Interview: Cole Brodman, CTO, T-Mobile USA

by Elias Chiddicks on May 13th, 2009

The good people over at GigaOM.com have managed an interview with Cole Brodman, chief technology officer at T-Mobile USA. The interview covered several areas, including T-Mobiles ongoing high-speed network push, the future of netbooks, and TMo’s recent love affair with the Android platform.

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3G and Beyond

When asked about the future of T-Mobiles network, Brodman stated that he was hoping to see “double our covered footprint from a pop perspective to exceed 200 million by the end of the year and to make our 3G national footprint available in all the key metropolitan markets across the country.” This would increase T-Mobile’s 3G coverage to a total of 230 cities. Brodman was also of the opinion that because of the newness of their 3G network they would much more capable of moving faster towards HSPA+ technologies.

Although T-Mobile has expressed interest in LTE as the final goal for their network, Brodman made it clear that T-Mobile has by no means chosen to make LTE their only option. Brodman finished by stressing that TMo’s current 3G market is fairly competitive in terms of speeds, being capable of up to 1Mbps in certain areas.

Netbooks

When asked about netbooks and their popularity, Brodman expressed interest but wanted to see “the category has to move beyond being a cheap laptop to being a mobile communications and Internet device that’s richer than a smartphone and more portable than a laptop.” The result is that T-Mobile seems to be keeping an eye on them, especiall those with built-in HSPA+ connections, but it not convinced of their possibilities yet.

Android and More

A lot of the interview focussed on Android. The interviewer wanted to know specifically why T-Mobile liked Blackberries and Android phones more than Windows Mobile and Symbian S60.

Brodman described their current push for more Android handsets in the marketplace because “Android is a great operating platform to be delivered across multiple phones, smartphones, and potentially mobile computing devices. Our goal would be to work with our partners to make that a robust horizontal platform to scale across different types of devices and enable more innovation to occur on the device type and, at the same time, leveraging a common ecosystem of development.” This will be reflected partially with the upcoming release of the HTC Magic and T-Mobile G1 v2.

Brodman believed  “in BlackBerry because of their strong consumer and prosumer relevance and [their] still best-in-class solution for push-based communication.” He stressed that RIM’s business and email capabilities were excellent while Android offered more possibilities in “the breadth of the application innovation and the richness of the operating platform.”

However, while T-Mobile will be launching several Windows Mobile handsets in the summer, “[b]ut for us, there was less opportunity to drive with WM7, than there was to see how it develops. [With] Android I think we have a unique opportunity to work with Google and try to drive it.” As for the Symbian operating system, Brodman described some uncertainty with the OS, saying “I’m not seeing a lot of momentum, so the fruits of that alliance commercially has yet to be seen, and I think we’re definitely more cautious on what we see happening there.”

All and all, an interesting outlook for T-Mobile. To read the full interview, click here.

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