T-Mobile was the first carrier to start throwing around the 4G term that is more marketing than an actual change in technology, but in my experiences they do have the 2nd fastest network behind Verizon's true 4G LTE network. T-Mobile just announced they flipped the switch to double their HSPA+ network speed from a theoretical 21 Mbps to 42 Mbps in 55 markets. In addition, they announced the T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 USB stick that supports this faster data network so you can get up and running with it tomorrow.
So far I have found their fastest smartphone, in terms of network speeds, to be the Galaxy S 4G with speeds up to 9 Mbps in actual usage. There are no smartphones yet available with support for the 42 Mbps network, but I imagine we will see some in the next few months. A MiFi like device is also surely coming in the future as T-Mobile continues to roll out this faster data network. I am pretty sure this 42 Mbps network rollout is the limit for their HSPA+ network and the next upgrade will be LTE after they get taken over by AT&T.
The Rocket 3.0 USB stick, from ZTE, will be available tomorrow for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and two year mobile broadband agreement. Mobile broadband plans start at $29.99 for 200 MB up to $84.99 for 10 GB and customers with a voice line of service receive a 20% discount. You can also buy the Rocket 3.0 without a contract for $199.99.
Here are the markets getting the 42 Mbps network upgrade:
Albany, Ga.; Athens, Ga.; Atlanta, Ga.; Auburn, Ala.; Augusta, Ga.; Austin, Texas; Bentonville, Ark.; Boulder, Colo.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas, Texas; Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; Detroit, Mich.; Durham, N.C.; El Paso, Texas; Fort Collins, Colo.; Gainesville, Fla.; Gainesville, Ga.; Greeley, Colo.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Houston, Texas; Jacksonville, Fla.; Long Island, N.Y.; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.; Macon, Ga.; Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; Miami, Fla.; New Orleans, La.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Olympia, Wash.; Omaha, Neb.; Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Ponce, Puerto Rico; Portland, Ore.; Salinas, Calif.; San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Calif.; Savannah, Ga.; Seattle, Wash.; Spokane, Wash.; Tampa, Fla.; Tulsa, Okla.; Valdosta, Ga.; Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.; Warner Robins, Ga., and Wichita, Kan.
I may have to get a Rocket 3.0 device, but would rather wait for their mobile hotspot device so I could use it to connect my various mobile devices.