Oct 14 AT 4:17 PM Taylor Wimberly 69 Comments

T-Mobile to launch America’s largest 4G network next month

The last time I wrote about the possibility of T-Mobile branding their new HSPA+ network as 4G, one of their PR reps quickly called me up so they could correct me and clarify they would not use “4G” in their marketing. Eight months later, it looks like T-Mobile has changed their mind.

If you want to get really technical, the ITU Radiocommunication Sector defines 4G as an advanced cellular system that “must have target peak data rates of up to approximately 100 Mbps for high mobility such as mobile access”.

Here in the United States, the 4G term is really just marketing speak and it gets tossed around pretty easily. Sprint has branded their WiMAX network as 4G and we already know Verizon will refer to their 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) network as 4G too.

Again if you want to get really technical the geeks out there would refer to these two types of networks as pre-4G technology, but that hasn’t stopped the carriers from adopting the 4G term for their new networks.

Basically here in the U.S., the carriers are using 4G to refer to any type of network that offers faster speeds than their existing 3G networks.

So if Sprint is going to advertise their 10 Mbps WiMAX network as the First and Only Wireless 4G then what is to stop T-Mobile from doing the same with their 21 Mbps HSPA+ network?

Sprint will only cover 120 million people this year with WiMAX, but T-Mobile will offer 4G speeds to 200 million by the end of the year and that is why you see leaked company documents already using the phrase “America’s largest 4G network”.

Starting next month I believe T-Mobile will launch a massive campaign to advertise their new myTouch 4G on “America’s largest 4G network”. This is the fabled Project Emerald strategy (4G phone + network) that we have been talking about for months. All the signs are already there. Go browse T-Mobile’s site and you will already see the 4G term being used pretty frequently.

The only thing T-Mobile has to do is replace “HSPA+” with “4G” and they are ready to go. The average consumer doesn’t have a clue what HSPA+ means, but everyone knows “4G” must be better than “3G” because it’s a higher number, right?

Going forward it looks like T-Mobile will milk HSPA+ for all it’s worth because it was already announced they will double the speeds to 42 Mbps next year. After that look for T-Mobile to become a major investor in Clearwire (or just buy their spectrum) as they migrate their network to LTE in 2012 and beyond.

Someone tell me I’m wrong.

Via: T-Mobile

Source: T-Mobile

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://www.google.com/profiles/anakin78z anakin78z

    Sweet, at that speed, I can use up my 5 gb ‘unlimited’ data in 16 minutes and 40 seconds!

    Excited about the new speeds, but here in Santa Monica we seem to be stuck around 1-2mbps on the HSPA+ network. Anyone know why the speeds vary so much from place to place? I’ve definitely seen people with 7+mbps around the country…

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      They have upgraded a lot of their towers to HSPA+, but they are still in the process of adding more backhaul to each site.

      • http://Website Usman

        Taylor, can we take that to mean that even when T-mobile has covered 200 million subscribers with “4G”… only some of those 200 million will actually see a speed improvement until the backhaul is in place?

        • Brian

          Here in Jacksonville, the areas with lower income housing do not have HSPA+. I travel through different areas of the city and in some areas I can hit 3 to 6 Mbps on Speedtest.net and as stated above “other” areas have old school 500 to 750 Kbps.

          I’m sure this is a roll out thing but my office is near one of the older sites and its upsetting to know that within a short distance from my house, my speed is diminished to a tenth of what I can get in my home.

    • http://Website alex

      i feel very sorry for you. i dont have hspa+ but i have a download speed of 4mbs max and 1.5mbs min here in san jose. i know hspa+ is here but i have never seen it. my speeds went up high like that eversince the first hspa+ was launched btw

  • http://www.goldfishview.com David Shellabarger

    You’re wrong.

    (sorry I couldn’t resist)

    But actually, everything sounds right except for buying Clearwire. Not sure if that would be a good move or not.

    • http://Website Usman

      Either T-mobile would invest in CW, gaining access to their planned LTE network, or T-mo would simply buy a license to use some of CW’s spectrum for T-mo’s own LTE network. Sounds like a decent idea to me, considering the FCC is dragging its heels on freeing up more spectrum.

  • t1h5ta3

    now all they gota do is get a campaign going ” we dont need no iphone…”

  • http://Website Dylan Andersen

    This is all great and all but T-Mobile has the already announced “unlimited” 5GB data packages. They also have said they will throttle download speeds which completely negates the whole idea of a 4G network. Great job, T-Mo.

  • http://geekinginindiana.com Tony

    I just wish they would focus on having a better existing network before they started pushing for faster. Once you get out of a major metropolitan area, your phone is a paperweight.

