T-Mobile Gets Tough With Competitors Over 4G

T-Mobile's newest ad campaign is putting Verizon and AT&T on notice that they aren't the only soldiers fighting in the smartphone wars. The campaign proclaims T-Mobile as the largest 4G network in the nation - even though one industry group wouldn't consider it a 4G network at all.

T-Mobile, best known for its ads featuring Hollywood bombshell Catherine Zeta-Jones, is taking the offensive against its rivals with the campaign. Rekindling the approach used by Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign to attack Windows PCs, one T-Mobile commercial opens with a spritely lady who calls herself T-Mobile myTouch 4G. She's used as a counterpoint to two men, one carrying the other piggyback. They identify themselves as the iPhone 4, the carrier, and the AT&T network, who is being carried. The ad makes the point that T-Mobile's 4G network is fast enough to support video conferencing, while the iPhone only supports video conferencing over a WiFi connection.

The ad will be aired on major TV networks and cable TV stations, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and TNT, and appearing on websites, including AOL, MSN, Amazon.com and T-Mobile's YouTube channel.

T-Mobile's "4G" network is based on a technology called HSPA+. For years, it has been considered more of a 3.5G technology than real 4G. Indeed, it wouldn't meet the 4G standards recently laid out by the International Telecommunications Union. But, then again, the 4G networks of other U.S. carriers don't meet those standards either.

Industry arguments about what's really 4G is just "inside baseball" talk to consumers, T-Mobile argues. Its solution is to call all the competing technologies -- WiMax, LTE and HSPA+ -- 4G. "4G is about performance and today T-Mobile's HSPA+ network is delivering 4G speeds that match and often beat WiMAX and are readily comparable to what early LTE will deliver," maintained T-Mobile's USA chief technology officer, Neville Ray, in a statement.

"Our 4G network is capable of theoretical speeds up to 21Mbps and we have seen average download speeds approaching five Mbps on our myTouch 4G phone in some cities with peak speeds of nearly 12 Mbps," he continued.

"The footprint of our 4G service is not something that competitors are going to match anytime soon," he added.

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