Conciderably Dissapointed in T-Mobile’s 3G in the USA

T-Mobile customers have been waiting for what seems like years for the cell service provider to give us a 3G data network. Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and AT&T have had 3G networks for quite some time, giving us mobile broadband access to the Internet.

T-Mobile has finally started the rollout of the 3G network, starting with New York City. The new UMTS/HSDPA network will appear in other markets as the year goes on, hopefully in Portland where I could get access to it. Currently, according to Om’s post, there are only 4 handsets available for T-Mobile’s 3G network.

However, thanks to the Nokia Blogger Relations program, I have a Nokia N81 8GB. I would *love* to use this phone on a 3G network here in the States. It won’t work on AT&T because they use a proprietary HSDPA network. My hope was that T-Mobile’s network would be compatible with this Nokia phone. Unfortunately, it’s not, because like AT&T, T-Mobile has chosen to “lock-in” customers by also employing their own proprietary 3G network.

This means that handset makers such as Sony/Ericsson, Nokia, and others who want to build a 3G handset are going to have to make 3 versions. One for the Europe market, one for AT&T’s US network, and now one for T-Mobile’s 3G network.

This also means if I have a handset that works on the 3G network here in the States and I travel to Europe, I won’t have 3G access to the European network. *Shrug*