(Image courtesy of TMO, 7.21.2010)
So there has been lots of hoopla around the web concerning 3G, 4G, LTE, Wimax, HSPA+(+). T-Mobile has been behind a lot of the mess and continues to anger other networks with their promising speeds and their comparison to 4G. First to get things straight understand that 4G, HSPA+, and LT are all theoretically different. Most will refer LTE and WiMax as “4G” when in truth the early versions of both simply do not comply with the 4G (IMT-Advanced) standards. 4G refers to all IP Packet Switched networks and is the future of mobile and wireless broadband. So why is T-Mobile getting so much press about it?
T-Mobile is on a mission to increase US market share by extending their HSPA+ network out across America by the end of the year. From a recent press release:
BELLEVUE, Wash.—July 21, 2010 Today, T-Mobile USA, Inc. announced the continued expansion of its super-fast mobile broadband network to more than 85 million Americans—the most pervasive network to offer 4G speeds1 in the country. T-Mobile® is on track to deliver HSPA+ speeds in 100 major metropolitan areas with backhaul in place, covering 185 million people in the U.S. by the end of this year.
(Image courtesy of TMO)
Expansion map as of 7.22.2010, notice the difference from yesterdays map at the top. Lots more “Magenta” on the map today.
This angers other providers because TMO is not actually using 4G technology, just promoting the fact that they have similar speeds that 4G does with their current 3G enhanced network. Why this especially angers AT&T I don’t know, but facts are facts and instead of complaining AT&T maybe you should upgrade your network to reach these capabilities. HSPA+ runs on the current 3G network and is done with a software upgrade on the backend. The theoretical HSPA++ upgrade will consist of some new hardware being added to the towers and will no doubt take some time to put into place. So to be clear even though you don’t have a phone that is capable of these theoretical speeds, you can still benefit from the faster network to reach maximum capabilities of your current phone. So right now when your city gets the upgrade its a win-win for you either way.
Since we are on topic of T-Mobile and rumors, I thought I would throw a few thoughts in on the latest rumors. Recent news puts TMO on a possible roadmap and staging of a LTE purchase for the future of their American market. TMOnews reports that they are attempting to shmooze over the FTC to allowing an auction for a specified spectrum block. Another rumor floating around which has recently been outed by TMO is that we will finally see a HSPA+ phone sometime in the near future. Project Emerald got some recent fuel suggesting that the HTC Vision could beT-Mobile 4.3″ Gingerbread device or possible a newer version of the G1 qwerty. But of course these are all just rumors which you just have to stuff in your back pocket and see what really holds true in the coming months.
T-Mobile has a lot phones and possibly a new network on the horizon. As always Holiday season is huge for smartphones and carriers alike. I am hoping competition heats up even more with the release of Android 3.0, Win 7 Phones, and all the “4G” networks beginning to stand up. As far as true network speeds go, I can comment on Philadelphia TMO speeds to be pretty decent. Clear and Sprint have great speeds down the city too, but by far not fast enough if you compare TMO’s “3G” network to Sprint’s WiMax.