Not to be outdone by Sprint's 4G announcement on Monday, T-Mobile has also been touting the expanse of its high-speed network too.
Today, the wireless carrier announced it's turned on its 4G network in six new metropolitan areas—Chicago; Colorado Springs; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Louisville, Ky.; and Raleigh-Durham and Wilmington, N.C. Bringing these cities on-line, T-Mobile now claims millions of subscribers in now 81 U.S. markets are covered by "America's Largest 4G Network."
Really? Only if you ignore some technicalities of what exactly is a "4G" network and what isn't.
Here's what Mike Gilas, Senior Editor of Electronics, said about T-Mobile's high-speed wireless network when he took a First Look at the T-Mobile G2 smart phone:
T-Mobile has been billing its HSPA+ data network as "4G," a designation that connotes the next generation of high-speed mobile data communication. However, most industry experts say HSPA+ is really 3.5 G, an intermediate step between today's widely deployed 3G networks and emerging 4G networks based on WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) and LTE (Long-term evolution) technologies.
True 4G networks promise download speeds approaching and exceeding 5 megabits per second (mbps) under optimal conditions. Indeed, last June, while testing the HTC Evo 4G on Sprint's 4G WiMax network, I measured download speeds up to 3.5 mbps. However, during my informal tests of the G2 at the local HSPA+ zone, the maximum speed I was able to measure was about 1 mbps. That's fast, but it isn't quite 4G speed.
Whether or not T-mobile might be bending the truth a bit and who has the largest "4G network" is debatable. But, as we noted in Sprint's announcement on Monday, we're looking forward to taking much closer looks at all of these high-speed wireless networks as carriers build them out.