In a statement issued over the weekend, the standards body said that while its standing firm on its original IMT-Advanced specification, which only WiMAX 2 and LTE-Advanced are currently expected to meet, the term "4G" realistically could apply to the forerunners of these technologies 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. In other words, LTE, WiMAX, HSPA+ and any other evolved 3G technologies.
The decision has little practical relevance as carriers were unlikely to stop branding their service 4G anyway. That said, true 4G speeds are still a few years off -- T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint’s networks all operate at speeds between 3-12Mbps while the term was originally intended for networks sporting mobile data rates of 100Mbps.
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