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Why some “4G” phones are not quite 4G

0. phoneArena 16 Sep 2011, 08:51 posted on

In today's state of the market, one of the most touted and sought-after features in phones is 4G. Indeed, the ability to take advantage of much faster data speeds, compared to what we had just a year ago, is nothing short of awesome...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 12:16

95. hepresearch (unregistered)

"... believing their plastic phone has 4G speeds..."

Is it a fact that your precious non-plastic iPhone contains no plastic at all?

... and many of those "plastic phones", though not truly "4G", are still faster than the iPhone. Last time I checked, HSDPA 7.2 was slower than HSPA+ 21, or even HSDPA 14.4. The iPhone 4 on VZW has better network support, but maximum speed is capped even lower, at about 3.1 Mbps for 1xEv-DO Rev. A.

Thank you... thank you very much!

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 11:05 1

22. Henrick (unregistered)

Excellent article Ray.

I lived in Panama (Central America), & I´m owner of a Galaxy S2. To be honest with you I´m running it on a 3G network(3.5G). Difinetly my Carrier (Claro), just introduced what they call 4G network, Also Cable & Wireless & Digicel introduce it as well. (you can look it up in wikipedia under 4G)

But after reading this extraordinary article, I don´t trust for sure that they are offering the real 4G. I didn´t even know if my Galaxy S2 was 4G, but after looking up the specs on your webpage I was able to see that it handles HSPA+(4G), but the weird thing is that if you go to GSMarena.com & click on the Samsung Devices you will be able to see that there is a Galaxy S2 4G, this makes me really confused because this is not the model I bought.

So the bottom line here is: My Galaxy S2 is really 4G as mentioned by this website, or I will need to get the other Galaxy S2 4G that is on the GSMarena website?

Also regarding the 3.5G, thanks for clearing our toughts that HSPA is still considered 3G (some like to call it 3.5G)

I also read that there is a Galaxy S2 LTE which I don´t care to buy because I will purchase the Galaxy Tab 7.7 that handles LTE but it have not been offered here in Panama yet. I was told that Claro is doing testings on LTE.

Interesting article dude. I just hope my Galaxy S2 can manage HSPA+

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 12:16

32. Garth (unregistered)

remixfa is uninformed. LTE-Advanced which was being trialed by NTT Docomo in Japan before the quake is 300MB Upload and 1GB download. Verizon just announced that after full deployment of LTE across the US, they will be deploying LTE Advanced in certain cities.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 12:36 1

37. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

He works for T-Mo so I don't know if he's drinking the cool aid and really believes it or if he's purposely lying like he's been known to do. It's hard to tell with him how much is stupidity and how much is willful ignorance.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:02

46. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


coming from the guy that is 99% wrong and gets thumbed down and corrected more than anyone on the board save miz!!! hahaha.. what a joke.

can you name me 3 examples where i was purposefully lying.. like im KNOWN to do? lolol

what a frikkin iDiot

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:01

45. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

excuse me GARTH unregistered,

what does LTE advance TRIALS in japan have to do with VZW not having LTE advance, which is what Taco keeps thinking they do? Nothing I have said has been ill informed. Maybe we should learn to read? Its amazing that your comments MIRROR mine but yet im some how ill informed. uh huh.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 12:24

34. cupcake (Posts: 106; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)

Hence, Verizon wasn't the FIRST to have '4G' ... because they didn't lie... ahem, 'mislead'.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 11:54

93. hepresearch (unregistered)

ummm... Sprint had WiMAX before Verizon had LTE... last I checked, WiMAX is on par with LTE, so perhaps, just maybe, Sprint had "4G" first? (If we count LTE and WiMAX as "4G" despite the fact that neither lived up to the initial IMT 4G standard...)

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 18:52

102. cupcake (Posts: 106; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)

Yes that IS why I said Verizon was NOT the first to have '4G'. Verizon had plans for it for a long time. But they have a policy to 'under-promise, over-deliver'. So instead of being the 'first' to have 4G they instead set out to have the best 4G network, which they do. theend.

