Who has the Fastest U.S. 3G Right Now? T-Mobile


T-Mobile may have been late to the nationwide wireless broadband game, but it didn’t forget the story about the tortoise and the hare. In fact, it rewrote the story — it started as a slow turtle, but right now, it’s the fastest 3G rabbit we have. The carrier today announced that its entire 3G footprint is now lit up for the faster 7.2 Mbps HSPA service. Devices that don’t support the faster speeds will back down to the standard 3.6 Mbps service, but a fair amount of recent phones and broadband modems can take advantage of the faster network. Even the 15-month-old T-Mobile G1 is able to use the faster wireless pipe. While it’s true that T-Mobile offers a smaller geographical coverage area than competitors, it has the fastest wireless 3G network for now. And even with a smaller coverage area, the company says that over 200 million Americans are within its 3G data network.

Looking ahead, T-Mobile is poised to zip ahead even further in this wireless race. Next up for this year is a move to 21 Mbps HSPA+, which is considered to be 3.5G, and of course, backwards-compatible to 3G and EDGE as needed. By the first half of this year, T-Mobile expects to upgrade its data network to these even faster throughputs. I was lucky to get a preview of the future HSPA+ speeds with some hands-on network testing last month — it was liberating to experience wireless downloads that were faster than my DSL from early 2009.

With faster speeds and more T-Mobile coverage in my area — which I only recently found out about — this just might push me over the edge for a Google Nexus One (s goog) later today.



Sprint is testing a “4g” wimax network in one city. They haven’t built wimax anywhere else. That is why they say “the nations only 4g network”, because that beta site is it for 4g.
3.5g t-mobile is the fastest comprehensive network, with At&t 2nd. If you are in sub-suburban or rural areas and need data it’s true you might want to look to Verizon for now.

Kevin C. Tofel

“Sprint is testing a “4g” wimax network in one city. They haven’t built wimax anywhere else.”

That’s actually a *very* inaccurate statement. Sprint and Clearwire partnered to launch commercially in Baltimore back in October of 2008 (I was there and covered the event on this site). Since then quite a few other areas have been opened up – Las Vegas, Atlanta and more to name a few.

WiMAX coverage in the U.S. certainly isn’t as extensive as what the traditional cellular carriers are offering, but let’s not spread bad info about 4G coverage and availability. ;)


TMobile will have the IPhone in June. That is when Apple and ATT contract is up.


To me T-Mobile is the best but how come Sprint says they have 4G ? That must mean its faster then T-Mobile, or is it ?


Sprint has a big stake in the CLEAR WiMAX network. (Originally, it was Xohm, but they merged with Clearwire to form CLEAR.)

But from what one person said, WiMAX is more like 3.9G, not 4G. I don’t know why that would be the case if everyone’s calling it 4G, though.

Frank McPherson

What download & upload speeds should I be seeing that indicates the faster network speed? So far I am only seeing sub 1 Mbps speeds on the myTouch 3G.

Allan Jones

Where mobile broadband is concerned it’s funny how the discussion usually concentrates on speed.

I use mobile broadband away from home from time to tine here in the UK. I have dongles from the four operators that offer a PAYG service. Invariably the most useful operator for me is not the fastest but the one that has the widest coverage. Often I’m staying outside urban areas, and it’s not unusual for several operators to offer only GPRS, which is all but unusable. The operator that, in my experience, is most likely to offer a 3G connection in a non urban area is also the one that, in a city, provides a relatively low service. But the slowness doesn’t matter to me, as long as it’s better than GPRS. It’s the coverage that matters.


Who, in your experience, is the best? I’m with 3UK and am very happy with their coverage but don’t travel that widely.

