Sprint, AT&T Attack T-Mobile’s 4G Network Claims
Both AT&T and Sprint have fired back at T-Mobile’s questionable wireless data speed marketing push, taking issue with several claims about its supposed 4G network. Sprint, as expected — being that it has a big head start in the post-3G landscape — succinctly argued that T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network simply isn’t 4G: “They are putting a mask on 3G and pretending it’s 4G,” stated Sprint 4G business chief Matt Carter. Of course, according to the UN’s ITU agency responsible for establishing global communications standards, neither of these carriers has a 4G network; the ITU reserves that designation for LTE-Advanced and WiMax 2, neither of which have been put on a concrete roadmap by any domestic network provider.
AT&T, on the other hand, takes issue with T-Mobile’s classification of its network coverage — just as it did following that blitz of “There’s a Map for That” ads from Verizon. This time around, AT&T is arguing that it will actually have 250 million people covered by the same HSPA+ technology it claims T-Mobile will blanket only 200 million Americans with by the end of the month; T-Mobile has been stating that its 14.4Mbps iteration has a larger footprint than its rival GSM carrier. Both networks offer limited 21Mbps HSPA+ coverage, but while T-Mobile already stocks two compatible handsets (the MyTouch 4G and G2), AT&T offers up just a single USB dongle capable of these speeds.
For reference, current WiMax deployments are said to hit theoretical downlink speeds of 40Mbps, while LTE promises to deliver up to 100Mbps downstream. T-Mobile thinks that it can push its HSPA+ network toward 168Mbps eventually, but that apparently requires significant network upgrades and handset components not yet available.