T-Mobile released a statement claiming the carrier is “working closely” with partners to deliver tablets integrated into T-Mobile’s 4G, HSPA+ network.
The statement read in full:
T-Mobile is working closely with the majority of our OEM partners to deliver 4G products by integrating HSPA+ into roadmaps in 2011 as the dominant global standard. Consumers will continue to see HSPA+ fuel future innovation in a variety of mobile consumer electronics from smartphones and tablets to emerging devices. T-Mobile will continue to be at the forefront of wireless innovation, delivering an aggressive 4G product lineup in 2011, including 4G tablets.
T-Mobile’s claims closely follow rival carrier Sprint’s comments in Forbes that the Now Network will also release 4G tablets on its WiMAX network.
Currently, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is the only tablet running on either network.
Critics of T-Mobile’s 4G service have pointed out that the company’s HSPA+ technology is technically not a 4G network. According to Ed Hardy’s Brighthand Bytes blog, they are correct. By the International Telecommunication Union standard, a 4G network must enable a mobile device to exchange data at 100 megabytes per second (mbps).
T-Mobile claims in press materials that its HSPA+ network download speeds are theoretically capable of reaching 21mbps, currently peak at 12mbps, and have an average “approaching 5mpbs.” While it’s not even close to meeting ITU’s 4G standard, the same can be said for Sprint’s WiMAX network (download speeds average 3-6 Mbps, according to Sprint) as well as Verizon’s LTE network (download speeds average 5-12 Mbps, according to Verizon).
Hardy claims T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network has compared favorably with Sprint’s WiMAX networks. “In real world tests by a variety of third parties, T-Mobile’s HSPA+ service has performed close to Sprint’s WiMAX service in downloads – sometimes doing a bit better, sometimes a bit worse,” he writes. “When it comes to uploading data, the HSPA+ network is generally faster, sometimes twice as fast,” he later added.