by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
3g, broadband, data, wireless


Dear T-Mobile, The Point Of 3G Is For Data Speeds

from the you-can't-be-serious dept

T-Mobile was the one national US mobile operator who really didn't have much of a strategy when it came to upgrading its network. While Sprint, Verizon and AT&T all were working on 3G options, T-Mobile kind of sat around twiddling its thumbs. Then it finally realized that it was way behind and made an effort to catch up. Years after everyone else got around to launching stuff (and as they're all now setting plans for their 4G options), T-Mobile is finally launching its 3G wireless service. But in a move that makes absolutely no sense, it's only for voice -- not for data. If it's only for voice... there's no reason to move to 3G. The very purpose of the 3G mobile network was to enable higher bandwidth for data. This is like building an entire highway next to a perfectly good bike trail... and then saying the highway is only for bicycles. Why bother? Update: Well, phew. Turns out the original story was simply not true. T-Mobile launched with voice and data...

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  1. identicon
    Christopher Smith, 1 May 2008 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Why?

    And since it's not intuitively obvious to non-network engineers, here's why:

    On a digital voice network, phone calls are carried as data just like everything else. However, in order to fit as many calls on the network as possible, the sound is compressed, and at high levels of compression it can get pretty bad.

    Many systems use adaptive compression that can give better quality when the network is not congested and then degrade if it gets busy; if your network is often highly loaded (as I'd expect in many major cities), moving to a faster network will generally improve voice quality.

    (Also, there have been reports that, despite T-Mobile's announcement, the 3G speeds are being seen on data. I am not a T-Mobile customer, so I don't know.)

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