P.S. WiMAX is definitely not on par with LTE.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 19:06

103. hepresearch (unregistered)

I apologize for the misread... somehow I thought you said the opposite, but that is because I am at that age where we start having moments of utter stupidity... well, more like days at a time... seeings I'm at the ripe old age of... 30? Yeah, so I blew it on reading the comment, and I apologize.

Nonetheless, why would WiMAX, as a technology, be definitely not on par with LTE? I can see how Sprint's implementation on 2500 MHz spectrum with insufficient back-haul capacity could hobble their WiMAX terribly, but the air interface is very very similar... well, practically identical... they are both OFDMA-base with digital encryption, though LTE has inherited the poorer encryption standards from the 3GPP whereas WiMAX has AES (which was essentially at the top of the wireless encryption chain when these two first debuted).

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 12:54

39. corporateJP (Posts: 2431; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


AT&T lies.

What's new?

Well...you can add T-Mobile to the list now too.

Somehow I find it funny that T-Mob and Evil Orange are trying to hop into bed together these days.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:05

47. MomNMotion (unregistered)

Yeah, why critique on the second fastest "4G" network (T-Mobile) with no mention of Sprint's horrible data speeds. If the focus of the article is performance then the article should have focused on ATT and Sprint, not GSM carriers.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:42

49. gallitoking (Posts: 4718; Member since: 17 May 2011)

glad Apple was not involve in this misleading people on 4G fraud... Apple will bring 4g when there is truly stable 4g across America... not suprise but Android rushing just to say there were first... I am in a good mood so here are galito words of wisdom...

" is not how fast it takes you to get there, but how long you can stay there"...

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:52

50. darth8ball (Posts: 520; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)

Tell that to what 300 Million NASCAR fans in the world

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 14:14

54. gallitoking (Posts: 4718; Member since: 17 May 2011)

of those 300 millions how many are in the United States?... at least try Football man.. please NASCAR??...

updated... Nascar reportedly has over 75 million fans..

where u get 300 again... www.nascar.com

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 15:17

64. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Gallitoking, com'on man. There aren't very many articles where there is no war between Android and Apple fans here. Let us have this article. The iPhone gets plenty of article, so we'll have plenty of opportunities to be at each others throats about which is better in the very near future. But let's stay on topic here.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 16:09

77. gallitoking (Posts: 4718; Member since: 17 May 2011)

ok I respect you .. so I will not troll.. not on Android articles... promise... and because you ask me nicely....

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 17:03

79. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

You're the man, dude.

posted on 19 Sep 2011, 10:14

110. darth8ball (Posts: 520; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)

I don't watch NASCAR(bunch of hillbillies going around the world to the left....PLEASE) but How would you have used an NFL example for going fast.....Thank you....You don't wanna sound like some of the other uneducated kids posting on PA.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 13:59

52. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

android.. WP7.. blackberry... feature phones probably shortly...

yup, the ENTIRE industry is rushing it.. exept for apple.. because they are smart and stuff.


posted on 17 Sep 2011, 11:52

92. hepresearch (unregistered)

... sort of like how T-Mobile USA didn't rush to implement 3G early on? Everybody at T-Mobile USA back then said THAT was smart...

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 10:58

105. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

ok, whats your point? Tmo went from 2g to 4g in 2 years. from the slowest to the fastest with the widest coverage.

1 is not the other. The national map has already been populated with 4g, most people get it already. Apple is skipping on LTE because it doesnt want to compromise design for anything, not because its "waiting" for a tech to be cheaper like Tmo did.

posted on 19 Sep 2011, 07:12

108. hepresearch (unregistered)

"Tmo went from 2g to 4g in 2 years."

For what purpose? They intentionally waited to roll out "3G" until a good three years after the competition had rolled out theirs.

"from the slowest to the fastest with the widest coverage."

Doubtful. Widest coverage? Highly unlikely. Fastest coverage? Debatable... definitely depends on where you are, time of day, and your device.

"The national map has already been populated with 4g, most people get it already."

