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4G is in demand, but most consumers still don't understand it

Posted: , by Michael H.

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4G is in demand, but most consumers still don't understand it
It's been a while, but it's time for one of our favorite pastimes: evaluating data that has come from surveys. Some of you may know that we tend to be more skeptical, because statistics are extremely easy to spin or gather incorrectly. The newest round of stats is from an In-Stat report which looked at consumer feelings towards certain features and carriers.

In-Stat surveyed 1,208 consumers, which is a fair number, and found that 75% of respondents considered 4G to be an important feature, and one that would be in an "ideal phone". Although In-Stat analyst Greg Potter did point out that there is "a lot of confusion" about 4G. This is of course due to the conflicting marketing campaigns from all 4 of the major carriers in the US.

The US carriers have, for the sake of marketing, decided it best to ignore the original meaning of the term "4G", and simply use it as a blanket statement for any network that is faster than 3G, which was not just misleading, but was so misleading that it caused a redefinition of the term. The International Telecommunication Union originally set requirements for a 4G network, which stated that it must offer peak speeds of at minimum 100 Mbps and a maximum of 1 Gbps depending on certain conditions. Ultimately, the ITU got so tired of fighting the false marketing, that it just changed the definition to include these "evolved 3G" networks "for the benefit of the consumer". Of course, it actually causes more confusion, because it seems anything faster than 2 Mbps can be considered 4G, which leaves a wide range of performance that consumers must learn about for each carrier. 

source: BGR

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posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:00 4

1. denney (Posts: 98; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


Michael, I find this article to be incomplete. Didn't the FCC adjust the definition of 4G to appease carriers? Making non-4G "4G" speeds qualify as 4G as far as the legalese is concerned?

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 22:04 4

15. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


The FCC may have done that, but the FCC doesn't set the global standards for what is 4G, so I'd say it's a silly ruling to cover silly marketing.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 22:24

19. raunak (Posts: 498; Member since: 12 Oct 2011)


Well atleast they are trying to reach 4G level, here in India, they have started speed capping and we get aroung 100-120 KBPS (bytes)(which is not exactly what we call 3G) for first 30-40 MB only, after that we get 4-5 KBPS.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 00:14 1

33. terabyteRouser (Posts: 412; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


lol wow

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 17:31

63. surajn95 (Posts: 2; Member since: 06 Jun 2011)


Atleast I use to get avg speed of 6mbps on my 3G network, here in India.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 02:03

39. shayan (Posts: 145; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


we dot even have EDGE in iran. MTN says it ofer EDGE, but its speed is around 70-80 Kbps. so it is 2G.
and they charg us alot for this...

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 03:50 1

42. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


that is EDGE service.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 08:27

45. shayan (Posts: 145; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


thanks.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 03:51 1

43. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


well, talk to ATT and Sprint. Neither one of them can hit the 14.4 4G minimum standard.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 10:53

51. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)


Yet you wanted to compare the Sprint or Att SgS2 to the Bionic's LTE? Saying that the Sprints SgS2 would be a more fare comparison? How if now your saying that Sprints and Atts internet are slower than the compared T-mobiles one?

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 09:27

47. Iria00 (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Oct 2011)


As U;S; centric as most like to be, it's NOT the FCC, but the ITU that defines these terms globally. Originally, they said first-gen LTE and WiMax, along with HSPA+ were NOT 4G. http://goo.gl/s3uDP

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:01 3

2. Carlitos (Posts: 295; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


The only carriers, close to that in the U.S. are T-Mobile with there 42mbps speeds. And Verizon with there LTE. At&ts LTE is just as fast as Verizon, but it is very scarce.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 23:54 1

30. Phullofphil (Posts: 800; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


I am not sure about what your saying about t-mobile or att but as far as I found out Verizon has the fastest actual speeds for LTE 4g. It's faster than tmobile where I am at. Att LTE probably is the same as Verizon's but there is no phones out yet. There 4g is the same as tmobiles hspa+ if tmobile has that up yet but they are both slower than LTE.

posted on 30 Oct 2011, 13:03

65. vzwservesmewell (Posts: 29; Member since: 05 May 2010)


Where I'm at I average over 8Mbps on VZW LTE while T-Mobile on HSPA+ averages around 2.5Mbps...

