IT'S THE SOFTWARE!!!!!!!
OK. I found "Phone Info" screen through "Any Cut". This looks like a screen not intended for average users. It clearly has settings that should not be messed with. However, it does have a pull down menu that was set to "WCDMA Preferred". I changed this to "WCDMA Only". The phone reset, and never again saw the f'ing "E" on the signal indicator- ALL 3G. After about 1/2 hour of speed tests (150k - 800kbps) and google satellite map downloads (all definitely faster), I switched back to "WCDMA Preferred". Guess what? After a few minutes, I was back on EDGE, even with a good signal. Switched back to "WCDMA Only", and 3G it remains.
The PROBLEM with doing this is that you will have NO DATA COVERAGE if you slip into a weak area where only Edge will work. So Doing this means you have to create a shortcut and change this setting if you lose signal.
WHAT THIS TELLS ME IS THAT THIS IS A SOFTWARE PROBLEM. The criteria for determining 3G vs. Edge selection in the SW is (as I suspected) weighted heavily to EDGE. F'ing TMOBILE probably did this to reduce their network loading. Do not be surprised if they remove the "Phone Info" screen in future updates so you cannot do my patch.