Mostly in urban regions. Since about 2/3 of Americans live in urban sprawl, then yes the majority of people are covered, but the majority of land area is far from being covered. Being a rural customer means that I just got AT&T "3G" two years ago, Sprint and Verizon "3G" last year, and T-Mobile "3G" never arrived. 4G? Well, the closest "4G" service to my location is in the nearest large town, about 20 miles north of here... and it happens to be Sprint's WiMAX.

"Apple is skipping on LTE because it doesnt want to compromise design for anything, not because its 'waiting' for a tech to be cheaper like Tmo did."

Is that so? How do you know either of those statements to be true? How would an LTE antenna completely "compromise" their design? Who is to say that T-Mobile waited for "3G" UMTS to become cheaper? As far as I saw, T-Mobile could have been waiting for UMTS to mature before they implemented it, and perhaps Apple is also waiting for LTE to mature before implementing it. Remember also that RIM was a latecomer to UMTS "3G". If you are going to chide Apple for being a latecomer, then you must acknowledge that T-Mobile and RIM, and even Nokia, have similarly been "latecomers" in their own right, and possibly for the same or similar reasons.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 15:08

60. mime (unregistered)

I find it to be funny when wirefly did a speed test the sprint Samsung epic 4g touch and the Motorola Droid bionic 4g. Sprints wimax got 8.3 mbps when Verizon lte got 4.1 mbps just found it to be funny

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 11:47

91. hepresearch (unregistered)

My cable modem handily beats them both... if I need to download or stream something, I can do it on my home computer. I cannot think of anything that I would normally do on my home computer that needs to be done on my phone, other than calendaring, getting email, and editing documents occasionally.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 12:54

96. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)

Thats where the age comes into play @hepresearch; when I'm out drinking with my friends we have are phones out constently. We're always watching videos, listing to music, playing online games, and finding factual information on google to prove our points when having heated debates, etc. All these things we do require internet and having a fast connection only makes it better.

I highly doubt that when your hanging out with your friends or family you ever even touch your phone unless to answere a call or possibly send a text message.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 13:52

98. hepresearch (unregistered)

I used to have debates with friends requiring internet on the phone, sharing music and videos and such... I used to run my business from my phone, with all of my records and forms and receipts and credit accounts and such... I used to transmit my PowerPoint presentations to the screen projector at AAPT membership meetings from my phone via Bluetooth or IrDA... I used to type the minutes from the library directors' council on my old Nokia 9300 instead of bringing in a laptop computer to the meetings... I used to text 2,000 messages and use 3GB or more of data in a month (back then it was unlimited data AND tethering on T-Mobile USA for $19.99/month, and later it was unlimited data on AT&T for $30/month but no tethering)... with the exception of online games, I have pretty much done plenty of all that in the past. I guess my attitude just comes from being the sick old has-been that I have become, but to this day I still wonder if I really "needed" all that back then, or if I just did those things, well, because I simply could.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 14:33

100. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)

I stand corrected haha.

Then I guess you can see why people like having fast data speeds on their phones; all though not necessarie its is very convinient and desireable

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 16:29

101. hepresearch (unregistered)

Sure, I can see the reasons for desiring to have the fastest, latest, greatest, etc... whether it is "keeping up with the Jones'", or wowing the friends at the bar with the latest smartphone data-crunching parlor tricks, or actually streaming entire online movies to your 4.5" Super-AMOLED phone display, or playing an intense online shooter game, or sending an entire gigabyte of last-minute database files in an email attachment from the airport terminal, I can see some reasons for having such data capabilities; generally, these are either the entertainment moments, bragging-rights moments, or the unexpected late-breaking business-update (oh-s***) moments. I could care less for bragging rights... I do not generally play online games from my phone, and EDGE, 1xRTT, and UMTS are usually fast enough to get me onto Google for a quick fact check during a debate away from the office (or in the current case, home). Proper planning often helps one to avoid the unexpected business rush when on the go. Either I do not need these things that badly, or I plan sufficiently to avoid needing them altogether.

Desirable? Sure. Convenient? Definitely. Necessary? Absolutely not in many cases (could they become necessary... yes, for sure, but I would like to think that I will not be that dependent on technology of this kind).

