ITU reverses its decision, LTE, WiMAX and HSPA+ are now 4G

4G LTE Verizon

4G LTE Verizon

In an about face, the International Telecommunications Union has expanded the term 4G to include WiMAX, LTE and HSPA+. Previously, the ITU had established WiMAX 2 and LTE-Advanced as the only networking technologies worthy of the 4G name. As a result of this decision, WiMAX, LTE and HSPA+ were considered to be 3G technologies. Despite this decision, marketing departments for wireless carriers, especially here in the U.S., continued to use this networking term in ways not allowed by the International Telecommunications Union.

The ITU may have taken notice of this extensive and erroneous usage as the governing body has reconsidered its previous definition. A press release from its December meeting reveals that the International Telecommunications Union has made the following changes and now expands the term 4G as follows:

Following a detailed evaluation against stringent technical and operational criteria, ITU has determined that “LTE-Advanced” and “WirelessMAN-Advanced” should be accorded the official designation of IMT-Advanced. As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as “4G”, although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed. The detailed specifications of the IMT-Advanced technologies will be provided in a new ITU-R Recommendation expected in early 2012.

Whether you agree with decision or not, the term 4G can now be applied to LTE, WiMAX, HSPA+ and any other evolved 3G technology. Now when T-Mobile claims it has one of the nation’s largest 4G networks, it will be in compliance with the International Telecommunications Union’s standards. Anyone upset or bothered by this decision? I know of one person who might be.

[Via Phonescoop and ITU]

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Diaz/100000639956723 William Diaz

    Im still not sure if HSPA+ can be called 4G, since LTE and WiMAX are the forerunners for the official 4G definition of WiMAX2 and LTE-Advanced. I dont notice an HSPA in the true definition of 4G.

    • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

      Well I am Sure that HSPA+ is 4G. That’s just your personal opinion and not fact.

  • Darrinstern

    It’s funny the pressure telcos can apply.

  • Darrinstern

    It’s funny the pressure telcos can apply.

  • Darrinstern

    It’s funny the pressure telcos can apply.

  • http://twitter.com/astraith Allen Straith

    I agree William. I don’t see HSPA+ being in there.

  • http://twitter.com/astraith Allen Straith

    I agree William. I don’t see HSPA+ being in there.

    • http://www.intomobile.com/ Stefan Constantinescu

      “LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies”

      HSPA+ is an evolution of HSPA which is an evolution of WCDMA which is an evolution of UMTS which is 3G.

    • http://www.intomobile.com/ Stefan Constantinescu

      “LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies”

      HSPA+ is an evolution of HSPA which is an evolution of WCDMA which is an evolution of UMTS which is 3G.

  • Kevinkdarling

    A lot depends on whether the ITU press release writer used excellent English or not. For example, if they made the common mistake of using “may” in place of “might”.

    There’s a huge difference between “may be used” (it’s permitted to call it 4G) versus “might be used” (it could be mistakenly called 4G).

  • Kevinkdarling

    A lot depends on whether the ITU press release writer used excellent English or not. For example, if they made the common mistake of using “may” in place of “might”.

    There’s a huge difference between “may be used” (it’s permitted to call it 4G) versus “might be used” (it could be mistakenly called 4G).

  • Kevinkdarling

    A lot depends on whether the ITU press release writer used excellent English or not. For example, if they made the common mistake of using “may” in place of “might”.

    There’s a huge difference between “may be used” (it’s permitted to call it 4G) versus “might be used” (it could be mistakenly called 4G).

  • Kevinkdarling

    A lot depends on whether the ITU press release writer used excellent English or not. For example, if they made the common mistake of using “may” in place of “might”.

    There’s a huge difference between “may be used” (it’s permitted to call it 4G) versus “might be used” (it could be mistakenly called 4G).

  • http://twitter.com/gobblemyookies Charley Horse

    this whole “OMG NOT 4G LIARS!” was a ton of malarkey anyways.

  • brandon

    i completely disagree. im not sure if there was a misunderstanding between what you meant and what im thinking you wrote, but if you were implying that the ITU expanded the term ‘4G’ to include advamced 3G technology just because it was false advertisement to claim we had something that hadnt been defined (therefore didnt exist) and to get phone companies more money then i am appalled. if the ITU really did change this to make phone companies happy, then im disappointed at them. if youre implying this, im disappointed at you.

    ANYWAYS, since we have not yet agreed on what we will define as the next generation of cellular technology, i think that anyone claiming to have 4G technology is basically lying. no matter what technicalities may be present, we have reached a bit of a ceiling, and we need to have a break through in order to celebrate it. 1G was calling, 2G was texting, 3G was multimedia messaging, 4G has to be something a littler more than a little faster, or a little bit more support.

    its just my opinion that since we needed to invent new technology to fit a new name, that we shouldnt just shine up some old crap and call it the next generation. its like apple adding 3 or 4 ‘new’ feature that they ‘invent’ and calling it the next generation of iphone. no offence to any apple fan boys or 4G-like lovers.

  • coolblueice

    Well guess what? Located predominantly at the top of the same page as Kelly’s post is a honkin’ big ol’ Tmobile 4G advertisement. I guess the dishonesty of TMobile and other companies in calling their networks “4G” is important enough to report on… but not important enough to refuse the advertising dollars coming from these companies. As Kelly puts it, “Anyone upset or bothered by this decision?”

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