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t-mobile carlyT-Mobile isn’t slowing down with network upgrades, even though it may be wedded to AT&T in a year.

The carrier this morning announced that it’s bringing its 4G HSPA+ network to 10 new cities, and it’s also moving forward with plans to double its 4G speeds to 42 megabits per second in some markets.

The faster speeds — which will soon launch in Las Vegas, New York and Orlando — will put T-Mobile well above Verizon’s brand-new LTE 4G network, which has theoretical download speeds of up to 21 Mbps. It’s much easier for T-Mobile to expand its 4G network since it isn’t relying on newfangled LTE or WiMax 4G technology — HSPA+ is more like a suped-up 3G technology.

In the end, most consumers won’t care how their network is getting faster — they just want to see their download speeds go up. HSPA+ is already available on several T-Mobile devices, although only newer devices will be able to take advantage of the full 42 Mbps speeds. The technology also has battery life advantages over LTE and WiMax, both of which require power-hungry radios in mobile devices.

T-Mobile’s new 4G markets include Ames, Iowa; Anderson, Indiana; Battle Creek, Benton Harbor and Jackson, Michigan; Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado; Lawrence and Manhattan, Kansas; Springfield, Illinois and Wichita Falls, Texas.

T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network now covers over 200 million people. Before the AT&T deal, T-Mobile said it expected HSPA+ to dominate LTE over the next few years, reaching as many as 2.5 billion people by 2015. Eventually, an advanced version of HSPA+ could reach speeds of a whopping 672Mbps.

But if the AT&T purchase goes through, we can expect far less HSPA+ innovation from the combined company, since AT&T is betting on LTE as its go-to 4G technology (with its slower HSPA+ picking up the slack).

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