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 15:09

61. Tmachaveli (Posts: 425; Member since: 01 Apr 2011)

Thanks gallito for your wise words of wisdom ...not. This was not a iphone vs android thing but once again you had to take it there.And you wonder why we don't like sheep like you.u talk to dam much about

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 15:13

63. Tmachaveli (Posts: 425; Member since: 01 Apr 2011)

Bs at least taco is getting better you and miz are the top 2 sheeps now..congratulations you earned it

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 15:20

65. milanyc (unregistered)

Actually AT&T's Infuse 4G is the only category 14 device capable of reaching up to 21mbps IF and only IF the network has 64QAM enabled.
AT&T for reasons only known to them still operates using 16QAM modulation which effectively rate limits your Infuse to 14.4mbps. Extremely sad.
Here is the video to confirm this:http://www.youtube.com/user/milanjazznyc#p/a/u/1/73zZtMF95SU

Results to speeds:http://www.youtube.com/user/milanjazznyc#p/a/u/0/YYkeSJH5uSM

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 15:51

72. Atrix 4g (unregistered)

Ok guys Att might not bring BLAZING FAST SPEEDS LIKE LTE with there HSPA+ but it is certainly faster than 3g. Plus does devices that go up to only 14.4mbps (Atrix, Inspire etc) will be upgraded to higher speeds before the end of the year, so, i've heard. Out of the 4g networks sprint has pretty good speeds, but there WiMax is so weak, when it comes in doors.

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 16:07

75. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

why would ATT invest in upgrading their HSPA+ if they are rolling out LTE?

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 16:43

78. JREED2560 (unregistered)

I love the arguement that tmobile is only slightly faster, and your basis is data cards. Thats not what this article is about and you even gave proof to what this article is saying by admitting that tmo does't have a phone that takes advantage of its 4g. understand this. 4g isn't the buzzword it is today to sell aircards. its to sell smartphones. and Right now Verizon is the only one delivering 10 to 20 mbps on a PHONE!

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 21:17

84. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

what are you talking about Jreed unregistered?

Tmobile has 21mb/s phones that take advantage of its 4G SPEEDS. Since the network has been upgraded, there hasnt been a phone that can take advantage of the 42mb/s speeds, only data cards.


Tmo's data cards and phones get the same speeds as far as I've seen, so its a pretty valid conclusion that what the 42mb/s data cards get, the 42mb/s phones will also get. Some carriers (cough cough vzw and att) background throttle their phones at peak times while allowing the data cards to run at full force, since most data card customers are business clients. Phones also dont need full force as page loading is more limited by hardware than by network speeds after a certain amount. Thats why you may see the LTE Bionic running at 7-15 during peak, and at the same time and place, an LTE vzw card running in the 30s. Its true, and it happens.

And ive shown pictures of my 4g 21mb/s Tmo tablet running 15's consistantly in the speedtest app history. What is your point!?

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 17:52

81. Alantef (Posts: 288; Member since: 14 Sep 2011)

quit dissing T mobile when both sprint and at&t are both strait pure garbage....all ive seen is 100Mbps when not one phone is even close to pushing that i work for Verizon and have t mobile and i compare all the time and t mobile is clearly second but its a BIGGGG gap from second to whoever anyone wants to put in third

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 18:27 3

82. hepresearch (unregistered)

LOL! This is hilarious... I have never seen so much crap spewed out of so many mouths (or, keyboards) at the same time in one place before... errr... well, maybe I have, but my point is that this is still very entertaining. Most entertaining of all, though, is this particular strain of argument;

"My "4G" phone gets 100Mbps on my "4G" network, and yours doesn't!"

"NO! MY "4G" phone gets 100Mbps on MY "4G" network, and YOURS doesn't!!!"

I'll look into possibly getting a "4G" phone in, oh, a few years I suppose... once all the childish bickering and bugs and kinks are closer to being worked out, and once the coverage and needed back-haul capacity is actually more established. Until then, it doesn't make a lot of sense to care too much.

