4G is a myth; None of the U.S. carriers’ new networks meet the official 4G speed standard

“You’ve seen the 4G advertisements from T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon, bragging about a much-better wireless network with blazing fast speeds,” David Goldman reports for CNNMoney. “Here’s the secret the carriers don’t advertise: 4G is a myth. Like the unicorn, it hasn’t been spotted anywhere in the wild just yet — and won’t be any time in the near future.”

“The International Telecommunication Union, the global wireless standards-setting organization, determined last month that 4G is defined as a network capable of download speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps). That’s fast enough to download an average high-definition movie in about three minutes,” Goldman reports. “None of the new networks the carriers are rolling out meet that standard.”

“Sprint was the first to launch a network called 4G, going live with it earlier this year. Then, T-Mobile launched its 4G network, claiming to be ‘America’s largest 4G network.’ Verizon plans to launch its 4G network by the end of the year, which it claims will be the nation’s largest and the fastest. AT&T is expected to unveil its 4G network next year,” Goldman reports. “Those networks have theoretical speeds of a fifth to a half that of the official 4G standard. The actual speeds the carriers say they’ll achieve are just a tenth of ‘real’ 4G.”

“So why are the carriers calling these networks 4G?” Goldman asks. “It’s mostly a matter of PR…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It is unwise to play leapfrog with a unicorn.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “ajdowntown” for the heads up.]

35 Comments

  1. Not surprising when marketing in the US is trying to sell snake oil. (While too much government interference is bad, some regulation is needed to stop the lying.)

    Here’s the question: does ANYONE around the globe have 4G service right now?

  2. Is there any ‘truth in advertising’ law that might be used to sue these carriers in the US? If they promise 4G, and the official definition of 4G is 100Mbps, and the carriers actually offer 10Mbps, would consumers be able to sue (“I bought this phone expecting 4G; all I got was a promise, but not even a guarantee of a measly 10Mbps!”)?

    This is worse than advertising standard-def, 480p digital TV as HD.

  3. Who cares about global standards? This is the United States of America, we ARE the globe. We keep it spinning. And we have our own laws and standards which don’t involve the UN or any of that other globalist crap.

    We’ll sort it all out eventually, but for now 4G is simply a marketing term representative of the next step in data speeds. It isn’t the first time our definition hasn’t paralleled with the rest of the world and it certainly won’t be the last. We’re Americans, we do things our own way.

  4. “So why are the carriers calling these networks 4G?” Goldman asks. “It’s mostly a matter of PR…”

    PR? Or deception? By any other name 4G would be as lame.

    What was that ITU? I couldn’t quite hear you over the promotional noise coming from Sprint, T-Mo and the Verizon camps.

  5. They tell us how “fast” they aren’t in terms of the 4G standard. All well and good. What is the comparison to the 3G standard and/or the typical 3G network speed?
    R2 has a point, a bit ego-centric, but a point. So … I want to know: is the current faked-up “4G” faster than the previous “standard”, and by how much? I’m not so much interested in who is willing to claim the higher standard so much as who has the greater performance. And then, as my phone is the dumbest on the block, only as a question of facts.

  6. *sticks fingers in ears and sings to self* “La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La “

  7. this follows the same pattern as the 3G rollout….folks were calling things 3G long before they were ever within sniffing distance of 3G speeds….

    typical business/corporate BS…..4G is their fourth generation network which is better than their third generation network…but way way way slower than official “4G” specs

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