Rep. Eshoo has bill in the works that would require companies to define their 4G network.
If Democratic Rep. of California Anna Eshoo has her way AT&T and T-Mobile will be in the hot seat for their rebranding of their 3G network. As of now AT&T and T-Mobile have for the most part just rebranded their 3G networks and started calling them 4G. Representative Eshoo has proposed a bill requiring carriers to define what they mean by 4G and to even go as far as provide side-by-side comparisons to other carriers’ 4G networks.
Read more here.
Read more 4G LTE blog post here.
Comparing 4G Networks
Several companies advertise 4G networks or 4G speeds including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. If you compare the technology, the network performance and the coverage areas, Verizon Wireless dominates the field and will dominate for years to come. Why? For two main reason: they were an early adopter to the technology that is become the standard of transition into 4G: LTE (Long Term Evolution). Secondly, they have been aggressively preparing for this switch for several years, so they are ahead of their competition on the basis of network area launch time and network performance.
AT&T and T-Mobile focused primarily on improving network speeds by investing heavily in HSPA+ technology. But now AT&T is quickly trying to catch up by investing in LTE. HSPA+ is simply not a long term solution since it relies on old standards. As a stopgap measure between 3G and 4G, HSPA+ provides faster download and upload speeds in areas of availability.
So the main advantage of HSPA+ is faster speeds in the interim while these networks catch up with the newest technologies. Unfortunately, PC World has reported that some users of the new HSPA+ technology are reporting slower speeds than 3G. Slashgear’s Shane McGlaun expressed disappointment that AT&T was promoting HSPA+ as 4G and said that the speeds weren’t terribly impressing. In spite of repeated claims for 6Mbps downloading speeds, PC World reports that most users appear to be averaging speeds closer to 2.5Mbps.
Even in places and on products where HSPA+ is delivering higher speeds, this technology is still not true 4G and will be superseded by LTE. In fact, the AT&T Mobility CEO admitted that AT&T is at least two years behind Verizon Wireless at the recent “All Things Done” conference. This explains part of the drive for AT&T to merge with T Mobile, but even with a merger, both networks will still be behind on LTE coverage.
Sprint was the first company to advertise 4G speeds with their WiMax technology. While Sprint’s WiMax is a 4G technology, it’s performance speeds are still well below LTE. As a result, Sprint is now focusing on developing LTE coverage as well.
For those wanting true 4G LTE coverage, Verizon Wireless is the only real option and will be for several years to come. How did Verizon corner the market?
With the impending end of all analog signal transmission in the United States (June 2009), the FCC offered operation rights for the 700 MHz frequency formally used primarily by UHF channels. The United States 2008 Spectrum Auction (known officially as Auction 73) starting auctioning rights in January 2008.
Verizon Wireless was the big winner. As it turns, Verizon had big plans for the 700 MHz rights. They were looking ahead to the implementation of 4G and LTE technology across the United States. They started an aggressive rollout schedule for the 4G LTE Network.
On December 5, 2010, Verizon Wireless launched its 4G LTE network in 39 major metropolitan cities, covering more than 110 million Americans. By the end of 2011, Verizon plans to offer their 4G LTE network in more than 175 markets. Every month, more and more Americans are enjoying the blazing speed of this true 4G LTE network by Verizon.
PC Mag, PC World, ZDNet and a critics all across the mobile communications industry agree that the new 4G LTE network from Verizon is the fastest network available.  On the day Verizon launched the 4G LTE Network in December 2, 2010, Gizmodo tracked test results from across the nation. Speeds included:
MSNBC – 32Mbps download and 11.99Mbps upload
Engadget – 7.14Mbps download and 1.12Mbps upload
Slashgear – 12.44Mbps download and 6.73Mbps upload
GigaOm – 11.7Mbps download and 5.6Mbps upload
Network World – 7.5Mbps download and 6.5Mbps upload
Gizmodo – 9.5Mbps download and 2.9Mbps upload
From the technology to network coverage to performance to available 4G products, Verizon Wireless gives customers the ability to enjoy the full advantages of 4G now and in the years to come.
- Doug Flyod
Verizon CEO, Daniel Mead, isn’t interested in a buyout of Sprint nor is he worried about the AT&T / T-Mobile merger.
Sprint only took a few hours to put forward their concerns about a AT&T / T-Mobile merger. However, Verizon Wireless isn’t even worried. Its CEO, Daniel Mead, said anything can go through with enough concessions and then also mentioned that, “We’re not interested in Sprint. We don’t need them.” Mead is more interested in profitability than being the largest wireless company.
See the rest of the story from Engadget here.
Looks like the providers are lining up behind the “Isis project” to get the job done. Here’s a story in the LA Times:
There’s some noise going on today about some other national wireless provider’s HSPA+ network. I think the company name starts with a “T.”
I’d like to point out to those who have already forgotten the Verizon “there’s a map for that” advertising campaign, that Verizon invests a higher percentage of its revenue in its network than any other wireless provider. And coverage for the entire country is a priority at Verizon. Remember the maps. 4G is only 4G if there’s a 4G network where you are, and Verizon is aggressively covering that map. For those who never travel outside of their metro home, coverage may not be an issue with another carrier. But you should be sure to check on coverage before you make a move for 4G, if connectivity away from your home is important to you.
There are going to be a lot of claims about 4G products in the next few years. Be sure to look past the hype and know what you’re getting when you choose a wireless provider. It’s likely you’ll choose Verizon if you look very long.
It will be a few months before 4G smartphones are available at Verizon because Verizon is making sure to create a strong network before launching 4G devices. It’s the smart move, and we’ll see the fruits of this move in the coming years.
-Jay Witherspoon, Director of Advertising, Cellular Sales
Sprint is now talking about moving to LTE, the same technology Verizon and AT&T are using for their next generation of networks. They don’t plan to abandon WiMax, but they’re definitely making eyes at someone other than their original date to the dance. They’ve been advertising their 4G network for months, and now they’re talking about changing their plans. Sprint is also talking about merging with T-Mobile. Here’s an article on the topic that is worth the click just to see the picture they ran to complement the story.
And a small pssst!: this summer equipment advertising was just leaked to BoyGeniusReport by someone at Verizon. Take all leaks with a grain or two of salt. They are not always what they seem.
-Jay Witherspoon, Director of Advertising, Cellular Sales
This data was compiled by the Geezeo Main Street Spending Index (MSSI).
Consumers are looking to cut costs wherever they can. Looking at MSSI statistics of five major wireless carriers reveals that the cell phone industry is no different. Spending levels at Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), AT&T (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile (NYSE: DT) have all seen changes since October of last year.
This month’s MSSI data shows that monthly average spending at Verizon and Sprint increased by 3% and 1% respectively, whereas T-Mobile and AT&T observed declines of slightly more than 1% each. But how are these firms fairing in a longer time frame?
In October the results for these four firms are more noteworthy. Both Verizon and AT&T have seen relatively stable revenues, with the average Geezeo customer spending 4% more and AT&T customer 1% over this period.
The numbers are not as encouraging at competitors Sprint and T-Mobile. The two firms have both seen average spending by Geezeo users fall overall since October. T-Mobile’s customers spending dropped by 9.36% and Sprint’s customers by an even larger 13.36%.
Since all these firms operate on contractually set rates, such declines indicate that Sprint and T-Mobile are seeing less new or continued contract agreements than their larger competitors, which can lead to lower revenues from both subscription fees and other earnings from extra features. It important to note, however, that all four of these firms have seen positive spending figures from this time last year, in both overall and year on year statistics.
This being the case, Verizon and AT&T seem to be large enough to handle this economic environment better than Sprint and T-Mobile.