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T-Mobile’s Not afraid of the “4G” word!

Going back to the “project emerald” days most of us have all been waiting for the release this week of the T-Mobile My Touch 4G. The newest member of the MyTouch family feels more solid in the hand, has faster speeds and is being released as the second HSPA+ or rather “4G” optimized phone on T-Mobile.  The first being the HTC G2.
The confusing part is the use of the word “4G” in the name of the phone. T-Mobile has been testing HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access Plus) for the greater part of the last year in cities as big as New York. I remember last spring noticing that my Nexus One was receiving between 7mbps and 10mbps on the top floors of the Waldorf Astoria during the Mobile Marketing Association conference. After a few more trips to New York I had the chance to spend about an hour with former T-Mobile Vice President of PR, Peter Debrow. During this time we were at a T-Mobile launch party for the Samsung Vibrant on a rooftop in the village.Again I took out my Nexus One, and the new Vibrant and saw these speeds of 7mbps to 10mbps.
I was wondering why T-Mobile hadn’t jumped on the “4G” bandwagon. Living in Baltimore Maryland at the time, I had become familiar with Sprint/Clearwires 4G/Wimax service and its speeds landing around 1mbps to 3mbps. My Baltimore home was less than 100 yards from a tower field which included a Sprint/Clearwire/Xohm 4G transmitter.
I was also able to see a demonstration of Verizon’s 4G/LTE outside of the DC area. Again the speeds still mid 5mbps-10mbps but never as consistently fast as the HSPA+.  Now please don’t get me wrong T-Mobile is hot where they’re hot but still growing out their network. In metro areas they get awesome fast speeds with great coverage, between those areas, not so much.
So as the name of the MyTouch 4G came out I was really curious. At the early part of this week Taylor Wimberly at Androidandme published this piece on T-Mobile and 4G. He was speculating that T-Mobile’s legal department was having a problem getting their arms around the name “4G”. Based on the release of the phone and the name of the phone this Wimberly piece (as most of his others) was right on the money.  The very next day the ITU-R’s Standards Committee reitterated the fact that true 4G delivers speeds of 100mbps, which no carrier currently offers. Having read that piece and researched one of our own, I thought perhaps T-Mobile may back off the “4G” name.
In preparation of the release I had a chance to speak with T-Mobile directly. During a press call for the HTC G2 T-Mobile said the G2 had a theoretical speed of 14mbps which although HSPA+ is still in my opinion, the fastest commercially available to consumers, I haven’t reached that theoretical speed of 14mbps.
We had a chance to talk with T-Mobile directly about the My Touch 4G, HSPA+ and the word “4G” First I asked about the theoretical speeds of the MyTouch 4G:

The new myTouch is the latest device from T-Mobile that’s specifically designed to take advantage of T-Mobile’s advanced HSPA+ network, which delivers web browsing and downloads at 4G speeds. While we aren’t quoting specific speeds today, in independent 3rd party testing of T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network using the webConnect Rocket USB Laptop Stick, reviewers have seen average download speeds between 5-8Mbps with peak speeds between 8 and 10Mbps.

They also sent some links over to other reviews that do speak to the speeds of the MyTouch 4G (which are linked for your reference below) Then with all the hype about “4G” this and “4G” that and finding out that no carrier has true 4G according to the ITU-R we asked :
Knowing that HSPA+ is really more of a 3.5G what is the reasoning behind calling the MyTouch 4g “4G” are we talking network or are we talking this is the 4th generation of the mytouch franchise?
“The reason T-Mobile called the new myTouch the T-Mobile myTouch 4G is because the phone is designed specifically to deliver 4G speeds on T-Mobile’s rapidly expanding HSPA+ network, offering customers blazing fast access to websites, applications, videos, downloads and more.”

So there you have it the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G is designed specifically to deliver 4G Speeds. Regardless of the ITU-R’s standards board it is safe to say that the other 3 carriers, specifically Sprint, has set the bar for what consumers will qualify as “4G” through branding whether it is in fact “4G” or not.  Based on our own personal experiences with the two “4G” products on the market, Sprint’s Wi-Max and T-Mobile’s HSPA/HSPA+ we can say that T-Mobile delivers better, faster and more reliable “4G” speeds in major markets that have both networks available.

What do you think? Is it responsible for the carriers to be using the terminology “4G” do you think consumers even care? It’s “4G’ so it has to be faster…

source: while this piece was built around interview questions posed to T-Mobile directly by thedroidguy, T-Mobile sent over these links for reference:

·         September 27, 2010, Dallas, TX: T-Mobile webConnect Rocket 2.0 reviewMobile Tech Review

·         July 1, 2010, Washington D.C.: A Review of T-Mobile’s HSPA+ SystemThe Wall Street Journal

·         June 4, Philadelphia: “4G Networks Tested: WiMAX vs. HSPA+”PhoneScoop

·         April 30, 2010, New York: “Online all the time, anywhere”Financial Times

·         Feb. 16, Philadelphia: “T-Mobile’s webConnect Rocket is a Mobile Broadband Missile”GigaOm

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