Manufacturers, users debate 4G label
From the Chicago Tribune: Starting with Clearwire Corp. and Sprint Nextel Corp., the first to launch 4G services in Chicago a year ago, wireless carriers have used 4G to describe a major leap in speed, capacity and power over other networks. But operators don’t agree on what constitutes that technological milestone. As a result, 4G has become a marketing term almost unrelated to its technical definition, which is determined by industry standards bodies.
Earlier this month, T-Mobile USA Inc. said it had expanded its 4G service to Chicago and five other markets, adding them to a roster of “America’s largest 4G network.” The carrier’s announcement prompted grumbling from some of its competitors, which said T-Mobile was trying to pass off an improved 3G network as a new 4G network. Critics noted that the carrier itself had refrained from using “4G” to describe its technology, called HSPA+, when it was introduced.
Verizon Wireless plans to launch its 4G network in Chicago and 37 other markets by year-end, while AT&T Inc. says it will make its 4G debut in 2011. Both carriers use a technology called Long Term Evolution, or LTE. Clearwire and Sprint’s network technology, also used by Comcast Corp., is known as WiMax.
According to Yankee Group, the message is not reaching consumers. A survey conducted this year showed 66% of participants were unfamiliar with the term 4G. Read the full article here.