back to article 12Mb/sec to a mobile telephone, but is it a new generation?

Verizon has launched the HTC Thunderbolt, bringing 12Mb/sec data to a mobile phone if you can get coverage, but whether or not it is the first 4G phone is a rather more complicated question. The Thunderbolt is certainly a nice enough phone – Android 2.2 with HTC's Sense interface layered on top, up to 12Mb/sec download and 5Mb …


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  1. Steve X


    A 2GB cap on a 12Mbit/s link is what, about 25 minutes of use? Even without the cap, is this really useful?

    It reminds me of those adds for razors, each company adds more blades for an even smoother shaving experience, until we end up with them trying to justify why a 12-blade razor is actually any better than one with a only 10 blades. It's just silly marketing numbers.

    Does anyone really need more than 1or 2 Mbit/s at most from a phone?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is enough for all time … I keep bumping into that silly quotation attributed to me that says 640K of memory is enough." - Bill Gates

      Who ever thought we'd need more than X megabytes of hard drive space?

    2. MinionZero


      @"Does anyone really need more than 1or 2 Mbit/s at most from a phone"

      Short Answer: Yes!

      Longer answer: Try streaming video to a phone and then you'll see why faster is better. Also why wait longer for an app to download.

      Your comment reminds me of the lack of foresight shown in the infamous 640k memory quote.

      As for the monthly cap, that is a problem as its easy to use 100's of MB's watching streaming videos, but that's more about the phone companies marketing plans and willingness to squeeze more money out of people.

      I wish WiMAX would spread much more, but that threatens the phone companies ability to control their customers via their phone networks and so they have worked for years to undermine and lobby against WiMAX.

    3. Andy Christ

      Good point, but...

      Actually here in the States I believe Verizon is continuing with unlimited data plans on the Thunderbolt, though whether or not that is limited to current subscribers or open to new ones I'm not sure. Currently 4G service is not that widely available, so how long this deal will last is also open to question.

      1. Ammaross Danan


        "As for the monthly cap, that is a problem as its easy to use 100's of MB's watching streaming videos, but that's more about the phone companies marketing plans and willingness to squeeze more money out of people."

        Yep Yep. As long as the cap is horrendously low, any gain in Mb/s is rather a moot point. I could advertise as 100Mb/s and stick my cap at 2GB, which would be gone in 160 seconds running at my advertised rate. Even running at 10Mb/s (note that's still "megabits"), which is a very decent "hi-def" video stream, would be gone in just under 27 minutes. Hit your cap just before you finish watching that hi-def stream of your favorite sitcom? We can scale that back even further to 1Mb/s streaming (reasonable res for 720p, right?). 4.4 hrs and it's gone. Sorry, I won't be watching Netflix on the commuter to work. Would run out within a week.

        Remove the caps from wireless devices. They don't have 2TB of storage to download the world with. Impose throttling on tethered devices if you must, but this cap stuff is BS (that's "blood-sucking" too....especially when applied to corporate policies).

  2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    All I can think of?

    Imagine the the ad men rubbing theirs hands with glee at the amount of in-app ads and web-active dross they can flood us with to buy the latest hypomatic-hydrosonic doo-dah.

    Still better that what I normally imagine bandwidth to be used for I suppose!

  3. Chris Miller


    If you're standing next to a mast that no-one else is using.

  4. foo_bar_baz


    Wake me up when more than a handful of users in the area can simultaneously use mobile "broadband" at 10Mbit/s. Like, ye olde 802.11b wireless LAN.

    I just got rid of my uncapped 3G plan. WLAN is plentiful, and in a pinch I can tether my phone on my employer's dime.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      What form of mutant 802.11*b* are you using that can do 10Mbps to multiple users at once?!

  5. David Lucke

    @Steve X

    "Does anyone really need more than 1or 2 Mbit/s at most from a phone?"

    Wrong question. Its not just phones that use the mobile networks for data - tablets and laptops use 3G these days, and these definitely want more than 1-2 Mbits if they can get them.

    1. Kevin (Just Kevin)

      And more than that...

      Down under you can get 42Mbps USB data cards. And they're still sold as 3G. LTE Advanced is officially 4G but, as the ITU says, most people will call the initial LTE rollouts 4G and they've given into that. But calling HSPA+ 4G and HSPA 3G is silly. The name gives it away. It's just a little change to HSPA.

  6. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Probably not a question of speed

    The different generations have different philosophies. 2G was all about providing isochronous channels for voice and data, no packets or asynchronous communications. 3G added packets, but still has "connections".

    4G would probably skip the "connection" idea all together and every station would get a certain amount of packet count assigned so it can just start sending IP packets without having to set up a connection.

    I'd expect 5G to finally get rid of the distinction between the network and it's users. Just like a meshed network. (Obviously battery operated stations would usually be excluded) Together with modern adaptive antenna system, this could, as a side effect, also provide much higher bandwidth. Plus it would be disaster proof and a _lot_ cheaper to operate.

  7. dssf

    From reading about the HTC Thunderbolt at

    Impressive, compared to my EVO 4G...

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