A reader reports that while walking by San Francisco’s Moscone West with his unlocked iPhone 4 on T-Mobile’s network today, he noticed something strange and perhaps very exciting for those million or more iPhone users on T-Mobile’s US network.

His iPhone popped over to “3G” for just one block (screenshot, right). It went back to “EDGE” as he left the WWDC area. Our reader walked across Moscone again, saw 3G for one block, and then EDGE appeared when he got a few hundred feet away.

He has been near Moscone before and never noticed 3G.

It would appear that T-Mobile might be beefing up its network with a 1900MHz MicroCell for Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, as most wireless carriers SHOULD.

Update: A T-Mobile Spokesperson gave us this statement:

While upgrading coverage inside the West side of the Moscone Center, T-Mobile has also deployed 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band to test the live network on a small scale. As part of the company’s previously announced $4 billion network modernization effort, T-Mobile plans to launch 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band in a large number of markets by the end of the year, which will make our 4G network compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone.

NOTE: The time and location of this test is just coincidental.

To be clear, we are not implying that T-Mobile will be part of the WWDC announcements and it seems that they verified this, above.

But, T-Mobile appears to be using its soon-to-be rolled out 1900MHz network, so maybe it is readying a demonstration of its ability to carry the iPhone on 3G (or better —”4G”, as fast as AT&T 21MB HSPA+ speeds).

T-Mobile’s CTO in March 2011 said:

A nice side benefit of the refarming effort is that our 4G network will be compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone. The other important benefit of our network modernization effort is the coverage improvements it will deliver, especially when it comes to in-home coverage. As we refarm our 1900 spectrum, we will continue to fully support our customers with 2G devices.

Even though it often bashes the iPhone in ads, or more specifically the iPhone’s network speed, T-Mobile was happy to talk about Apple’s recent decision to unlock iPhones that are out of contract:

Today we have more than one million unlocked iPhones running on our network. T-Mobile currently offers microSIMs for customers who already have a GSM phone they want to use on the T-Mobile network, including an iPhone. In order to set up an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile’s network, customers simply need to purchase a microSIM card and select a T-Mobile Value plan that suits their needs.

T-Mobile’s Value plans enable customers who bring their own smartphone, such as the iPhone, to save money. For example, T-Mobile’s Value family plan with unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited data with 2 GB of high-speed data is just $49.99 per line for two lines.

In addition, we will continue to deliver more value to customers as we expand and modernize our 4G network. Beginning this year, we will introduce HSPA+ service in our 1900 MHz PCS spectrum. When we do, our 4G network will be compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone.

Virgin announced a $30 prepaid plan today. T-Mobile also offers an unlimited data prepaid plan for $30 a month (which would be faster than Virgin’s if T-Mobile’s “4G” 1900MHz spectrum could apply).

Thanks Godfrey!

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Seth Weintraub

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