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T-Mobile USA splashes the 3G cash

$2.7bn here, $4.2bn there - it starts adding up

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T-Mobile USA, America's smallest cellco, is to splashing $2.7bn on a 3G network build-out. Until last month, the German-owned firm was constrained by a severe shortage of wireless spectrum - meaning crap reception in many areas and more network busy signals than its rivals.

That was solved last month with the conclusion of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) spectrum auction. T-Mobile USA dropped $4.2bn to ensure that it was the high bidder in 120 markets.

Befitting its European roots, T-Mobile is deploying UMTS technology for the new network. It expects to to start offering 3G services in several markets by mid-2007, to substantially complete coverage by 2008 and finish the gig by 2009.

Of course, T-Mobile's rivals are already well advanced with their own 3G networks, but since Americans are not exactly early adopters of data-paced mobile services, T-Mobile's tardiness shouldn't harm them too much.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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