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T-Mobile launches Groupon-like aggregation service, expands HSPA+ 42 network

Jun 17, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

T-Mobile launched a “More for Me” local deals aggregation service on Android Market, letting Android users on any carrier pick and choose from Groupon and Living Social deals. The carrier also announced it has doubled the speed of its 4G network to HSPA+ 42 service in 41 additional markets, offering up to 27Mbps peak download speeds and bringing the total to 96.

One of the knocks on the burgeoning local deals market fostered by Groupon and LivingSocial is that the low barrier to entry means almost anyone can launch such a service. U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile, the country's fourth-largest, advanced that argument June 15 by launching a free local deals application to Google's Android Market.

However, T-Mobile isn't aiming to rival Groupon and its hundreds of clones, which include Facebook Deals and Google Offers. Rather, the T-Mobile More for Me application aggregates personalized offers, discounts and deals from services including Goldstar and LivingSocial, which reaches more than 260 global markets. Groupon, however, does not appear to be included in the aggregation service.

Android users may specify their interests and demographic information to receive the most relevant offers, deals, and discounts. The can then receive the most relevant deals from several retailers, personalized to their tastes and preferences and tailored to their location, according to T-Mobile. The carrier says it will offer consumers the option of getting text messages for exclusive offers and deals. This service would be completely opt-in.

Available for download in beta from the Android Market, the app is the first nationwide daily deal aggregation service from a national wireless carrier. It will work for any Android phone running Android 1.6 or later on any carrier's wireless service, says T-Mobile. The More for Me app will also be adapted to run on other popular mobile operating systems, such as Apple's iPhone and Windows Phone 7, later this summer, says the carrier.

The app could be a boon for T-Mobile's own Android phone provisions, as mobile-driven local commerce has become incredibly popular. According to BIA/Kelsey, U.S consumer spending on deal-a-day offers will grow from $873 million in 2010 to $3.9 billion, and possibly $6 billion by 2015.

T-Mobile, which agreed to be acquired by rival AT&T for $39 billion, is struggling to keep up with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint in the super-competitive mobile phone market.

T-Mobile may be wise to aggregate deals instead of tackling Groupon and its ilk head on. Groupon earlier this month filed for a $750 million initial public offering. Though the biggest local deal provider of its kind, the company owes $230 million and is burning through $100 million a quarter.

"We are excited to bring our handpicked experiences to the millions of consumers who will enjoy T-Mobile's new More for Me app," stated Jake Maas, senior vice president, corporate and business development, of LivingSocial.

T-Mobile doubles HSPA+ speed in 41 markets

T-Mobile also announced it has doubled the speed of its 4G network in 41 additional markets, reports Nathan Eddy in eWEEK. This brings the number of metropolitan areas that have access to T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 network to 96, providing them with up to twice the download speed, as well as increased network capacity and reliability, according T-Mobile.

The new markets are said to include Albuquerque, N.M.; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Sacramento and San Diego, Calif.; Salt Lake City, Utah and San Antonio, Texas.

The company says it has seen average download speeds on the theoretically 42Mbps network approaching 10Mbps, with peak speeds of 27Mbps. The tests were said to be done on the T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 laptop stick — the company's first HSPA+ 42 device.

T-Mobile expects more than 150 million American's to have access to HSPA+ 42 by mid-2011.  T-Mobile's slower HSPA+ 21 network already reaches more than 200 million Americans in 184 markets.

T-Mobile customers can choose from a number of HSPA+ ready devices, and will soon have more choices including the dual-core, Android-based HTC Sensation 4G, as well as more, mostly Android-based, HSPA+ smartphones and tablets expected this summer. Presumably, most of these will be optimized for the new HSPA+ 42 service.

The full eWEEK report on the HSPA+ 42 expansion may be found here. T-Mobile's list of new HSPA+ 42 markets may be found here.

Clint Boulton is a writer for eWEEK.

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