Sprint and Verizon will continue to beat them to the punch.
We Americans have two choices when it comes to 4G-that-isn't-4G. Sprint bet their farm on Clearwire's WiMAX network, while Verizon trusts in LTE. 2011 will see a wave of handsets and tablets for both next-gen networks, which has to be worrying AT&T and T-Mobile at least a little.
How To: Buy a Pokemon Go Plus
T-Mo has spent a lot of effort over the last few months trying to convince customers that its HSPA+ network deserves the "4G" appellation too. They plan to launch tablets and smartphones next year that will be marketed as 4G. And now they've announced a deal with Nokia Siemens Networks to push their 3G as far as it can go.
Long Term HSPA Evolution is the next step for T-Mo's network, and they claim it will be able to deliver speeds of over 650 Mbps. Real 4G requires speeds of 100 Mbps, for a sense of comparison. T-Mobile and Nokia Siemens plan to have this fancy new tech ready for commercial use by 2013.
So now we have LTE, LTHE and WiMax. Nokia Siemens has already succeeded in showing off HSPA speeds of 100 Mbps in controlled circumstances. It seems a little odd for T-Mo to break away from the pack like this, but there is a significant advantage to LTHE that neither WiMAX nor LTE can brag.
LTHE is 100% backwards compatible. If you have an HSPA or WCDMA handset, you'll be able to hook into T-Mo's new network when it goes live. In 2013.
Meanwhile, Verizon's LTE network is showing hot-spot speeds of 21+ Mbps. And the first WiMAX 2 deployments are set for 2012. This will bump Sprint's service up to 1 GBps potential speeds. Samsung has already shown 330 Mbps with their WiMAX 2 demo.
And Verizon's network isn't going to get any slower.
Don't Miss: See the first leaked Black Friday 2016 Ad
So as nice as LTHE looks, it seems like this is just one more time T-Mo has showed up late to the party. Sorry, guys.