T-Mobile: Aims For $3 Bn More In The U.S., Sidekick Returns In 4G Arsenal

T-Mobile may currently be only the fourth-largest mobile operator in the U.S., trailing behind Verizon, AT&T (NYSE: T) and Sprint (NYSE: S), but its parent Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT) is committed to holding on to it, and today it set out to convince investors it would do so with gusto, and a few surprises.

In a presentation to investors in New York today, T-Mobile USA CEO Philipp Humm (pictured) and Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann laid out their strategy for how the carrier intends to add at least $3 billion to revenues by 2014 — a number that, now it is in the open, investors and analysts should hold against how the carrier is actually doing. T-Mobile currently accounts for one-third of Deutsche Telekom’s revenues overall, and had $21.5 in sales in 2009.

LTE in partnership? T-Mobile has so far tackled the race to get to 4G that has so consumed operators in the U.S. by trumpeting its HSPA network which is actually an upgrade of its 3G network to achieve faster speeds. That will be extended in the coming years to HSPA+ which will get 42 Mbps on the downlink in theory by the end of this year, and 84 Mbps by 2012. Its main reason for not investing in LTE has been a lack of spectrum. There were reports that the carrier might today announce a deal to buy spectrum from Clearwire (NSDQ: CLWR) to build out a network — but that did not come to pass. What was raise, though, was the idea of spectrum partnerships, an area where Clearwire might again come into play. The company said building out an LTE network could cost between $1 billion and $2 billion.

— “Best” data plans, “Best” network. By “Best” read “Cheap.” Data plans will be starting at the $10 mark, and smartphones will be sold for less than $100.

Also some news on some of the “4G” devices that T-Mobile will be getting include the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and the return of the Sidekick as an Android-based device. In all, the company plans to launch 25 new smartphones this year. It’s noteworthy that 39 percent of all of T-Mobile’s customers are already using smartphones, and that half of all upgrades today are to smartphones as well.