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:03 2

3. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


First. Of course they'd be interested, given how marketing happy carriers are with 4G.

posted on 30 Oct 2011, 07:22

64. PotDragon (banned) (Posts: 214; Member since: 22 Jul 2011)


Only thing more ridiculous than some mind corpse writing "first", is when you see a complete fool who writes it while posting THIRD. It doesn't happen often ; most people that dumb spend their time trying to figure out how to operate toilet paper.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:11 6

4. Sniggly (Posts: 6695; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


I think out of the 4, Verizon deserves the least scorn for their use of the 4G moniker, because their LTE IS way, way faster than 3G.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:30 5

6. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2927; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Not to mention they should be given props for how fast and aggressive they rolled out their LTE network. Verizon might not have the fastest 3G, but it's pretty much in every single area and it is reliable. I have T-Mobile 4G in my area, however it goes back and forth from 4G all the way to Edge. ATT's HSPA network is also here but it cuts out a lot as well. Where the only time Verizon's network ever cut out was at a major dead spot while driving.

By the time ATT and Sprint can roll out their LTE networks, Verizon's will be as nationwide and strong as their 3G network is.

Sprint may have been the first to roll out "4G" but they have fallen slow behind Verizons.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 03:53 2

44. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


sprint unfortunately caused this mess as their Wimaxx service cant hit the minimum required 4g speeds of 14.4.. yet they keep calling their network 4g. It caps at 12mbps with real world usage much lower. ATT is no better.

The only true tech 4g network is VZW. The only 2 networks that pass the 4g barrier are VZW and Tmobile.

posted on 30 Oct 2011, 23:09

73. OpTiKaWn (Posts: 8; Member since: 30 Oct 2011)


ATT ALREADY HAS THEIR LTE OUT DUDE.... STARTED WITH 5 MARKETS. AND ADDED ANOTHER NOT TO LONG AGO, SO NOT MANY BUT IT IS OUT.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 22:13

17. tedkord (Posts: 4275; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


It's certainly faster than Verizon's own anemic 3g, but not nearly so much faster than some other 3g. While I consistently get less than 200kbps (mostly less than 100kbps), friends on ATT get closer to 2mbps. That said, I do get 15mbps+ on Verizon's LTE.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 22:59

24. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


well 15mbps to 2mbps is a huge difference

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 00:00

31. Phullofphil (Posts: 800; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


I have got a high of 38mb a second download speed with average of 20 in Portland area which is faster than my comcast internets actual speeds. But it also depends on the surver you are getting data from there is always a choke point with Internet speed. Most of it comes down to how many people are using the pipeline at a given time.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 00:53

37. codymws (Posts: 237; Member since: 17 Jun 2010)


Me too. Speeds in the Portland area seem to be really fast... here's proof:

http://www.speedtest.net/android/93259693.png

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 10:10

49. Nickmfnjackson (Posts: 101; Member since: 21 Jan 2010)


nice.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 11:03

52. sarb009 (Posts: 283; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


@taco hey isheeep what are u doing here in non-apple article

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 22:58

23. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I agree and their 4G does have theoretical speeds of 100mbps even if it won't come close to that in real life.

Michael I disagree with this article. The definition was adjusted so you can't say you just don't go along with that, but you want to go along with the previous definition.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 00:23 2

34. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


1) No one's 4G even has theoretical speeds of 100 Mbps yet. Verizon's LTE will have those theoretical speeds eventually once it builds up MIMO antennas, etc. But, right now, no network even has theoretical speeds that fast.