    • http://Website Big Bad Butcher

      But that’s whats great its mostly software upgrades on their existing network.

    • http://Website ontheFritz


  • http://Website mihavitmalakai

    well all this sounds great and all, but t-mobile coverage sucks. im sorry i dont really like to rant about a company im using. but after all lets face it 3g stalls out on its own edge always appears more than 3g. downloads take forever to complete, the android phone was ment to surf the net and download at reasonable speeds. all tmobie is giving us is buy this phone and that phone cuz its goingto be on our new network HSPA+. only HSPA+ phone will reap the benefits for faster speeds. what about the exsisting customers that always pay there bills on time why are we forgotten. why our phone cant have HSPA+ speeds? at least the one that are updatible. tmobile can do it thats not fair to us. i own a nexus one google phone, before that i had a mytouch 3g phone. i live in new york where the best coverage should be explain the bad coverage.

    • http://Website Juju

      Because you don’t know how to spell.

      • http://Website mihavitmalakai

        u act like u never misspelled anything in ur life or on the cpu. instead of insulting me why dont u correct me.

    • http://Website garet

      because you live in New York a congested area too many users and I have been to the upgraded areas Indianapolis and has 7.0 mbps download speeds consistently .If you have an older model its because of the hardware inside the phone it can not use the new network so there is nothing they can do. But you can sell you nexus one they still go for more then 300 on E-bay and get you a mytouch 4g or HD whatever they are calling it.

      • http://Website mihavitmalakai

        well i guess im so angry that i didnt think about it like that. i just wish my coverage would get better when the new network is up and running full strength.

    • http://Website UMA Fan

      Your devices DO get a speed boost because the good thing about HSPA+ is that it is a BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE 4G network. The only difference when it comes to devices is that the older ones max out at 7mbps (real world 3-5mbps) and the G2 and MyTouch 4G will max out at 14 mbps (real world 8-10mbps)

  • http://Website Tito!

    Long Live T-Mobile! :)

  • http://Website Richard

    T-mobile will never be SPRINT and no phone they have on t-mobile will never be better than the HTC EVO 4G OR THE SAMSUNG EPIC 4G…..T-MOBILE IS CLEARLY A JOKE

    • http://Website phesone

      You’re funny, kid.

    • http://Website Garet

      Lol the Vibrant is the same phone as the epic idiot minus the keyboard. and the Evo is already outdated.

      • http://Website Adrian

        The Evo is aging, but does T Mobile have a handset that can compete with it? No, which makes arguing the pros for this carrier even more pointless. Their flagship device is what, the MyTouch? THAT is an lol.

        • http://Website @neidlinger

          Hate to burst your bubble but the G2 and the MyTouch4G will both out preform the Evo…. sorry sad fact of life. +1 for t-mobile

          oh and By the way…. the Nexus One, The most beloved Android phone…. i wonder how it works on Sprint’s network…. once again +1 for t-mobile

          • http://Website MR_iVTEC

            lol that is funny. G2 has the a 800mhz processor vs the EVO’s 1Ghz and the myTouch4G will have the SAME processor, not to mention the EVO has a better camera resolution (8mp vs 5mp)… get your facts straight. second, the WiMax is true speed because it works pretty much like a big wifi router, speeds are more consistent. If you look at T-Mobile’s 3G, their network already has spotty coverage, so when you add HSPA+ to a spotty network, you’ll be very disappointed in your “4G” network, much as T-Mobile customers are disapointed now in their 3G network. I have T-Mobile and Sprint so working so I have experience with the GSM and CDMA game and I can say honestly that WiMax is WAY more stable with more consistent in speed when you’re in a 4G area.

    • http://Website LSxChevelle

      How so? Both are great phones but in my hands on tests and review I have read that were in same areas with both 4G and HSPA+ T-Mobile was faster in both dl and ul speeds. Now as far as devices it’s personal opinion. I have the G2 and had a Vibrant. I personally love both. So far the highest dl test for me was 8.13 on my G2 and 5.9 on the Vibrant. I haven’t heard of those speeds on Sprint…

      • http://Website ivan

        Then you must be stupid Evos are getting 12 mbps dl, so yea t mobile sucks Sprint and Wimax owns

        • http://Website briginiaea

          Sorry bud but WIMAX only gets theorhetical speeds of 10mbps down, HSPA+ does 14.4. no way your getting 12 unless your on wifi dumdum…

          • http://Website Ivan

            Check out this video and see if the Evo is getting 12 mbps down dum dum lol…. yea i rather pay 10 dollars a month for fast speeds than be paying for slow spotty teen mobile coverage like you guys are. Wimax kills hspa+

    • Uncemister

      Actually paying 10 dollars a month for internet that is slower is CLEARLY A JOKE sir

      • http://Website Ivan

        your a joke sir, with your spotty coverage and stupid crappy phones still running 1.6

        • http://Website @neidlinger

          @Ivan… you are proving why the Evo is the official phone of the tool… … … just saying.

