Deutsche Telekom has made little secret this year of the fact that its American wireless unit is on thin ice; whether that's a result of poor coverage, a failure to keep pace technologically, weak spectrum allocation, or a combination thereof is a source of endless debate, but none of it is stopping T-Mobile USA from pushing forward aggressively with a nationwide 21Mbps HSPA+ rollout in 2010
. Of course, network buildouts of that magnitude don't come cheap, and hungry investors are still marching on DT's doorstep
asking when they might be able to expect black ink. A couple loose-lipped tipsters to German paper Handelsblatt
have said that the next step could very well involve a major partnership with another carrier -- as opposed to an outright acquisition like we've heard before -- possibly with Clearwire, MetroPCS, or AT&T. T-Mobile USA has been famously tight-lipped so far on its 4G plans, instead concentrating on building out a solid 3.75G one, which means that its long-term plans are wide open -- partnering with Clearwire would likely mean aligning itself with WiMAX
, while both MetroPCS and AT&T have already committed to LTE
. Another possibility apparently being thrown around involves bringing in a financial partner (a sugar daddy, if you will) to shore up the carrier's bottom line, but either way, we suspect this'll all end up deciding the carrier's post-21Mbps strategy.