I thought it was odd when T-Mobile was crowing about its HSPA+ by saying it delivered “4G speeds.” AT&T wants to get that weak stuff out of its house and it publicly chided the fourth-largest carrier.
AT&T plans to roll out its 4G network based on Long-Term Evolution technology beginning in 2011, but it will use HSPA+ as a bridge technology until it rolls out the next generation infrastructure. It said T-Mobile’s claims may confuse customers.
“I think that companies need to be careful that they’re not misleading customers by labeling HSPA+ as a 4G technology,” AT&T Mobility spokesman Seth Bloom told Fierce Wireless. “We aren’t labeling those technologies as 4G.”
T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network is currently spreading to more than 185 million by the end of the year and it promises up to 21 Mbps download speeds. That’s a theoretical limit though but real-world tests have shown mobile users getting over 10 Mbps, which isn’t bad. I had a chance to use this network in Las Vegas (that’s the picture above) and was fairly impressed with the consistency I was getting.
In fact, there’s a solid chance that T-Mobile will be delivering the fastest mobile data speeds to the largest audience by the end of the year. Sprint’s 4G service, based on WiMax, can deliver about 10 Mbps to customers, and Verizon’s forthcoming LTE network has been clocked at between 6-12 Mbps in real-world tests. So, T-Mobile is right in that ballpark, if not faster than its competitors – this is especially important to note because the fourth-largest carrier has long trailed the other networks when it comes to mobile data speeds.
So, why the emphasis on “4G” from T-Mobile? It’s simply a marketing decision. You can hammer home HSPA+ and its theoretical download limits all you want but the average consumer sees “4G” as faster and better than “3G.” Heck, WiMax could technically not even be considered 4G by some standards bodies.
What’s your take, readers?
[Via Fierce Wireless]