Here Come the First T-Mobile 42 Mbps Cities, Devices

The latest T-Mobile news may have been focused on the AT&T’s (s t) plans to purchase the carrier, but that isn’t stopping T-Mobile with its network expansion plans for 2011. Today, the company announced the first three cities that will see 42 Mbps HSPA+ mobile broadband service: New York, Las Vegas and Orlando, Florida. This trio will be soon joined by Chicago and areas surrounding New York City area including Long Island and Northern New Jersey.

To complement the network upgrades, the carrier is also announcing new devices: handsets, a mobile hotspot, 4G USB dongle and a tablet.

The T-Mobile G2x (pictured) joins the currently available Samsung Galaxy S 4G and upcoming Sidekick 4G. LG is building the handset for T-Mobile, which will run Android (s goog) 2.2 on a dual-core 1 GHz Nvidia (s nvda) Tegra 2 chip with an 8 megapixel front camera. The device, similar to the LG Optimus 2x, also includes a front-facing camera above the 4-inch touchscreen display.

For laptop users, T-Mobile will offer the Rocket 3.0 later this spring: a 42 Mbps USB data stick, built by ZTE. Tomorrow the carrier will launch the Jet 2.0 data stick and will follow that up with the Rocket 4G for prepaid use. Both the Jet and Rocket use 21 Mbps radios. ZTE is also building a 21 Mbps 4G Mobile Hotspot, capable of sharing its mobile broadband connection with up to five devices over a Wi-Fi connection.

The carrier is also preparing, but not yet announcing availability of, the LG G-Slate tablet it introduced last month. The Honeycomb tablet uses an 8.9-inch display capable of displaying 3D images without the use of any glasses. A dual-camera on the back of the G-Slate captures 3G images and videos as well. T-Mobile isn’t sharing additional tablet details but notes that it will be pre-installed with T-Mobile TV, Need For Speed SHIFT HD, and Zinio’s magazine reader application.

My testing of T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network has shown fast network speeds and low latency, but Verizon’s recent LTE launch has leap-frogged the service. According to the T-Mobile presentation I attended at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, the carrier said its testing of the 42 Mbps HSPA+ network compares favorably to Verizon’s LTE performance. Once we get some devices on the upgraded network, we’ll see if that claim still holds true.