When it comes to the term “4g”, many consumers automatically assume that means the next iteration of their current 3g smartphone. It would only take a little digging up to find out that not only would their assumption be totally misguided, it would lead to them to the underlying truth of this “4g” movement. Consumers are being lied to. In every possible sense of word. Very few consumers fail to realize that here in the states, carriers literally bleed us dry when it comes to our contractual agreement to them. In many other places in the world, carriers are the consumers best friend. Providing multiple different plans and discounts to account for the overwhelming push of mobile innovation. This article will shed a little light on the deceptive tactics used by carriers in the states to take as much money out of your pockets as “legally” possible.
The first 4g phone ever released in the US was Sprint’s HTC Evo 4g back in 2010. It utilized the technology of WiMax in order to receive its supposed broadband like speeds. Just to in case you didn’t know, WiMax is a wireless communications standard designed to provide 30 to 40 megabit-per-second data rates at a time. Sprints actual 4g network coverage was abysmal at the time of launch. The only true reason why they were pushing this technology out so suddenly was for the sole purpose of being able to say they were the first to do it. This decision has come back to bite them in the ass in so many ways it’s almost comical. Now Sprint is converting their entire 4g WiMax network over to the far more superior LTE technology. To make matters even worse, Sprint is currently releasing their version of the Galaxy Nexus with an LTE chipset. That would be great news if only Sprint HAD an ACTUAL LTE network up and running. Sprint’s own incompetence and poor financial investments have led them to not only playing catch up with other carriers, but clear and utter desperation. It boggles my mind how Sprint is even able to legally market a network that doesn’t exist in their portfolio. I’d advise any consumer looking for a 4g phone to look anywhere but Sprint at this stage in the game.
When it comes to 4g and T-mobile in the same breath, you can only tip your hat to the nation’s 4th largest carrier. Let me start off by saying that T-Mobile has no 4g network. None what’s so ever. Their currently not even building one. As a consumer reading this, you may be thinking I’m a complete idiot. You may bring up claims like “What do you mean T-mobile doesn’t have a 4g network, their commercials say they do” or even “T-mobile has the nation’s largest 4g network, they couldn’t lie about that, could they ?”. Sadly they can and are doing that very thing. I couldn’t tell you how they’re able to do it. My major in college is Marketing, not Paralegal. All I can tell you is that T-mobile is proclaiming their HSPA+ network as their 4g counterpart. HSPA+ in layman’s terms can being explained as “3.5g”. It’s an upgrade to their current 3g network that actually does enhance data speeds to a theoretical 42mps. But alas, this isn’t 4g. Carriers such as At&t have this technology already implemented into their 3g network. It’s hard to actually bash their HSPA + network because brushing all the lies aside, it’s quite fast. T-Mobile’s coverage is also just as impressive. So if you’re looking for a fake 4g smartphone, T-Mobile is that place.
As an AT&T customer, I should be telling you that my carrier has the only true REAL 4g network in the country. AT&T does have an LTE network. They’re coverage isn’t complete but it’s getting there. Speed test also show that its quite a bit faster than Verizon’s very own LTE network as well.However, just as T-mobile has done with their HSPA+ network, At&t labels their upgraded 3g network as 4g and their LTE as LTE 4g. This is the greatest form of trickery I’ve ever seen. In order to compete with Verizon’s LTE network rollout, AT&T took the “if you can’t beat them, trick them approach”, and magically turned their HSPA+ network to a 4g icon. These simple changes gives consumers a false sense of security. It makes them think their device and network is next generation, when in reality its last generation tech. AT&T is continuously expanding and improving their LTE network. Lets hope that when 5g comes around, AT&T shows some morality.
Out of all the carriers previously mentioned, Verizon is surprisingly the most honest. Verizon knew where the future of mobile was headed and prepared their network for the task. While the other carriers were stagnant in innovation, Verizon was building its true LTE 4g network behind the scenes. As a result, Verizon now has more than six times the geographic coverage of the nearest competitors 4G LTE network. It blankets more than two thirds of the country while consistently providing data speeds in the 15mps range. Just for good measure, Verizon has also made it mandatory that all future smartphones on its network HAVE to be 4g LTE capable. This could be a double edged sword for many consumers as this means higher contract prices for their next smartphone. But this is nothing but genius as it futures proofs Verizon’s network in terms of quality and quantity of high tier devices. Don’t get me wrong, Verizon is the most expensive service of the bunch, but at least you can be rest assured every penny you give to them is being used to propel innovation and integrity.
So in summary I hope that you get a real understand of what the cell phone carriers claim is 4G in the U.S. So when they say they have "America’s Largest 4G Network" or "America’s Fastest 4G Network" or "The Most Reliable 4G Network" or even “The Now Network” you’ll really know what their network is really about.
Image Source: Recombu