CES 2012: T-Mobile expands 4G network and services, announces Galaxy S Blaze 4G

T-Mobile announced expanded network coverage, improvements in Bobsled, and a new Android smartphone.

As a long time T-Mobile customer I have a lot of interest in their future and services so I spent some time with them at the CES. I was encouraged by their expanding 4G network, Bobsled Messaging and Calling expansion, free service practices, and the new Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G.

Expansing 4G network

T-Mobile announced that they rolled out the 42 Mbps (double the previous speed) in 12 additional markets so that 184 million Americans in 175 markets are covered. Their 21 Mbps network has also expanded into nine additional markets. They also announced they will be able to expand their AWS coverage when they get the concessions from AT&T after the failed purchase.

Bobsled IP-based service expansion

I wrote about the Bobsled mobile client release last October, but have not had the chance to try it out and experience the service. Yesterday, T-Mobile announced the new Bobsled Messaging app for Android devices that lets you send and receive messages, through data and not through SMS, for free. The slick thing is that you can create a message from a PC browser and it gets synced to your phone so you can have a consolidated messaging experience across a number of devices and platforms. An iOS version of Bobsled Messaging is under development.

T-Mobile also announced the enhancement of Bobsled Calling so that you can now make free phone calls from your mobile phone to your Facebook friends and any mobile or landline in the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico. Previously you could only call Facebook friends. There are Android and iOS apps for Calling.

I highly recommend you read through the FAQ section on the Bobsled website since there are some great questions answered that should help explain the service in detail. I loaded both up on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus and will be testing it out over the next week or two.

Free services on T-Mobile

T-Mobile is the best carrier when it comes to controlling how many apps and services are preloaded on their devices and as I confirmed yesterday many of those services can be quite valuable. For example, T-Mobile TV is loaded on many smartphones and you get 16 channels completely free. The MobileLife Album lets you back up your photos to the cloud, T-Mobile has been doing this way before cloud computing was popular. You get five free magazines with Zinio that you can even read on multiple devices.

T-Mobile revealed that 50% of the data consumed on their network is due to streaming video content and that data consumption is doubling every nine months.

New 4G smartphones

Customers today can purchase the Nokia Lumia 710 for just $50 and as I mentioned in my initial hands-on this device is a great deal at $50 and should satisfy many customers and hopefully encourage more people to try out Windows Phone. This is only a 14.4 Mbps smartphone and while T-Mobile labels it 4G, it doesn't compare in download speeds with their 21 and 42 Mbps devices.

T-Mobile also announced the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G that will support their 42 Mbps network, but most details were not revealed and the release date was simply given as "coming later this year". It looks to be similar to a Galaxy Nexus and an upgraded Galaxy S 2 with Super AMOLED display, Android OS, and 1.5 GHz dual-core processor.