What T-mobile should do about “4G”

Ever since HSPA+ was announced, there have been whispers of T-Mobile calling the upgrade  an enhancement to 4G service. After the network was deployed, and handsets started being released, the whispers grew into unreleased marketing material. Now that there is a phone in which multiple meanings of the name would apply, the term is being used on a phone. The MyTouch 4G is the fourth generation of MyTouch, but it is also the second phone with their new HSPA+ radio. Is this the right message? Should T-Mobile be ok with calling their network 4G?

Let’s bear in mind that there is no 4G. As far as the ITU-R, which is the international council that determines the network specifications for classifications, is concerned there are no US 4G networks, and none of the networks ready to be deployed meet the requirements. Sprint’s 4G network – a sham. The current deployment of Wi-Max in the US is not ready to be used as or called 4G. At least Wi-Max is supposed to be 4G, unlike LTE whose full designator is 3GPLTE, the Long Term Evolution of 3G. HSPA+ is not as fast as what these networks COULD one day be, They are, however, faster than what these networks ARE NOW. Because of that unique advantage, and the fact that T-Mobile was able to deploy HSPA+ to a much larger footprint as it is not a different technology, I see it as T-Mobile has two choices. They can jump on board and say “we have the biggest 4G network” or they can take it to these other carriers and say “our 3G network is faster than their 4G network… so what are you paying for again?”.

Remember, Sprint charges anyone with a 4G phone an extra $10/month even if they can’t use it in their area, and every carrier seems to be “optimizing” their data plans, so this could be the perfect time for T-Mobile to attract holiday customers with a more aggressive marketing plan. Plus, Verizon won’t really have LTE out in any meaningful fashion for awhile, so the next couple of months are critical to getting the customers in new contracts while they can. What do you think, should T-Mobile play as dirty as everyone else, or change their tact to include a more aggressive but truthful approach?

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  • Shawn

    I think they should call it 4G, cause everyone else is or will be, even if its not true for any of them. But the common person does not know the difference, and they think 4g>3g cause of the name. Just look at the naming of the iPhone 4G, tons of people think its a 4G phone, not 4th generation.

    So go for it, call it 4G since the majority have no clue what this all is.

    • CALLUS

      There is no iphone 4g, only iphone 4

      • Russell Holly

        Exactly – and I think that a MyTouch4 would be a really great name

  • android_purity

    Hmmm so 4g doesn’t exist….technically. didn’t know that

  • Galen20K

    I say call it 4G since the average consumer unlike us have no idea that HSPA+ is faster currently than other networks 4G and T-Mobile SHOULDN’T”T be penalized for that. Wouldn’t be fair.

    • Russell Holly

      Half the battle with consumers is marketing – which was my point. Take a look at the “Map” commercials between ATT and Verizon. They got HUGE attention. The same “slam” style marketing against “4G” would do way better in my opinion then just a “we have 4G too guys” campaign

  • JoonatanO

    They should call it 5G, then Sprint will come out with 6G, and so forth.

    This will continue until some law gets passed which states that they have to have the correct names.

    Problem solved 🙂

  • Call it what it is. Educate the masses don’t play politics.

  • thejosh

    Ever hear the saying “Two wrongs don’t make a right?” If T-mobile really wants to set themselves apart they should be honest and up front about their service not be deceitful with the consumer. Just because the average consumer doesn’t know the difference shouldn’t mean that t-mobile should take advantage of them. T mobile has an opportunity to learn from the other carrier’s mistake and earn the trust of the consumer. T mobile can earn a lot of of new customers by just explaining to consumers the difference during the sales process. Lying and using the 4G term may earn customers in the short term but it will hurt them in the long run. Consumers are becoming smarter about the products they buy now then in the past. T-mobile should avoid the term 4G.

  • Moose

    Going by the connection speed icons on the top of the display of the phone:

    G – God awful slow
    E – Edge
    H – (didn’t see this until I looked at the G2 display)

    Why not just call it T-Mobile H?

    Kinda like Wifi Networks have progressed from B, C, G, N – people will intuitively think that it “must be better”.

    • boss5

      Excellent point.

  • bryan

    I think Tmobile should keep doing what they have been, advertise 4g speeds and focus on the speeds and not worry about the network protocol.

    HSPA+ is technically 3g but so are Winax and LTE. The ITU just ruled that Wimax 2 and LTE- Advanced will be the first 4g network protocols. T-Mobile avoids the issues with calling HSPA+ 4g by advertising 4g speeds (since HSPA+ is faster than Wimax and likely faster than LTE at launch) without having to push the issue of what actually qualifies as 4g. Most consumers will not know the difference and at least it is more truthful that the competition but does not give up the marketing.

  • RoTo

    Tmob should call it what it is, 3G+, and nail the bastards by educating the public.

    “So how come your 3G+ phone is faster than my 4G phone? Well actually your network and phone are only ‘baby 4G’, someday your network will grow to be faster than my 3G+. But you will need a new phone then!”

  • William

    To be true 4G according to the ITU, a service must be able to sustain 100 Mbps download. NONE OF THE CARRIERS current LTE or WIMAX networks can sustain that. So any carrier saying that their network will be 4G sometime in 2011 IS A LIAR. Why should T-Mobile be the only HONEST carrier. I applaud them for being bold enough to tell the other guys to go to hell. If and when legislation passes, EVERYONE will have to stop calling their new networks 4G.

  • Adam D

    man the dude that wrote this article is retarded. T-Mobile isnt calling their network 4G, they just put the 4G tag on the MT4G cuz its just like he pointed out, its a 4th gen mytouch. that doesnt mean that tmo is calling there network 4g…i dont understand how u point stuff out and then end up contradicting urself. wut a loser