T-Mobile Says They Have 4G

It appears that with the recent news that neither Sprint or Verizon meet the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) specifications for 4G data service, T-Mobile has decided they might as well claim the 4G title for their HSPA+ service. While T-Mobile’s upgraded data network, which is being rolled out across the country, isn’t technically 4G, its theoretical peak of 21 Mbps and average speeds of 5 Mbps probably make it the fastest data service available.

Boy Genius Report explains how none of the U.S. data services are 4G and suggests there could be truth in advertising issues down the road for all of the companies. What appears to be happening is that the label “4G” is simply being used to mean fast data service rather than it meets the ITU’s specifications. Honestly, I don’t think most users understand nor care about the ITU or what 4G means, what is important is that the carriers provide fast, reliable, and accessible data service.

Ultimately I think users will recognize limitations, such as seeing choppy video, in a data service rather than all of its capabilities. While real fast Internet access is important for tablet, netbook, and notebook computers, I am not convinced it’s important for smartphones. Internet access on smartphones needs to be fast enough to stream high quality video on 4 inch screens and stream audio and the current 3G data service pretty much meets that need.