How Fast Is T-Mobile's "4G" Data Network?

T-Mobile rushed out of the gates with news this week about its high-speed 4G mobile data network. Not so fast, said competitors and telecom experts, who were quick to point out that the network is more like “3.5G” and isn’t nearly as fast as other 4G networks.

According to T-Mobile, the company now boasts “America’s largest 4G network,” and it’s fast:

With typical download speeds that are on par with or faster than competing 4G technologies, and service availability in 75 metropolitan markets throughout the United States, the T-Mobile network now offers a super-fast, next generation mobile broadband experience to more people than any other wireless network in the country.

Mike Gikas, phone expert at Consumer Reports, puts the brakes on that claim:

True 4G networks promise download speeds approaching and exceeding 5 megabits per second (mbps) under optimal conditions. Indeed, last June, while testing the HTC Evo 4G on Sprint’s 4G WiMax network, I measured download speeds up to 3.5 mbps. However, during my informal tests of the [T-Mobile] G2 at the local HSPA+ zone, the maximum speed I was able to measure was about 1 mbps. That’s fast, but it isn’t quite 4G speed.

Consumer Reports says it’s going to be looking closely at the high-speed networks of all cell carriers. That’s something that can’t happen fast enough.

T-Mobile 4G Service Now Available in More Markets and on New Devices [Press Release]
T-Mobile adds six U.S. cities to ‘America’s largest 4G network’ [Consumer Reports]