A recent decision by the International Telecommunication Union to not consider WiMax and LTE valid 4G incarnations has ironically given way to a rash of unjustified 4G quality claims.T-Mobile is the latest in the long line of service providers to proudly boast the next step of Internet quality with an ad campaign that lays claim to “America’s Largest 4G Network.”
T-Mobile’s proclamation highlights an interesting issue for the likes of CLEAR, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and other supposed 4G peddlers. While those companies have invested billions of of dollars building out nationwide network, T-Mobile simply slapped a pretty dress on its 3G technology and called it “the sexiest Internet you’ve ever seen.”
So, how can they do that, without the ITU’s approval? Well, they can do that for two reasons: One, because the other companies did it first without living up to true 4G standards; and two, because it’s kinda (and I stress “kinda”) true. Their HSPA+ mobile broadband network has been shown to be comparable or faster than WiMax and LTE in some instances with “theoretical” download speeds of up to 21mbps.
The claim of “America’s Largest 4G Network” is a monster Sprint, Clear and company created themselves. If there ends up being a service migration to T-Mobile, they’ll have nowhere else to point the finger. The fact of the matter is, the term “4G” is fast being rendered meaningless by its saturation in advertising juxtaposed against actual network specs. If these service providers truly want to wow their customer base, they’re better off improving their individual technologies and boasting their own brands of Broadband Access technology (WiMax, LTE, or HSPA+) to differentiate from their competitors. Perhaps providers could even increase their allure by playing the easy transition card, highlighting current versions of WiMax and LTE ability to upgrade once their actual 4G relatives become available.
Even if they do do that, there’s a chance it won’t necessarily matter to consumers who just want a faster connection to go along with quality service. And are they really that much more desperate for a faster connection? If people are satisfied with the price they’re paying and the speeds at which their cell phones and Internet connect now, then no label promising greener grass on the other side of wireless broadband is guaranteed to garner any takers. People might be more inclined to wait for the real thing (WiMax … Read the rest