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Mocks Apple's famous Mac vs. PC ads while claiming 'America's largest 4G network'

Today is a new day for the American people. There's a new wireless 4G contender in town, whether you believe it or not. Yesterday, T-Mobile began running television ads that lambaste the iPhone 4 on AT&T's network and while boasting about its own MyTouch 4G on "America's largest 4G network."

The 30-second spot mocks the famous Apple ads featuring Justin Long ("Hi, I'm a Mac.") and John Hodgeman ("Hi, I'm a PC.") standing in white space, arguing about what they can and can't do. In the T-Mobile spot, a fair-skinned woman, much younger than Catherine Zeta-Jones, wearing a magenta- and white-striped dress introduces herself as a MyTouch 4G and boasts about her ability to video-chat anywhere with T-Mobile's 4G network. Next to her is a a blonde man in a suit who introduces himself as an iPhone 4, except he's struggling to carry an older bald guy on his back. 

"Who's your friend?" MyTouch asks.

"Oh, that's the old AT&T network," iPhone 4 replies.

"That'll slow you down," MyTouch says.

"That's the price I pay for 3G speed," iPhone 4 replies.

"Bummer," says MyTouch.

AT&T has long been touting "the nation's fastest 3G network" tag in its own ads. Thus, the war of words has commenced.

The ad began running last night during NCIS:LA, Dancing with the Stars, The Daily Show, andThe Colbert Report -- AndroidAndMe reports -- in advance of today's MyTouch 4G launch. The new MyTouch is T-Mobile's first "4G"-branded device.

AT&T has never been a fan of T-Mobile claiming 4G speeds. And there has been much debate about what 4G really is, anyway. According to the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunications (ITU-R), 4G "must have target peak data rates of up to approximately 100 Mbps for high mobility such as mobile access." But only WiMax 2 and LTE-Advanced will be capable of those kinds of speeds, neither of which we can expect to see before 2013. If following that standard, Sprint/Clearwire's burgeoning WiMax network, currently marketed as "4G," truly isn't. The same can be said about both Verizon and AT&T's upcoming LTE networks. The bottom line is that "4G," to the average consumer, is merely a branding mechanism. The "MyTouch HSPA+" just doesn't have the same ring.

Here's howNeville Ray, T-Mobile's chief technology officer, justifies it in a press release

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. 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. Further, independent reviewers have seen average download speeds on our webConnect Rocket between 5 and 8 Mbps with peak speeds up to 8-10Mbps. The footprint of our 4G service is not something that competitors are going to match anytime soon, and starting today, we will begin marketing our network advantage with TV commercials advertising ‘America’s Largest 4G Network’ from T-Mobile.

"Consumers do not understand the technical alphabet soup of technologies involved in 4G, but for our purposes we define WiMAX, LTE and HSPA+ as 4G technologies," added Chris Nicoll, distinguished research fellow, Yankee Group. “HSPA+ is evolving a far more ambitious and long-term road map than was originally envisioned."

With the addition of six new cities (Chicago, Ill.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Louisville, Ky.; and Raleigh-Durham and Wilmington, N.C.), T-Mobile's HSPA+ services are now available in more than 75 metropolitan areas.

In the past, AT&T unsuccessfully tried to sue Verizon for Big Red's television ads that mockingly boasted,"There's a map for that," and pitted the two coverage maps against each other (Verizon visually being the clear winner). It will be interesting to see how the iPhone's carrier -- or is it vice versa? -- responds.




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By diskoman69 on 11/5/2010 12:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
This is not false advertising, unless you consider all 4 American carriers to be engaging in it. According to the official definition the technology used must support approximately 100+Mbps speeds NOW, not in some future new version. Wimax & LTE will be increased to over 100+Mbps in future versions of the technology. What you are neglecting is the fact that HSPA+ will do the same.

Don't fault T-Mobile for being smart (as well as fiscally conscious) enough to realize that if they just bond additional data channels they will be able to increase the bandwidth. HSPA+ will be able to scale in a rapid fashion to 42, 84, and even 168Mbps theoretical, which will match the best that Wimax2 and LTE-A have to offer for at least half a decade. Bonding channels is a simple solution, and one that has been used in many other wireless protocols (EVDO for example, which was marketed as 3G when 1xEVDO was no fast than EDGE which was considered to be "2.5G").

The best part is that adding support for using multiple channels within the phones is simple and could actually be done now. The towers themselves just need additional backhaul capacity and new cards, unlike the 3 other carriers. I actually don't know why AT&T didn't go this route themselves. This could've been done much more easily by them, since they can add more backhaul at their towers at will, and the cost of the cards is MUCH less than adding new switches as well.

At the end of the day, 4G just like 3G before it is just a marketing term (even though it does have an actual standard). If T-Mobile's service is able to provide comparable speeds there is nothing that the other carriers can do to stop them from using the term. Indeed, the actual standard does not define 4G as using a particular technology, just the speed level.


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