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Too Little Too Late – T-Mobile Launches EDGE

T-Mobile USA offers EDGE across 90% of GRPS network @ Dave’s iPAQ

*sigh* It’s so frustrating being a data-loving T-Mobile customer sometimes. I’m planning a migration to Verizon because of their speedy EVDO wireless data access (~1.5Mbps). I have reservations, because other than the slow GPRS data (~50Kbps) and their lax attitude toward providing anything better before 2007, I’ve been quite happy with T-Mobile.

So here comes news, out of the blue, that they’ve launched higher speed EDGE access (~120Kbps) across 90% of their GPRS network. EDGE is basically a speed boost to the existing GPRS network. Theoretically, all you need is an EDGE-capable device, like a Treo 650, HP iPAQ 6500, Motorola “Q”, etc. and if you already have GPRS access, like I do, you’re set.

If they had told me that this was coming, it might have prevented me from abandoning them for Verizon. Maybe. EDGE is nowhere near as fast as EVDO, but staying with T-Mobile and GSM/GPRS/EDGE would give me a much greater choice of devices (mentioned above) and the ease of switching from one device to another simply by moving a SIM card.

The last I had heard, T-Mobile wasn’t planning on rolling out any speed upgrades to its GPRS network until 2007, at the earliest. Sticking with them would have been like sticking with dial-up internet access when high speed broadband access was available. Madness, in other words. :-)

I’m still going to switch to EVDO. This speed boost is too little, too late. You had your chance to keep me, T-Mobile, and you lost it.

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4 thoughts on “Too Little Too Late – T-Mobile Launches EDGE

  1. Anonymous says:

    A few things to consider (from someone who moved from Cingular -> Verizon and back):

    1. Voice calls will be automatically forwarded to voicemail if you are on an active data session (not like how GPRS works, unfortunately).

    2. EV-DO is very nice… It would be good if voice would work on it (when you end a data session or make a phone call, you get dropped to the 1X network, which results in many dropped calls in my area (i.e., I get 4 bars on an i730 with EVDO and 0-1 while on 1X).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Some excellent comments in the previous post regarding no voice over EVDO. Allow me to add another point regarding EDGE that may help you stay with TMobile…

    Ever notice how most Web sites download slowly over the 54 Mbps 802.11g/a technologies? Thank the lack of responsiveness of the target URL, the transport technology used by the target URL server (i.e. 384k DSL vs. 10 Mbps cable, etc.), and the traffic hitting the target URL server.

    Data transfer speed is not just about your link to the Web, it’s about both directions of the link at both ends. WIth EVDO, you are essentially buying a data-only link (deployed, by the way, in direct competitiion for operating frequencies with the same carrier’s voice services). With EDGE, both voice and data are served on the same technology, ensuring broad coverage and minimal competition with voice services.

    As 1x vs EDGE data rates go, a study in SF done by the Deutsche Bank wireless analyst group showed roughly 75-100 kbps download data rates for each. You can argue that EDGE handset uplink is still slower than 1x (an artifact of how GSM works vs. CDMA), but that will change over the next two years.

    All in all, be careful about chasing mobile data rates as your primary point for making a carrier decision. All networks are not equal, all technologies are not equal. An operator’s primary benefits to customers are quality of coverage and capacity, availability of a wide range of handsets, and data services. You’ll waste a lot of money in termination fees chasing data rate at this point in the history of mobie communications.

  3. Yep, I can confirm that with a Treo 650 on T-Mobile in Portland, I am getting some pretty fast speeds. Using it as the modem for my laptop, several different broadband speed-check sites clocked me on average at 125K. It’s a far cry from 1.2M, but it sure does beat what I had before (which I never measured, but seemed not too different from a 28.8 modem.)

    Right now, I type this from laptop -> Bluetooth -> Treo -> EDGE.

  4. Bob Johnson says:

    Sean, I’d love to know your secret to getting 125kbps down using the v360 as a modem to your notebook/desktop computer. I”m connected to the V360 via a USB2 port and have have both the Moto phone tools and the T-mobile connection manager. My data rates are ~60kbs down and up using speakeasy.net/SpeedTest.

    Even, the T-Mobile connection manager (version 1.7) reports in the status info that the network is GPRS (doesn’t report EDGE), but then I don’t really know if it really would.

    Is there any tricks to setting up the dial-up login that enables the better speeds? Right now I’m using the extra init command of

    AT+CGDCONT=1,”IP”,”internet2.voicestream.com”

    and my dial-up login number as *99#. I’ve seen the connection manager also dial into *99***1# as well.

    Does any of this make a difference?

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