Senate bill could force carriers to be truthful about 4G

By on October 14, 2011, 6:31 PM

US Senators are mulling over a bill that aims to cut through the grand marketing façade that is 4G. Filed yesterday, the legislation would force wireless carriers to clarify the specifications of their purported "4G" services. Although major US telecoms advertise 4G networks that offer upgraded speeds over 3G, none of them actually meet the ITU's original guidelines.

True 4G is supposed to offer 100Mb/s mobile and 1Gb/s stationary data rates, versus 3G's approximate 600Kb/s to 1.4Mb/s downstream. Current 4G implementations such as LTE, HSPA+ and WiMAX only offer 2Mb/s to 12Mb/s depending on the network. In other words, today's 4G is more like 3G+. We published a guide on 4G last April that remains relevant.

If the bill becomes law, carriers would have to break down precisely what their 4G network offers so consumers can easily compare services. It would require them to provide a guaranteed minimum data speed, network reliability, coverage area maps, pricing, the technology behind their 4G service and network conditions that can affect the speed of applications.

The legislation would also require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to monitor the speed of 4G services provided by the top 10 US wireless companies. "As it stands there is no standard definition for 4G wireless broadband internet, allowing the four major wireless companies in the United States to advertise several different technologies as '4G,' despite vastly different speeds based on their wireless provider and location," said MN Senator Al Franken.

It remains to be seen how far the bill will go, but you can bet telecom lobbyists will resist it every step of the way. "This bill proposes to add an additional layer of regulation to a new and exciting set of services, while ignoring the fact that wireless is an inherently complex and dynamic environment in which network speeds can vary depending on a wide variety of factors, such as weather, terrain and foliage," said Jot Carpenter of CTIA-The Wireless Association.

User Comments: 17

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Guest said:

Cell companies are not going to be happy about this........

Leeky Leeky said:

Thing is, if it carries on without legislation we're going to be at 5,000,000G before we even see the proper speed that 4G should bring. An over-exaggeration I know, but a good point none-the-less.

princeton princeton said:

"guaranteed minimum data speed"

Not going to happen. Like the article says wireless has too many variables depending on the situation.

Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

I read awhile back that the ITU actually gave the blessing to carriers to use 4G for their non-4G service...

Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Yep, the ITU basically shrugged its shoulders last December:


Guest said:

This bill is dead at birth. All it will do is bring out the lobbyists offering money to any and all Senators who oppose it. Political contributions will win out over the consumer... again.

SammyJames said:

Guest said:

This bill is dead at birth. All it will do is bring out the lobbyists offering money to any and all Senators who oppose it. Political contributions will win out over the consumer... again.

All the more reason to join and contribute to Occupy Wall Street.

pixelstuff pixelstuff said:

Who decided 4G was 100Mbps?

Seems like 4G is a relative term indicating the next generation after 3G. What group decided that 4G had to actually be 100Mbps? Are they trying to mimic wired Ethernet generations? Seems more logical to aim for Wifi generations at 11Mbps, 54Mbps and eventually 300Mbps.

Guest said:

Good thing congress is now arguing over this instead of Obama's job bill.

Holy **** is that some ****ed up priorities.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

sad to say it is a real issue though. It like companies just saying HIGH SPEED INTERNET! wwowowowowowo....

bunch of bull

Win7Dev said:

I would rather have 100mb/s home internet as opposed to on my phone. 100mb/s internet is valued at ~$170 a month where I live (North eastern United States).

Guest said:

Prudent Commissioning of Carrier Services will be beneficial to the

welfare in Mobility Commerce, Consumer Protection, Competitions,

and Social Networking Ecosystem Synergy.

Korea Carrier is offering at 17,000 kpbs

China Carrier mobile commerce is offering 15,000 kpbs

Japan Carrier Social Networking is enjoying 15,000 kpbs

Asian Mobile Commerce presently is Globally # 1

It is time to Commission Carrier offering Services for Commerce

Guest said:

These bills get introduced for the sole purpose of attracting lobbyist dollars. Of course it will never happen... no one who isn't a sheep ever thought for a second it would. Welcome to what is merely one of the outer onion-layers of government corruption. You don't want to imagine what is going on further in.

Guest said:

Will the pile ever stop growing..?????

fpsgamerJR62 said:

It's the same with telecom companies all over the world. They tend to go overboard with all the marketing crap. Even if they could, by some technological miracle, actually give us a 1 Gb/s connection, who would want to surf at that speed on a tiny LCD screen ?

Guest said:

So a bill that says they must tell the truth. Isn't it a sad commentary on society when we must legislate truth?

MilwaukeeMike said:

Lol... sure... while they're at it, can we get some guidlines around the "Organic" label?

They should throw in a provision that says carriers need to tell customers that there isn't a 4G network in their city before selling them a 4G phone.

Or maybe this'll die fast because guaranteed download speeds are sorta like guaranteed highway driving speeds. There are many uncontrollable factors.

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