Not So Fast T-Mobile, Sprint Claims It Has the Only National 4G Network


Sprint is shooting back at T-Mobile’s claims regarding who has the largest national 4G network with a video series highlighting its own WiMAX 4G network. I think the 4G war just started rolling along a little faster. T-Mobile already took a shot at AT&T’s network and the iPhone 4 in a commercial that stresses how the myTouch 4G can do video calling through T-Mobile’s 4G network while the iPhone has to use a Wi-Fi connection to FaceTime. Sprint, Verizon and AT&T are all furious that T-Mobile is calling its network 4G at all, let alone claiming it’s the largest in the country.

Sprint talking about its 4G network in LA


You hear that T-Mobile? Sprint just said that it “has a big pipe” when it comes to network capacity and visually compared your 4G network to its own with actual PVC piping. If you’re looking for an explanation of why everyone is upset at T-Mobile’s claim to having the largest 4G network in the US, try here, otherwise, I hope that Sprint explanation of “how well it works depends on the size of your pipe” is sufficient.

Sprint’s repeated claims that it has the only national carrier to offer 4G is understandable when you consider that the technology T-Mobile is using is really a 3.5G (3G tweaked to provide faster speeds through HSPA+) network. Of course, speed tests are putting them both at about the same in actual use, with T-Mobile’s network actually coming ahead sometimes. That’s probably just due to the limited number of HSPA+ compatible phones T-Mobile has running on its network right now though and Sprint’s larger customer base hogging bandwidth.

However, Sprint is also angering Verizon and AT&T who are building what they define as 4G—LTE or long term evolution networks. WiMax doesn’t technically qualify as 4G according to the International Telecommunications Union. To be fair, neither does LTE, but LTE is considered the in-between step to true 4G networks in the future. We’re still a long ways off. The ITU defines 4G as a network that can provide peak speaks of up to 100 Mbit/s for mobile access. Yeah, I don’t think we’ll see real 4G anywhere for at least another 5 years. In the meantime, the carriers can all bicker over who has the real 4G network and who’s 4G network is bigger.

Got an opinion on this 4G mess? Let me know what you think in comments.

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