3 are in the middle of upgrading their network to 7.2 Mbps but that won’t be finished until next year so I’m quite jealous of T-Mob US customers today :)

Allan Jones

Hello Jake

It’s Three for me. Earlier this year I was staying about 4 miles outside Newquay. Only Three gave a 3G signal. More recently I was staying in the Cotswolds. Again only Three had a 3G signal. Where I live, only Three gives a 3G signal, although I have no reason to use mobile broadband here.

Have I mentioned the Zoom 4506? Don’t bother with Mi-Fi. The Zoom is the device to use.


A simple T-mobile account with data unlimited text, and 500 minutes a month only cost me 59 a month, compared to Verizon or AT&T. And when they say unlimited, they mean it. I called just to see if there was a cap, NO CAP.

Kevin C. Tofel

I called a T-Mobile store here in Vegas and confirmed: a contract-free SIM with 500 minutes voice, unlimited texting and unlimited web is indeed $59 a month. Thanks for the heads up! :)


I looked on the google/phone site and that same plan is $79.99. Is it $20.00 cheaper just by going through tmobile.com?


you dont have too justify your purchase of an N1 Kevin. i guarantee you no one really cares, most people have their own serious/important situations to deal with.

Kevin C. Tofel

Sure I do. You yourself said I’d flip-flop on this purchase — of course, you said that under a different name, as you always do. I figure that eventually, you’ll run out of names to take sniping pot-shots, no? ;)

Besides, I don’t report my activities because I think people care. I report them because it’s part of who I am and what I do. And I’m not cowardly by hiding behind fake names and cheap comments. I put myself out there each and every day. Hopefully, my efforts help others decide what mobile tech is or isn’t best for them. That’s what it’s all about. :)

Jason Barone

It was a very good article Kevin and I thought it was interesting that you may change to tmobile. What carrier/device are you using now?

I’m on V, but I’ve read multiple comments where people are saying Tmobile is a really good carrier…

Kevin C. Tofel

Thanks Jason. I currently have two devices: an iPhone 3GS on AT&T and a Palm Pre on Sprint. For several reasons that I’ve written about in the past, the Pre isn’t where I expected it to be in terms of maturity at this point. Android is much father along — not to say that it’s better in every way, because it’s not — so the Nexus One has my eye.

A phone is only as good as the voice and data services are with the carrier, so I’d check coverage where you work and live before committing to particular device. For example, in areas where T-Mobile has excellent coverage, you’ll likely find happy customers. But if you’re not in one of those areas, that “good carrier” isn’t a good one for you. ;)

Jason Barone

Oh cool, I have the Droid right now. I really like it, I’m just surprised to hear all the great comments about T-Mobile after hearing about the Nexus One/T-Mobile stuff. With phones as fast as the Nexus One coming out, slow or sketchy data connections are going to be painful.

When I’m on Wifi on the Droid it’s ok, but on 3G I’m getting impatient waiting for things to load.


Good response, appreciate your comments and info.

FYI, in last three days using voice I’ve had four “network busy” on my TMobile. Usually get on right away so not a big impact, but just reporting as its happened more in last two months than ever before. I’ve been very happy with TMobile for years.

MoneySite Marketing

I’m not a tech. person I’m a consumer.
I like all this information and I thank you all.
When I was looking for service (cell phone and wireless broadband modem) I was looking for a chance.
Today, I have a $399 cell phone and wireless broadband modem all in one service plan for only $89.95 month with Unlimited Data Transfer, Anytime call, email, texting, and internet 24/7. And because my potential 3 consumers referral I will pay zero (0) next month and the month after that.

Elliot can be reached at: 623-925-5634 or JoinUs@consultant.com


AT&T are the best at twisting words. They say it’s the fastest 3g network because “technically” HSPA+ is 3.5g. It’s ridiculous how good AT&T has become at deceiving people; they’re even better than Verizon!


From my new BB9700 on Tmobile I notice in Los Angeles that my t-mobile very slow compared to AT&T when I had my HTC tilt. I do have to say from experience AT&T is the fastest. Hopefully t-mobile does get faster.

Comments are closed.