Today, my friend Zach Epstein from BGR made friends with all the US wireless carriers today when he posted a commentary nicely titled, “The 4G forgery”. In his commentary, he basically calls out the entire US wireless industry and their so called 4G networks. A little later in the day, he posted another post with and equally pointy title, “AT&T says T-Mobile’s fake 4G network isn’t the biggest”. It’s on like Donkey Kong now! I am sure there are some marketing people a little upset today.
The article that Zach posted yesterday morning calls out carriers that are claiming that their network is a 4G network. T-Mobile recently started marketing their network as 4G and that prompted many Twitter discussions and is what most likely convinced Zach to post about this subject.
T-Mobile does not have a 4G network. Sprint, which first launched WiMAX in June of 2009, does not have a 4G network. Verizon Wireless will flip the switch on LTE later this year and when it does, it will not have a 4G network. AT&T is taking its time with LTE and it won’t fire anything up until next year. When it finally does, AT&T will not have a 4G network.
“4G”, as we now use the term here in the United States, is marketing speak. Carriers have devalued it to the point where it simply doesn’t make sense to fight it anymore… but I’m going to anyway.
Make sure to head over to BGR to read the rest of the article if you haven’t already.
Like I said, T-Mobile is definitely on the attack lately. The bold move to start marketing their network as 4G was a big 1st step. A couple days ago, T-mobile posted an ad targeting AT&T and the iPhone too. Is this going to turn into another AT&T vs Verizon mudslinging campaign?
T-Mobile’s claims about 4G are based on the same HSPA+ technology we have deployed to 180 million people today, more than T-Mobile’s reported 140 million, and we’ll have it rolled out to 250 million people by the end of this month, substantially more than the 200 million T-Mobile says it will have by year-end.
T-Mobile might not be the largest HSPA+ network right now, but I know for a fact that T-Mobile is coming to the plate to win. Not only are they pricing their data plans to sell, they are offering some terrific incintives for families to switch over to their network. I’ve been tempted myself, but since I work for AT&T (not on the wireless side, but I do get a discount on my service) I can’t bring myself to it. I had accounts with all 4 carriers for a couple years to do device reviews without worrying about service being provided. Another thing tha T-Mobile is doing that will really help them in the future with data is the circuits they are running to cell towers. They are running variable rate data circuits on fiber out to their towers. This will provide them with an easy upgrade path if they decide they need more data capacity at a certain tower without having to install additional T1 lines.
No matter how you slice it, carriers are throwing the 4G nomenclature around with the same disregard as some manufactures are with the HD tag. What is sad is that many consumers that don’t know any better are buying the forgery. I expect that the FCC or some other government organization will intervene at some point. Until then, we need to thank folks like Zach for exposing these issues.