          • http://Website Ivan

            I am proving why the Evo is still the best Android phone you can get, and Wimax is true 4G not like t mobile’s piece of shit hspa+, that is a fail and will not get anywhere

  • http://Website MW

    Just got the G2 and loving the speeds. Haven’t tested how fast it is downloading, but it is an obvious improvement over my N1, which was very fast.

    I am so glad to see T-Mobile is finally taking the battle to the enemy. Most of us (except Ivan) know T-Mobile has the fastest network, now it is time for them to show the rest of the world.

    Now they just need to get a dual core, large screen phone, with front facing camera and I am set!

    • http://Website Ivan

      Fastest network???? LMFAO seriously? more like slowest and spottiest network to me lol get your head out of your ass and come back to reality. Wimax is the way to go my dear friend

  • http://Website Andrew

    I don’t understand why T-Mobile is investing so much in HSPA+. They are blowing all of this money on a new network that is going to be obsolete when AT&T and Verizon launch LTE. Don’t get me wrong, it appears to be fast on paper, but customers probably aren’t going to get speeds like that. Just seems crazy to me that T-Mobile is pushing a temporary option, when they plan to switch to LTE in a year and a half.

    • http://Website Rich

      T-Mobile isn’t really investing as much as you might think. They were so late in the game when it came to providing 3G service, they were able to take advantage of the buying latest technology for 3G. Upgrading to HSPA+ is really just a relatively minor upgrade to there network.

    • http://Website bob

      the one smart thing t-mobile did was to install the hspa+ software when they put up the existing 3G network so as soon as the FCC cleared the spectrum they could launch hspa+. So actually they are not investing any more money they are simply activating the already installed software. pretty clever huh?

  • http://Website Johnny

    I did not know
    Fresno was getting 4g

    Us that all carriers or just tmo

  • http://Website Nammy

    This all just seems like a marketing gimmick.

    Why the heck do you need 20mbps on a phone!? My home internet is 6mbps and I can load a youtube video in less then two seconds.
    What, are you people bit-torrenting HD movies through your phone or something? Why the need for 100mbps?

    • Uncemister

      Yup, just about everybody I know has a G2 and is doing exactly that

    • http://Website MW

      Nammy…Here is the deal, you get more powerful phones, with more memory, with higher up/download speeds and the end result is more rich content for the end users, so yes we need the speed and the dual core, and quad core phones.

      • http://Website DrE

        And tethering your phone is the future so faster speeds will make tethering better

  • http://Website Karl

    To get this straight
    4G has nothing to do with “speed”
    It applies to networks that are devoid of circuit based communications. In other words, all communications are based on IP. Voice “calls” for instance are based on SIP/RTP or equivalent.

    • http://Website 3gsurfer

      Lets get this sh*t str8.


      Better yet…………finish the 3rd grade first.

    • http://Website MW

      Karl, spelled with a K…you make a good point, but I really don’t care that much as long as the T-Mobile network does everything that I expect it to do. If I can make calls while surfing the web, do video teleconferencing, tethering and whatever else we should be able to do, then I don’t care if the T-Mobile network is not officially 4G
      Sprint’s network is officially 4G yet, T-Mobile’s network is faster

      Bottom Line…what ya gonna do for me!

    • http://Website MW

      Karl, spelled with a K…you make a good point, but I really don’t care that much as long as the T-Mobile network does everything that I expect it to do. If I can make calls while surfing the web, do video teleconferencing, tethering and whatever else we should be able to do, then I don’t care if the T-Mobile network is not officially 4G
      Sprint’s network is officially claimed 4G yet, T-Mobile’s network is faster

      Bottom Line…what ya gonna do for me!

  • http://Website Karl

    So no, T-Mobile is not deploying G4 at this point. They are improving on their existing 3G stack as far as I know.

    • Tangent

      Technically, no US carrier is offering 4G or even appears to have plans to upgrade to it any time soon. Unfortunately “4G” has been co-opted by marketing departments who neither understand or care what it really means. In the US we just need to accept that “4G” simply means “Faster than the 3G you’re used to”.

