T-Mobile’s False 4G Claims Upset AT&T

t mobiles false 4g claims upset att 14747 large mobile ameoOver the course of the last holiday season, Verizon aired a series of ads belittling AT&T’s coverage and even mocking the iPhone’s slogan (changing “There’s an app for that” to “There’s a map for that”). AT&T sued Verizon, lost the suit, and eventually settled down after Verizon stopped airing the ads incessantly.

Now AT&T has a new target in its quest against what it feels is disingenuous and deceptive advertising — T-Mobile’s HSPA+ publicity campaign.

HSPA+ is an advanced wireless technology designed to deliver faster download speeds over traditional 3G. It’s not quite a 4G technology — WiMAX, UMB, and LTE are the “true” 4G options — but it’s more advanced than traditional 3G. It does however work on existing 3G networks, and only requires a relatively simple firmware update to towers, in many cases.

So what’s AT&T’s problem? T-Mobile, the nation’s fourth largest carrier has been busy spreading HSPA+ coverage across the Northeastern United States. Now it claims that it is delivering “4G” speeds. Neville Ray, senior vice president of Engineering and Operations for T-Mobile writes in a release, “Our competitors are asking consumers to pay more for faster wireless service with limited coverage and very few capable devices. In contrast, T-Mobile is already delivering 4G speeds today to customers and we continue to make major leaps in expanding our HSPA+ mobile broadband footprint.”

AT&T believes T-Mobile’s statements are misinformation intended to fool news writers and consumers. AT&T Mobility spokesperson Seth Bloom comments, “I think that companies need to be careful that they’re not misleading customers by labeling HSPA+ as a 4G technology. We aren’t labeling those technologies as 4G.”

The wireless standard community seems to side with AT&T on this issue. They typically refer to LTE as 4G successor to GSM (3G) while referring to HSPA+ with stop-gap terms like 3.5G or “advanced 3G.” AT&T is working on coming up with a plan to deploy LTE, but is first focusing on beefing up its 3G network. Once those infrastructure improvements are complete it too will complete a quick HSPA+ update to improve the experience while customers await true 4G.

However, it won’t be calling HSPA+ “4G” — it will be calling it HSPA+.

T-Mobile’s HSPA+ service is currently available in New York City metropolitan area, including New Jersey and Long Island, as well as Upstate New York (Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse); Connecticut (Hartford, New Haven, Milford and Stamford); Providence, R.I.; Memphis, Tenn.; Las Vegas; Philadelphia and the Washington, D.C. suburbs. It has no publicly discussed plans to deploy WiMAX or LTE, as of yet.

HSPA+ isn’t just a firmware update in some cases, though. Sometimes it requires more fiber to be laid to the tower to support the higher transmission rates. T-Mobile is working on this to add more HSPA+ — a spokesperson says, “Over the next few weeks, we’ll continue to put the necessary backhaul in place in these locations to complete the upgrade. T-Mobile expects to have fiber backhaul in place in more than 100 metropolitan areas by the end of the year.”

Like true 4G which only works on a couple of handsets (like the WiMAX-ready HTC EVO 4G on Sprint), there’s a limited number of handsets that can handle HSPA+ advanced 3G. T-Mobile will release two next month — the Android powered myTouch 3G slide and the Garminfone, but currently has no handset for sale that can handle HSPA+.

Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Mobile

5G's arrival is transforming tech. Here's everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Computing

T-Mobile goes after big cable companies, pilots wireless home internet service

In a shot at big cable companies, T-Mobile is launching a new pilot program to bring an unlimited wireless LTE home internet service to up to 50,000 homes across the United States by the end of 2019.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Social Media

A Facebook, Instagram bug exposed millions of passwords to its employees

Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram passwords weren't properly encrypted and could be viewed by employees, the company said Thursday. The network estimates millions of users were affected.
Mobile

Diesel’s denim-inspired smartwatch straps are a casual, colorful must-own

Diesel will release two new versions of the On Full Guard 2.5 smartwatch later this year, with seriously cool, denim-inspired straps in classic Diesel colors. We tried them on at the Baselworld 2019 show.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.
Wearables

Tips and tricks to get you started with your new Fitbit Inspire HR

The Inspire HR may be an entry-level fitness tracker in Fitbit's lineup, but the device still has plenty of features to explore. These are our favorite tips and tricks to help you use the Inspire HR to its fullest potential.
Mobile

How three simple words could be the difference between life and death

What3Words’ app-based address system gives a three-word code to every three-meter-square patch on the planet, with its accuracy and ease of use now catching the attention of first responders in the U.K.
Mobile

The Moto G7 Power, with its massive battery, is now available for purchase

After a number of leaks and rumors, the Motorola Moto G7, Moto G7 Play, and Moto G7 Power are finally here. The devices represent quite a spec bump over the previous-generation Moto G6 phones, yet still come at a reasonable price.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Wearables

The Tacs Nato-Lens is a watch for those who live life through a camera lens

Not all watches have to be round, or connect to your phone. The Tacs Nato-Lens is a stylish piece of wristwear with a design inspired by classic SLR cameras, making it a geeky timepiece for the camera and watch fan.