4G a War of Tech and Words at CES 2011
There's definitely a war of words going on around 4G here at CES. T-Mobile just said that will increase its top download speeds to 42 megabits per second from its present 21 mbps download speeds.
I've gotten over the fact that T-Mobile's definition of a 4G network is far from that of the official standards body for mobile broadband technology, the IEEE.
But it should be pointed out that T-Mobiles 21 and 42 mbps top speeds are theoretical and not really possible in the real world. When I asked the T-Mobile execs to get specific about the real speeds consumers should expect from the new 42 mbps HSPA+ service, they said that download speeds should be around 29-30 mbps and upload speeds should be around 5 mbps.
Our tests of the current "21 mbps" T-Mobile service in San Francisco found some fairly fast download speeds-in the 6-8 mbps range--in various areas of town. But the coverage was spotty. In many of the neighborhoods we tested in we found download speeds of less than 1 mbps.
T-Mobile was indeed getting some fast speeds during its press conference demos here in Vegas, but I'm not sure I could get those speeds a few blocks from the convention center.
T-Mobile also took some time to talk a little smack about Verizon's LTE network. They make the point that while Verizon's LTE speeds are impressive right now, the network has no data-hungry devices like smartphones and mobile hotspots connected to it. Once these begin connecting to the Verizon network, the connection speeds may decrease.
Verizon's CTO Tony Malone fired back a little with this remark: "We have kept our promise, not through ad agency and ad complains but with real performance." Malone is referring to T-Mobile's massive ad campaign around what T-Mobile calls its 4G network and phones. He suggests that Verizon has done more than talk; he says that Verizon's projected LTE network speeds have been proven-and then some--in the marketplace so far.
"We expected some early speed bumps with our launch, but they have been few and far between." Malone said.
For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.