How does T-Mobile’s “4G” network perform on the HTC One S?


After almost a month with my HTC One S, I realize that I’ve neglected to tell you about one of the most important features of the phone: its network connection. Sure, I’ve already talked about how much I love T-Mobile’s $30 4G plan, but is the network up to par?

Two words: Yes, and no. Or aternately, “it depends.”

Before I get started, I should mention that when it comes to AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s HSPA+ networks, there are two camps: one that insists this network technology is actually 3G (or 3.5G), and wants these companies to stop lying to their customers; and another that doesn’t really care and thinks that it’s cool when their phones indicate that they’re connected to “4G.” If find myself more in the second camp: I don’t really care what these companies call it, as long as the connection is fast.

For the most part, I’ve been extremely pleased with the speeds I’ve been getting, throughout various parts of the day.


These are generally the speeds I’ve been getting throughout most of the city. However, I noticed that while visiting one neighborhood, my speeds went down drastically, even though the phone indicated I was still connected to “4G” HSPA+.


I wanted to know what was going on, so I inquired at a local T-Mobile store. As it turns out, the tower that serves this particular neighborhood is on top of a certain building, the owners of which would not allow T-Mobile to upgrade its backhaul. So, in other words, the HSPA+ network is there, but the pipes that bring data to that tower are ones that originally were designed to support EDGE and first-generation 3G. (Is “first generation 3G” even a real term?)

I have to agree with the first camp in this scenario: T-Mobile should not be advertising the network as “4G” in this particular neighborhood, when the speeds are this slow. I don’t care if it’s HSPA+ or not; this is deceptive, plain and simple.

But on the other hand, I realize that this is an anomaly, and most places around the city have the necessary backhaul that allows T-Mobile to at least remain competetive with other, more “legitimate” 4G networks, like Sprint’s WiMAX network.

So am I generally pleased with the T-Mobile network? Yes, for the most part. However, T-Mobile, if you’re reading, let’s just do something about these little pockets of extremely slow “4G” so I have less to complain about.

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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