Regional operator Cincinnati Bell jumped on the 4G bandwagon Tuesday when it began marketing its new upgrade to HSPA+ as “4G.”
T-Mobile USA and AT&T also market their HSPA network upgrades as 4G. Sprint resells Clearwire’s WiMAX service as 4G, while Verizon Wireless and MetroPCS use LTE for their 4G services.
Cincinnati Bell says its HSPA+ service is three times faster than its legacy 3G network. The operator currently offers one smartphone with the new service, the Android-based Huawei Ascend, and plans to add more handsets compatible with HSPA+ in the coming months.
“With our 3G and 4G networks and strong Android, smartphone and tablet product lines, we can provide our customers with access to the cutting-edge wireless technology they crave,” said Mike Vanderwoude, Cincinnati Bell’s general manager of its wireless division, in a statement.
The company is offering to pay up to $100 of a new customer’s early termination fee if they switch to Cincinnati Bell. The rebate offer is good until the end of the month.
Customers of the operator’s upgraded wireless service will be able to roam on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network outside of Cincinnati Bell’s footprint, which encompasses the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area.
The upgrade to HSPA+ and the buzz around 4G services could help Cincinnati Bell hold on to its profitable smartphone customers amid heavy competition from larger operators with stronger device lineups, such as AT&T and Verizon.
Cincinnati Bell has been fighting to retain subscribers amid declines in its customer base. The company saw its subscriber base decline more than 3 percent to 504,000 in the first quarter of this year after slight gains in its prepaid customers failed to offset ongoing losses in its postpaid base. Cincinnati Bell has lost 26,000 net postpaid customers over the past year.