people in the US with LTE by year-end 2013. Thanks to the spectrum gained through the MetroPCS merger, T-Mobile should as well be able to expand LTE service to 20×20 MHz “in many markets”.

The telco already host more than 1.5 million unlocked iPhones on its network even though it’s the only major US wireless company without the popular smartphone.

If you’ve been contemplating jumping ship, T-Mobile has Nano SIMs and offers free support to unlockers, which is kinda nice.