During the JUMP press event in Manhattan, NYC, T-Mobile set up an indoor network to illustrate their new LTE network’s speeds. They were so proud of this network’s speeds that they in fact had their own CEO brag about it on twitter. I’ll be the first to admit, the speeds that they got on that network are not bad at all, but they represent a best case scenario. Or do they?
As you can tell, this network test on Speedtest.net is no spoof and the device is in fact operating impeccably at a download speed of 67 Mbps and an upload of 17 Mbps. Furthermore, the ping is fantastic at 38 ms and the carrier is indeed T-Mobile. The problem with this network is that some of the press and people on Twitter did some digging and discovered that T-Mobile was in fact running an AWS A Block 20 MHz slice which gave them a 2 x 10 MHz LTE network in room where the press event occurred. Verizon owns the licenses for A and B blocks of spectrum in NYC and is in the testing stages getting ready to launch their 2 x 20 MHz network in NYC, Blocks A and B.
Now, when it comes to spectrum that T-Mobile owns, their commercially launched LTE network is on the E block in a 2 x 5 MHz configruation and they also have their HSPA+ 42 Mbps network which is on the F block. In addition to that, T-Mobile does own MetroPCS now and is slowly working to integrate them into the company. Even So, Metro PCS only owns the C and D blocks and T-Mobile owns the E and F blocks of spectrum. This would effectively mean that none of T-Mobile’s network should be operating on the A or B block, as appeared to happen.
Why is this a big deal? Well, this is a big deal because T-Mobile is trying to show off their network speeds as being comparable to the big boys, in fact, it looks like they want to say they’re faster. But the reality is that their networks are currently just a tad faster than the competition. During my review of the HTC One, I was able to get a consistent 30 Mbps download speed in San Diego, which is still impressive. I also got download speeds of 16 Mbps and upload speeds of 10 Mbps in Los Angeles, which is also good considering the population of the city and the overall network load. I get similar speeds from Verizon.
Not to mention, if such a thing is really going on, T-Mobile better have some sort of agreement with Verizon to temporarily use this spectrum while it isn’t commercially available to consumers. If T-Mobile did not ask permission or have permission to use this spectrum, there could be legal ramifications.
So, what I’d like T-Mobile to do is to stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes and demo your ‘network’ on somebody else’s spectrum for the sake of trying to say you’re better than the competition. Your no-contract and JUMP programs are already great customer successes and instead of trying to talk about how you’re faster just keep improving the network experience because that will ultimately keep your momentum going. How high your speedtest.net speed goes is almost irrelevant, it’s almost a form of mobile epeens that come from the gamer world. Please, just focus on turning the company around and building a solid LTE network, it has promising beginnings.