No. 4 U.S. wireless operator T-Mobile is finally launching its 3G, or “third-generation” wireless Internet service. It’s starting today in New York City, and will roll out 3G access “in those cities where a majority of its subscribers currently use data services” by the end of the year.
For T-Mobile subscribers with 3G-capable phones, this primarily means faster mobile Web access, email, downloads, etc. For T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom (DT), it should mean higher revenue: During rival AT&T’s Q3 earnings call last fall, the company said its 3G subscribers spend about twice as much per month (~$20) on wireless data service as the average sub does (~$11).
This is important because carriers are counting on data to lead revenue growth. So, in theory, T-Mobile will see its data revenues grow faster as it rolls out 3G service across the country and more of its subscribers buy 3G phones.
What we don’t know: Are AT&T’s 3G subscribers spending more money on data service specifically because they like the faster 3G network? Or are they simply early adopter-types who are using the mobile Web, etc., and just happen to have newer, 3G phones?