There can be no doubt that T-Mobile’s branding of its HSPA+ network as 4G was the best marketing move in the wireless industry in recent history. Sprint may have had the first 4G network and Verizon Wireless may have the fastest, but HSPA+ has allowed the fourth largest U.S. carrier with challenging spectrum holdings to go from a constrained 3G portfolio to marketing three 4G devices (the G2, myTouch 4G, and a 4G version of the popular Samsung Galaxy S design) with a a fourth announced (the Sidekick 4G).
In contrast, despite a long head start ,Sprint has just three 4G handsets on the market and Verizon Wireless just shipped its first 4G handset. That device – the HTC Thunderbolt (much like its similar predecessor, the EVO 4G) – impresses in all but battery life Here again T-Mobile has an advantage as its HSPA+ handsets deliver better battery life than WiMAX or LTE devices while often scoring closer to Verizon’s speed benchmarks than Sprint’s.
Sprint has a big event lined up for CTIA and the onus is on the company to roll out some more WiMAX products. Hopefully, the revamped Overdrive, for one, won’t suffer from the shoddy design that resulted in the USB connector breaking loose, the fate of the unit I tested.