2) I guess I will have to change that. ITU did redefine 4G, but in doing so made it quite clear that it was just tired of fighting the marketing campaigns and didn't really think any of the networks should be called 4G.

You know me, I often have semantic arguments with these sorts of things. I do so love language specificity.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 00:47

36. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Uh huh, sure. With the power of advertising, anything is possible including ridiculous claims.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 14:38

61. networkdood (Posts: 6247; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


...yeah...apple is good at that.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:20 4

5. GoodFella (Posts: 112; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


FCC did not change any standards, the International Telecommunication Union changed the standards, because all U.S. carriers jumped the gun in claiming they had 4G, when in fact none of them really did. So, the ITU changed the standards that defines 4G as now a platform that CAN be upgraded to reach 100Mbps Download Speeds (in Theory).

HSPA+, LTE and WiMaxMAN fall into the 4G category now, whereas they did not before. WiMax alone never was and never will be 4G until upgraded to WiMaxMAN (which probably won't happen since Sprint is moving to LTE).

First, Sprint comes out with Wimax and says "We have the first 4G!!!"
Second, Verizon comes out with LTE and says, We have real 4g!"
Third, overnight, T-Mobile announces, "We have the Nation's largest 4G network!"
Fourth, AT&T comes out and says, "Hey, we also have 4G!! Look at out new phones that say 4G!!"

After all this non-sense, the ITU comes out and changes the standards... because of American Carrier nonsense... LOL!

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:35 1

7. TerryCrowley (Posts: 184; Member since: 31 Jul 2011)


You got it confused. T-Mobile came AFTER Sprint but before Verizon.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:53

9. GoodFella (Posts: 112; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Thank You, I stand corrected.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 22:07 1

16. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Even T-Mo showed plans that would eventually get its HSPA+ network up to 672 Mbps.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 23:17

29. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


t mo is going LTE

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 00:28

35. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


T-Mo is going LTE, but that likely won't happen until 2015 or so. And, if it keeps upping its HSPA+ like it plans to, that network may even be as fast or faster than LTE by then.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 14:33

58. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


Tmo.. if it survives.. will go 4g.. one day. It has plans to take HSPA+ to 84mb/s by summer of 2012. If the merger does not go through, I wouldnt check for LTE for probably 3-4 years. But if they can really get the network anywhere near that 84 limit, they wont need it,.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 23:01 1

25. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


LTE already has 100mbps in theory. LTE advanced will have 1gbps in theory. You have your facts mixed up a little

posted on 30 Oct 2011, 16:16 1

70. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


keep your head in theory.. the rest of us will deal with the real world.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:44 1

8. roscuthiii (Posts: 1785; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


The ITU adjusted their definition of what constitutes 4G.

And since the G stands for "generation" it should not be limited to performance but whether or not the technology is an evolutionary step forward.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:54 1

10. cupcake (Posts: 106; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


A lot of people amaze me with their lack of ability to gather facts. I have quite a few customers coming in thinking 4G is the gigs, or the amount of data usage. Or, thinking that it's everywhere and that they MUST have it when it's not even yet in their area. When I tell them this they are shocked. As if a network can be built over-night. Also I've had many people remark, "Oh, next thing you know they're going to have 5G, then 6G, the week after I buy this phone!"
Sillies.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:56

12. networkdood (Posts: 6247; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


yeah, so true......

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:58 4

13. GoodFella (Posts: 112; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


That is why you are employed! ;)

You educate people and then sell them a phone that fits their needs. Otherwise, if they new everything and did all their research to find facts, they could go somewhere online and buy a phone (probably cheaper than your store), not needing to to talk anyone.

Be grateful for these "uneducated" people, for without them, you'd be unemployed in the wireless business.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 22:16 4

18. Sniggly (Posts: 6695; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


I actually find it easier to sell to the educated people, because I have a tendency to be very in depth when I talk about phones. Someone who is educated in phones talks on my level and thus can dig why I think one phone is netter than the other. They are also easier to steer away from the cheap pieces of crap that an uneducated buyer might go for.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 22:32

20. GoodFella (Posts: 112; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Oh, I'd agree. Just being a facetious :)

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 22:41 3

22. networkdood (Posts: 6247; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Some people should not get a 'smart'phone......perhaps an iphone....