  • http://Website Craig Bennett

    First thing is there is no mytouch 4g the phones name is MyTouch HD

    Reading this it sounds like it is more rumor then anything else. But to just make sure is this fact based like T-Mobile said they will do this or is this just something you think will happen based on some evidence?

    • http://Website GT

      It is still unknown what the phone will be called unless you are someone with inside knowledge at TMO. It was originally called the myTouch HD when we first of it months ago. In TMO’s literature, they refer to it as the myTouch, that’s it. If they are going to claim to have the largest 4G network, they very well could change the name to myTouch4G. Remember, they already did it with the myTouch3G to let everyone know that they were now running a 3G network.

      Personally, I don’t care what they call it. As long as it performs well, it will be my next phone and a great holiday gift for me.

  • http://www.androidappreviewsource.com Android App Reviews

    That would be great if T-Mobile got 4G.

  • zerotiger

    now all they have to do is get some decent phones that are 4G compatible.

  • http://Website wilbrod

    Hey t mobile, still waitin for 3g in Pascoag RI!!
    Get it together with your priorities

  • http://Website Joshua

    since this is also a “4g” network,
    does that mean Sprint customers will be able to dataRoam onto this 4g coverage when not in the coverage of their Sprint 4g towers?

  • http://Website JTHC

    Did they go live in SF? I’m picking up 5.5mbps at home on my Vibrant, which is almost twice as fast before.

    • http://Website Galen20K

      I actively get 3 to 7 mbps in Michigan on my Nexus One, a year ago I was only getting 1mbps. Bravo T-Mobile!!!

      I love your 4G network already and I don’t even have a 4G phone, but my 3G phone sure as hell ALREADY is as fast or faster than Sprint’s 4G phones ! NICE

  • http://Website Daniel

    Lucky you guys.
    I wish I could say all those nice things about TMo here in Saint Louis,MO we have the most unstable 3g signal.It is a joke how the devices keep switching from Edge-3g-edge again.they should fix this and forget about all the new speed,the new network and the billboards on the highway.
    As much as I like TMo,all these little things make you wanna think about a different carrier and network.

  • http://Website Raptor

    Read Anandtech review of G2. He was shocked by Tmo speeds in his city. Nothing is faster then Tmo. I also see great speed improvements during last two weeks. Generally without detailed comparison, speeds on my Vibrant are same as on Sprint EVO 4G or faster but with ****no*** impact on battery life. As compared to EVO which has useless 4G which you need to take care off manually or you will find your phone stoned before the end of the day. Both are on the same tower and are 1/4 mile off

    2.6 – 3.1 mbps on Tmo Vibrant 3G
    2.0 – 2.4 mbps on Sprint EVO 4G

  • todah09

    a lot of people hatting on sprint….yeah, tmo is faster than sprint,but lets keep it real.sprints a lot more stable,and consistant…take stable and consistant over random bursts of speed any day……

  • http://Website CW

    T-mobile is looking at CWs spectrum, and speed on Sprint… My evo gets a consistent 8.6 download all day long. Sprints 4g is more consistent and stable, and when CW goes LTE … watch out!

    • http://Website sorandkairi

      then sprint will be SOL because their phone are LTE comp. yet…. and i’m that they would invest millions if not billions in a network only to have it because usuable with 2 years… (Wimax)

      • http://Website sorandkairi

        with—–> within!

        sorry for the double post!

  • http://Website eris


  • http://Website jcfulgham

    how can tmobile go 4g when most of us only get edge and dont even have 3g?

    • Tangent

      2G to 3G is an actual hardware upgrade. 3G to HSPA+ (now being marketed as 4G) is essentially a software upgrade. If you have 3G coverage in your area, it is relatively easy for TMo to upgrade that to 4G. If you’re still stuck on edge you need to wait for them to physically upgrade towers.

      To stay competitive in the market, the speed of your network is pretty important. TMobile diverting a little bit of attention from the big job of upgrading everyone’s 2G to 3G to upgrade major markets from 3G to 4G is great marketing. This will hopefully bring in more customers which will give TMobile more money to do the 2G to 3G upgrades even more quickly than they could have before.

  • http://Website trey

    wow u guys on here sound dumb ass hell t-mobile is the best rite now yea at&t and verizon is going to kill if t-mobile and Sprint

  • http://Website cyano

    I just noticed my 3G indicator on my phone changed to an H here in Phoenix. Speed is a little faster but nothing that is outstanding.

  • http://Website Bob

    T-mobile sucks period in California. I live in stockton we don’t even have 3g in all parts of town. I never get faster than 0.45mbps is purely a garbage network.