What networks should be called 4G?

LTE-A, WiMax 2 are designated as "4G"
LTE-A, WiMax 2 are designated as "4G"

You may recall some of us being upset with how some carriers are describing its next-generation mobile networks as “4G” even though standards bodies didn’t designate technologies as such. Well, the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunications has finally designated which wireless technologies should be called 4G but don’t expect that to clear up the confusion.

The ITU-R looked at six different technologies and finally deemed WiMax 2 and Long-Term Evolution Advanced as officially being worthy of the 4G name.

So, do you think that Sprint and Verizon are going to suddenly stop calling its next-generation mobile data network 4G because this entity deemed the technologies its using not worthy? Don’t bet on it.

As you know, Sprint is using Clearwire’s WiMax infrastructure for its next-generation mobile data services and even if this switches to LTE, Sprint will call it “4G.” For heck’s sake, the carrier has two smartphones with “4G’ in its names.

Verizon will spread its LTE network to more than 110 million people by the end of the year and you can be darn sure it won’t call this 3G, or 3G+. We’re even hearing word that T-Mobile will soon re-brand its HSPA+ 3G network as “4G” with the launch of the myTouch.

Do customers care that they are potentially being lied to for marketing purposes? That’s a loaded question, of course, but I don’t think people really care in this case.

The average consumer doesn’t know or care what the ITU-R is. The average consumer does know that the EVO can provide a quantum leap in terms of data speeds if you’re in the right market.

T-Mobile’s HSPA+ can get up to 21 Mbps downstream and that type of bandwidth can change how you work and play. I’ll let the telecom nerds duke it out over the labels, just give me faster mobile broadband speeds now and I won’t complain about what you call it.


  • I really don’t care what some pointless standards commission says 4G really is. Evdo Rev A gets 800kbps max down. My Vibrant on the HSPA 7.2mbps network tops out at 5870kbps. While I’ve seen Evos get 7200kbps real world. Then I saw a video of a G2 getting 15.5mbps. From there I go on to play with my wifes Samsung Transform which gets anywhere from 200kbps-800kbps. 5800-15000 kbps is a world of difference over stock 3G, the tech is worthy of the 4G label being its 10x faster than 3G. 3g was 10x faster than 2G, Wimax and HSPA+ are worthy of the 4G moniker. My eyes have been opened to true wireless data by Tmobile and Sprint.

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