AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint Duke It Out for 4G Supremacy

So whos the fastest? It depends on whom you believe.

Sprint claims to be the only 4G carrier, as its WiMAX network has been up and running for a year now, but it doesnt meet the true definition of 4G based on standards set by the Internation Telecommunication Union, which requires 100 megabits per second. Nonetheless, the No. 3 wireless carrier in the U.S. in terms of subscriber numbers markets 4G phones and claims to have the fastest network out there.

T-Mobile recently unveiled a series of TV commercials poking fun at AT&T, describing the network as an albatross around the neck of the iPhone. T-Mobile also recently unveiled what it calls a 4G phone on the nations fastest 4G network. Of course, its an HSPA+ network and doesnt meet the ITUs 4G standard either.

Verizon Wireless just unveiled a new commercial that touts its 4G LTE network, which begins rollout in December. Of course, itll take a while to spread across the entire country and to know just how fast it is. According to the TV spot, its lightning fast” and lightning strong.” But despite the hype, Verizon is yet to officially announce plans for any 4G devices it has waiting in the wings.

Last, but not least, AT&T issued a press release Monday, announcing that it delivers the fastest mobile broadband network by a wide margin. The carrier doesnt inflate its claim by touting to be 4G, but says a comprehensive third-party drive test shows competitors lagging by 20 to 60 percent in national average mobile broadband speed. Like T-Mobile, AT&T currently operates an HSPA+ network; both say they reach more Americans than the other. AT&T, like Verizon Wireless, has an LTE build-out in the works, but we arent likely to see it in play until mid-2011.

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