ITU softens stance on 4G wireless definition

By on December 20, 2010, 8:00 AM
Wireless carriers in the U.S. have had no issue with throwing the "4G" term around to promote their respective networks, even though technically none of them meet official specifications established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) -- the authority on such things. Well, it now seems that the latter has conceded defeat at the hands of the carriers’ marketing departments and is softening its stance on which technologies can legitimately be called "4G".

In a statement issued over the weekend, the standards body said that while it’s 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.




User Comments: 10

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madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Booo, letting the market stagnate because of reckless marketing by service providers. =(

princeton princeton said:

"3-12Mbps while the term was originally intended for networks sporting mobile data rates of 100Mbps. "

That's a big ****ing gap guys.

The organization is wrong in its concession to the competing 4G claims, because HSPA+ can never accurately be called 4G. It's a very good, very fast 3G network, but it's still a 3G network.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

They should post real world figures for every broadband plan that they market alongside the theoretical maximum. We all know that those fancy terms mean nothing if we can't even get a wireless signal.

Guest said:

If you market it, it will be true... wait what?

Guest said:

you are lucky in the u.s. that 3-12mbps is "broadband 4g"...

here in the philippines, 512kbps is "broadband wimax"...

-globe wimax user

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

you are lucky in the u.s. that 3-12mbps is "broadband 4g"...

here in the philippines, 512kbps is "broadband wimax"...

-globe wimax user

Then your ISP is lying. Broadband is 4mbps downstream.

lchu12 lchu12 said:

Carrier: "Yes, this is the new technology!"

Customer: "So how fast is it?"

Carrier: "REALLY FAST!"

Customer: "I'll take it!"

How many times have you seen that happen?

Guest said:

I just lost all respect for ITU... But heck now I can release my 6G technology next summer.

Guest said:

What are all of the cable providers going to do when the real 4g hits? Everyone will use their phones for their wi-fi hotspots, what will be the point of paying for internet.

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

What are all of the cable providers going to do when the real 4g hits? Everyone will use their phones for their wi-fi hotspots, what will be the point of paying for internet.

Because 500mb of data will be a $40 addon to your plan. And they'll restrict tethering. Also they'll probably charge around 40 cents a kilobyte for overage. They already charge that for pay per use so why the **** not?

They can track tethering you know, because it uses certain ports.

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