The standards board ruled that a 4G network must perform at 100Mbps downstream speeds, but WiMax and LTE typically operate between 3 and 12 Mbps. 100Mbps is a pretty tall order, considering what a marked improvement our current '4G' technology is.
Their benchmark seems to be based on LTE-Advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced, which we won't begin to see for another year. The second technology will be called IEEE 802.26m, and will be the foundation of WiMax's second iteration.
The board's ruling discourages the marketing of the 4G moniker, but it might be too late to turn back. A Clearwire representative said that "WiMax, and the LTE products that are coming out, are all sufficiently advanced past the 3G networks to indicate that they're moving forward." Clearwire has a point, as the current 4G experience is obviously an improvement. Maybe we can compromise and call it 3.5G?
A Verizon representative delivered a similar message, saying that "The ITU's current technical definition in no way affects our plans to launch the world's first large-scale LTE network later this year. We're all about real people using actual products and services." Verizon keenly calls the ITU-R's ruling a "technical definition". Consumers won't care that this isn't officially 4G, so long as their experience is vastly improved.
T-Mobile might feel a little left out by this definition. They were already taking a marketing leap of faith by calling their HSPA+ a 4G network. Now, with WiMax and LTE both excluded, they might be even further off the mark.
source: Network World via Sprint Users