T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

Summary: T-Mobile continues to roll out their super fast 42 Mbps HSPA+ network and after testing two new Android devices I am convinced it should be called a 4G network.

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I have been using LTE smartphones on Verizon for a few months and have experienced download speeds of up to 20 Mbps, which blew away all other carriers and had me personally only considering LTE as 4G in the US despite the marketing speak from other carriers. I am now changing my tune a bit and giving the nod to T-Mobile's 42 Mbps HSPA+ network as a 4G network. To support this personal decision, check out my speedtest results below.

In January of this year I wrote that the consumer really doesn't care about the wireless technology and just wants to enjoy the speeds of a 4G network. Sprint's WiMAX has limited range and rather slow speeds while AT&T's "4G" network is currently a joke until they get LTE up and running. T-Mobile has been pushing their HSPA+ network with updates to 21 Mbps and then 42 Mbps and the results show it is worthy of 4G.

T-Mobile sent me seven optimal locations in the Puget Sound area to test out the HTC Amaze 4G and Samsung Galaxy S II on their 42 Mbps network, including:

  • Starbucks - 11523 Avondale Road, Seattle, WA
  • Starbucks - 10214 NE 8th St., Seattle, WA
  • Starbucks - 102 Pike St., Seattle, WA
  • Starbucks - 626 106th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
  • Starbucks - 15015 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98004
  • 6977 Coal Creek Parkway, Newcastle, WA 98059
  • 1785 44th Avenue, Renton, WA 98056

I went to the 102 Pike St Starbucks location and recorded the following results using the SpeedTest.net Android application from Ookla with the Lynnwood, WA server.

HTC Amaze 4G

  1. Download: 26.67 Mbps Upload: 3.30 Mbps Ping: 39ms
  2. Download: 26.63 Mbps Upload: 2.84 Mbps Ping: 44ms
  3. Download: 27.19 Mbps Upload: 2.87 Mbps Ping: 37ms
  4. Download: 24.90 Mbps Upload: 3.46 Mbps Ping: 48ms
  5. Download: 19.51 Mbps Upload: 2.69 Mbps Ping: 44ms
  6. Download: 27.99 Mbps Upload: 3.09 Mbps Ping: 39ms
  7. Download: 25.65 Mbps Upload: 2.74 Mbps Ping: 56ms
  8. Download: 27.61 Mbps Upload: 2.68 Mbps Ping: 61ms

Samsung Galaxy S II

  1. Download: 25.94 Mbps Upload: 2.75 Mbps Ping: 46ms
  2. Download: 23.88 Mbps Upload: 2.19 Mbps Ping: 49ms
  3. Download: 23.71 Mbps Upload: 2.46 Mbps Ping: 48ms
  4. Download: 21.86 Mbps Upload: 2.24 Mbps Ping: 43ms
  5. Download: 23.00 Mbps Upload: 2.96 Mbps Ping: 66ms
  6. Download: 26.07 Mbps Upload: 3.39 Mbps Ping: 39ms
  7. Download: 20.46 Mbps Upload: 3.27 Mbps Ping: 46ms
  8. Download: 24.85 Mbps Upload: 2.64 Mbps Ping: 49ms

I was blown away that both of these devices are easily beating my home cable network connection and now wish Apple would have released a T-Mobile HSPA+ iPhone 4S that could have blown the doors off the competition. It is now quite likely I will be picking up my own Amaze 4G as I find it to be an outstanding piece of hardware and with these speeds is a compelling mobile WiFi hotspot too.

Topics: Networking, Hardware, Mobility, Wi-Fi

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11 comments
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  • RE: T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

    I understand your feelings. I just upgraded to what I thought was a pretty nice connection, yet this still blows it out of the water.
    Aerowind
  • Technology has NOTHING to do with 4G designation..

    How can you not know that as "tech writer".. 4g designation is only about speed, latency etc.. LTE != 4g.. at least not yet.. technically no currently available service or phone qualifies as 4g.. 4g is technically 1000Mb/s for pedestrian and stationary.. 100Mb/s for high mobility (cars, trains etc)
    doctorSpoc
    • RE: T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

      @doctorSpoc
      Well he never claimed 4G==LTE. But he did say AT&T LTE/4G is joke when compared to TMo's HSPA+. TMo claims their HSPA+ as 4G. Sprint calls their WiMax as 4G and Verizon's LTE is a joke at least for now and it will be a joke until end of next year at least.
      Ram U
  • HTC Thunderbolt 4G says its LTE downbload speeds are "5-12 Mbps", so while

    ... it is good that you could get faster results in perfect conditions, in real life Verizon's LTE is no less "joke" than AT&T's 14 Mbps network.
    DDERSSS
    • RE: T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

      @DeRSSS
      +1
      Ram U
  • RE: T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

    my best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7487 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here "MakeCash5.c om"
    Glenda21974310
  • RE: T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

    Ironically, the only carrier where super high 4G speeds really matter is Sprint, what with their unlimited data plan. I mean, what good is having a 4G network that could potentially max out your monthly data allotment in 3 1/2 minutes?<br><br>I've been with Sprint for a few months, and find their WiMax network to be great for the kind of internet activity you'd be likely to do on a phone (even when tethering my tablet, I don't yearn for a faster connection). The biggest fault with Sprint's (really Clearwire's) WiMax is limited range and a limited dability to penetrate buildings and other structures. But when I can get a 4G connection on my Evo, the web experience is fantastic.
    dsf3g
  • RE: T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

    Quite impressive.
    Jeff Kibuule
  • RE: T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

    This is a worthless test. I don't find testing from one location based on the vendor's recommendation impressive at all. Impressive would be seeing those speeds consistently across the Seattle metro area. My dad has a Verizon Charge phone and consistently gets 10-20Mbs down even at home which is 15 miles outside of Portland, OR in the country. That's impressive. FWIW, I am a T-mobile customer of over 10 years.
    gkrokum
    • RE: T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

      @gkrokum

      My own test on GS-II shows 14Mbps at various times of the day in downtown Portland, including 5:30 in the afternoon.
      gork platter
  • RE: T-Mobile's 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ network earns my respect as a 4G network

    First off I just want to thank Matthew Miller for writing this informative piece on the positive changes that T-Mobile is making. They odviously want to provide an excellent user experience for their customers. With T-mobile being the smallest of the four major carriers coupled with the fact that they still dont have the iPhone, they get a bad rap and much of whats written about them is negative. I have experienced the super fast speeds of T-Mobile's new 4G network and I know from my own experience with Verizon's LTE 4G. T-Mobile is now approaching speeds that can make them the new "King of Speed" in the world of 4G wireless.
    genoh8