T-Mobile “doubles” theoretical download speeds that no one ever reaches

May 24, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka



T-Mobile USA has enhanced its 4G HSPA+ network, announcing today that it has doubled the top speeds available to its 4G devices. T-Mobile previously had a theoretical max speed of 21 Mbps, but “America’s Largest 4G network” now reaches theoretical speeds up to 42 Mbps in 50 U.S. markets.

The term “theoretical” is crucial here because no one ever reaches those speeds. Though the T-Mobile 4G network previously had a 21 Mbps theoretical max, real-world usage reports rarely approached anything close to that because no Android phone was capable of reaching the max speed. T-Mobile has essentially just doubled a concept and raised the ceiling higher without actually delivering those speeds.

Existing T-Mobile USA customers could see a minor bump in download speeds, but not the significant gains one would expect when a network is said to double in speed. This news is really only of concern to people who purchase the new T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 laptop data stick or those who hope to have an Android device and local network performance that actually reaches this new theoretical max – or even the old one for that matter.

Here is a list of the U.S. cities in which 42 Mbps is theoretically possible.

  • Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Georgia
  • Auburn, Ala.
  • Austin, Texas
  • Bentonville, Ark.
  • Boulder, Colo.
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Chicago, Ill.
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla.
  • Denver, Colo.
  • Detroit, Mich.
  • Durham, N.C.
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Gainesville, Fla.
  • Gainesville, Ga.
  • Greeley, Colo.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Houston, Texas
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Long Island, N.Y.
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.
  • Macon, Ga.
  • Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
  • Miami, Fla.
  • New Orleans, La.
  • Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Olympia, Wash.
  • Omaha, Neb.
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.
  • Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • Portland, Ore.
  • Salinas, Calif.
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.
  • Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Calif.
  • Savannah, Ga.
  • Seattle, Wash.
  • Spokane, Wash.
  • Tampa, Fla.
  • Tulsa, Okla.
  • Valdosta, Ga.
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
  • Warner Robins, Ga.
  • Wichita, Kan.