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 22:40 1

21. networkdood (Posts: 6247; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Perhaps, you are correct....no one is perfect, except for APPLE and taco :-)

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 14:14 2

56. cupcake (Posts: 106; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


True. Which I do. It's just amusing. Or, annoying sometimes if after a slow, clear explanation they JUST DON'T get it.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:55 1

11. networkdood (Posts: 6247; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Dudes and Dudettes, the average consumer was calling the iphone 4, the iphone 4G....lol, yeah, AMericans just do not know their info when it comes to phone - they rely on word of mouth, from their uninformed friends and family...lol....next iphone will be iphone 4GS....guaranteed....

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 00:56 1

38. codymws (Posts: 237; Member since: 17 Jun 2010)


Yep. I've already heard someone call it the iPhone 4GS...

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 21:58

14. redmd (Posts: 859; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


@cupcake You might also have customers who thought iphone 4 is 4G.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 00:06

32. Phullofphil (Posts: 800; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


I have talked to a lot of people that thought they were getting an iPhone with 4g speeds.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 14:19

57. cupcake (Posts: 106; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


Quite a few, yes. A lot also walking in asking where the iPhone 5 is. That's a fun one to explain. 'There is no iPhone 5. However, iOS 5 is on the 4s and the 4 is upgradable to iOS 5' .. blank. stare. ha ha.

posted on 31 Oct 2011, 11:40

76. jdrevolution (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


I also sell phones and I get the question: "Can you sell me that phone 4GS thing?" And I have also gotten the iPhone 5 remark, one guy just flat out didn't believe me that it didn't exist and said he was going to another company to buy it...
So, I also enjoy the educated customer versus the one who just wants the phone that comes in their favorit color.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 23:02 5

26. omarc26 (Posts: 357; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


ONe thing I noticed only in the US they call hspa+ 4G .. in canada and mexico its still called 3G. I just got back from mexico and they also have hspa+ running at 42mbps on telcel and they still call it 3G. I was in a telcel store in guadalajara and they only had them laptop thingys and a hotspot that took advantage of the 42 mbps no phones yet and the lady I was talking to told me hspa+ 42 mbps is considered 3.5g that only LTE running at 100 mbps or more is 4G. Sad but true She knew more than most of my friends living here in the US that think hspa is 4G.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 23:06 1

27. networkdood (Posts: 6247; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


You can thank corporations for that....they should have kept the HSPA+ at 3G in terms of marketing, but the companies had to be first and show that they have a current network and not a yesterday network.

posted on 28 Oct 2011, 23:15

28. jacky_luvsjrod (Posts: 53; Member since: 26 May 2010)


@ Omar I agree I also got back from Monterrey Mexico, and walked in to a telcel store and saw that they have hspa+ at 42 mbps and they still it call it 3G. Also in my hotel room on tv I saw plenty telcel commercials saying (telcel la red 3G mas rapida de mexico ya es mas rapida que nunca con la nueva red hspa) for those that don't know spanish it means " telcels 3G network just got faster with hspa+" I didn't hear the word 4G at all in those commercials and it was talking about there hspa+ running at 42 mbps. Its not like them T-Mobile commercials talking about there network being 4G cuz they running at 42mbps.

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 03:33 3

40. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 409; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)


Escpecially iphone users..3 out of 4 think they bave a 4g phone because of the phone being iohone 4 and s

posted on 29 Oct 2011, 13:29

55. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Hey idiot can you provide proof of that?

posted on 30 Oct 2011, 16:17

71. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


he was exaggerating for sure, but the last study found that 1 in 4 iphone4 owners thought that they were 4G.. lol

sad but true.

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