4G service providers like to talk about their super-speedy 4G wireless networks. But just how fast is 4G wireless service, anyway?
4G wireless is supposed to deliver service that is anywhere from four to ten times faster than 3G networks.
3G networks offer download speeds of 600 kilobits per second (kbps) up to 1.4 megabits per second (mbps), with bursts up to 3.1 mbps.
Sprint says its 4G WiMax network can deliver average download speeds between 3 mbps and 6 mbps, with bursts up to 10 mbps. The network can deliver upload speeds of up to 1 mbps.
Verizon's LTE network, meanwhile, can deliver download speeds between 5 mbps and 12 mbps. Verizon also says it will offer upload speeds between 2 mbps and 5 mbps.
T-Mobile's HSPA+ network is not a true 4G network, but does deliver speeds faster than a typical 3G network; it's considered more of a 3.5G network than a true 4G network. T-Mobile says it can offer download speeds between 5 mbps and 8 mbps.
For comparison, a wired cable modem typically delivers download speeds between 1 mbps and 6 mbps, but some providers offer service that's delivers speeds of 15 mbps or higher. Upload speeds over a cable modem are typically below 1 mbps, averaging between 128 kbps and 768 kbps.