Those of you who have claimed in your comments to have seen 100Mbps on ANY network are the most entertaining; it is simply quite impossible at this time. And as for which carrier is better than all the others, well, that totally depends on where you live, the time of day, and what phone you are using. Beyond that, I'll let you all figure out the rest... I am busy having a good belly-laugh!

posted on 16 Sep 2011, 21:19 2

85. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

anyone that claims any network is capable of 100mb/s in this moment is uneducated. Unfortunately, there are a few of them in this thread, your right.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 06:49

89. joana21 (unregistered)

I noticed remixfa must work for t-mobile??? Cuz he defends then ALOT.. well yea I agree its true t-mobiles hspa+ may be faster than atts hspa+ but over here in LA I had att, Verizon, sprint and T-Mobile .. And t-mobile were the crappiest when it came to indors reception. So I canceled both and stood with att and Verizon. My personal phone is an infuse and my work phone is from Verizon. Because me I'm da kind of gurl that cares more about reception than data. And t-mobile and sprint both crapped out inside buildings o and don tell me well u cud of used wifi calling on t-mobile.. cuz well yea wen u live in a big city like me in los Angeles all highrise buildings have wifi but its locked so wifi calling is useless. The only places that have free wifi are McDonald's and Starbucks. And the thing I like about att even tho its data network is not that fast is that u don't need wifi calling cuz there signal penetrates buildings just as good as Verizon so no need to use wifi calling ..

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 11:42 1

90. hepresearch (unregistered)

Naturally... T-Mobile and Sprint use 1900 MHz spectrum in most of their markets, which, although it curves around buildings better and hence gives better outdoor coverage in metro areas for less power consumption and infrastructure (and hence lower cost), does not penetrate buildings nearly as well as 850 MHz spectrum. But, then again, if you are in a metal-roofed warehouse with steel-reinforced concrete walls, they all suck just as bad. T-Mobile does operate 850 MHz towers in the former SunCom regions that they acquired, and Sprint is working to expand their new ESMR/CDMA (800 MHz) iDEN system replacement, so there is the strong possibility of an improved coverage for indoor structures on both T-Mobile and Sprint in the near future.

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 12:58

97. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)

This is good knowledge. I take it you've worked or work in the communications industry...or you just know your stuff lol. Either way props :P

posted on 17 Sep 2011, 14:05

99. hepresearch (unregistered)

Well, in a sense, I've done a little of everything I guess... studied physics in college, worked for my college's research department, then I did work for Sprint-Nextel just after their big "merger" for a little while, and then after a hiatus as a library director and volunteer outreach coordinator, I worked for T-Mobile for a little while too, and then ran my own business for a couple of years as an independent mobile phone consultant (mostly B2B, residential, and some 3rd-party employee training services). Even though my business went south last year, and I have been unable to further my education as yet, I still try my best to keep up with the latest developments in all of my favorite fields as much as possible with my condition being what it is.

Thanks for the props... don't know if I have really earned "props", but I appreciate it either way.

Best of luck to you, bolaG, and thanks for the kind remark today :-)

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 06:45

104. PeterIfromsweden (Posts: 1230; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)

I see, the 4G phones in america is not really 4G. I always thought that America where one of the first with 4G, but it turns out it is really 3G they have in the US. Here in sweden i can get unlimited data with 10 mbps speed, and they call it 3G or 3.5G or 3G+.
there is in fact quite alot 4G coverage here in sweden, but since there are no real 4G phones here yet, that is used for mobile broadband. the theoretical speed of 4G in sweden is around 80 mbps, and the real speed is around 30-40 mbps.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 11:02

106. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

peter, there is also a huge difference in network area. sweeden is all of the size of vermont... maybe vermont + new hampshire. The amount of overhead to run a network in sweeden vs the USA is pennies compared to ours. If your networks werent faster and cheaper, I would be worried.

posted on 25 Sep 2011, 16:37

111. KenSanDiego (unregistered)

Same logic applies to calling 720p 'HD' - it is better than 480 and not as good as real 1080p HD, but they call it HD anyway.

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