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

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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76 Comments

75. DigitalMD

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 17, 2010

Of course none of this is really going to matter unless the cell carriers stop ripping off the consumers and offer a reasonable, affordable data plan. What good is 4g / LTE if it just burns a hole in your wallet faster. Your shiny new phone becomes a shiny new paperweight. Load it up with old ripped movies because you won't be able to afford to download them.

74. OpTiKaWn

Posts: 10; Member since: Oct 30, 2011

I Said this befor i think once ATT's LTE is every where it will be the best and fastest service cause if u end up some where, where they aint got LTE their HSPA+ is way faster than everyone elses 3G and by that time their HSPA+ speeds will more than likley be maxed out so if u got a cat 14 phone u will be gettin 14.4mbs and if u got a cat 21 u will be gettin 21mbs and if u got a cat 24 u will be gettin 42mbs. remember its always better to take ur time with stuff and get it workin right than rushin it out like VZW... and 4G aint gona be real 4G till 4G LTE ADVANCED is out.... I have ATT HSPA+ and since i had it have i yet to even drop to 3G once no matter where i go and it stays steady at, at least 6mbs witch is better than most peoples home internet like crapy LOSER DSL. My home inter net is 105mbs and blazes like no other and i actuly get speeds way over that 90% of the time. So till a cell phone can do that there is no 4G. But honestly u really dont ever need speed like that on a cell phone cause it only helps with giant files and phones dont hold no where near as much as a pc can so there aint much ud be downloadin on a phone that u would ever need that kinda speed besides a movie and a phone cant hold that many. so its almost useless un less u use ur phone as a modem for a computer witch most computers have built in now adays neway or just get the card from ur isp. Like say in the future what would u do with a phone with 1000mbs?? it aint like they are gona invent movies in the future that are 50 hours long that take that much room u need that much speed or bands aint gona release 2 hour long songs. So once ur at a certain speed it really dont matter ne more. for computers it will but only so much to do with a tiny phone u know.

68. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

LTE was supposed to be where customers would be able take one handset to any carrier. Because as it is now, you're stuck on 1 network with your $600 phone. But these carriers are making it so that's not gonna happen. They're all on different frequencies. So the manufacturers should be putting LTE radios that cover everybody. I realise VZW and AT&T (just beginning) are the only ones with LTE so far, but we should see handsets that should work on both networks. Otherwise it's just more of the same.

67. MotoFan619

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

LOL Okay so I suppose that according to the FCC's Definition of "4G" my Droid X2 enters "4G" territory every now and then on Verizon's CDMA network.

69. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

you have a droidX that can go to 14.4mpbs and above?! wow, u should sell that for thousands of dollars!

54. xmusicianguy

Posts: 96; Member since: Jul 13, 2011

I'm fine with the EV-DO on VZW. I get around 1.2 Mbps and up to 2 Mbps at peak. Does what I need. Even when I take my phone (Bionic) into a 4G area. I only use 4G to get the SAME speeds I can get at home on 3G. Because in highly populated areas, most 3G / EV-DO networks are bogged down. On 3G in Nashville, TN I got AVERAGE 300Kbps, Or less. Even 3G probably isn't really 3rd generation. EV-DO has been around since 2003-2004. They (most carriers) started using 3G moniker when it became the "IN" word to use in marketing. Which was around late 2009 -2010. LTE IS a 4th Generation technology. But it's FAR from meeting 100Mbps.

59. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

you know that VZW EVDO isnt capable of 2mbps? :) thats the theoretical cap.. you arent ever gonna see it though.. getting over 1.2 is a feat.

62. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

wow.....no wonder AT&T is selling iphones so much...when verizon iphones LTE are out...that may change.

72. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

You go to ATT if you want the faster 3g iphone.. you got to VZW if you want it to actually work.

66. vzwservesmewell

Posts: 29; Member since: May 05, 2010

I'd be suprised if you hit 2.0 on EVDO Rev A. I commonly saw 1.2Mbps in my area though. Usually averaged around 700-800Kbps. Using Speedtest.net app I just hit 10Mbps on LTE.

53. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

I´m cool with my 3.5G HSPA+ with my GS2. It does what I need

50. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

To analyze the theory of the 4G Moniker, one must define "Generation". It becomes very easy to understand it from a perspective of this definition. Let's consider the speeds and other ingredients required to meet the ITU's original specifications, 3G technology is not equipped to handle the demand of what is going to be transferred through future data. 4G had required more than just speeds. Capacity and bandwidth are also crucial and evident in performing the skills necessary for the future telecommunication era. In order to handle the theoretical speeds and capacity, a whole new network needs to be built. One that can handle multiple tasks more efficiently and effectively. A new generation if you will. Verizon and Sprint/Clearwire have been spending billions to construct this new generation network that eventually would lead to LTE-Advanced or WiMAX2. These two advancements would certainly be capable of obtaining such requirements. Builds on 3G can not meet these specs. We can thank Tmobile for using desperate sales tactics to try and trump VZW and Sprint/Clearwire for their own benefits while ignoring the ITU's definition. Obviously AT&T couldn't stand to be left out in this. So now the pathetic marketing and mocking of such advanced technology, becomes a mockery of what should've been a great step forward in the wireless industry. The ITU had no choice but to scrap all original intents in order to save confusion on society. By original plans, VZW and Sprint/Clearwire had the only true basic platform for the new generation networks to build on. A fourth generation. The 4G moniker is now nothing more than a facade. It has a definition. However, its true definition and intent has been sequestered through the ignorance of greedy carriers. A can of Tuna is 4G and so is my Dog. Marketing does amazing things, doesn't it? John B.

60. cupcake

Posts: 106; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

Maybe your dog is a can of tuna. Just kidding. Good comment though. Carriers are indeed very selfish. They all lie, but some more than others it seems. A lot of customers in America believe they are being ripped off, which isn't too far from the truth. At least verizon is actually building their 4G network, even if they do charge more, simply because they can.. The reason they can is because they themselves spend so much on their network. And on Lamborghinis... maybe Ferraris..

48. nb2six

Posts: 298; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

Of there is going to be confusion when the term is so loosely thrown around anymore. The masses have no idea what 4G is. Just the other day had a customer tell me their ipod got 4G service. It was hard to not stare at them like they were mentally incoherent.

46. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

The real issue here people, is we should demand the real 4G network that actually hits 100 mbps. And not argue which carrier has the fastest fake 4G speed. Give us consumers the real deal!

41. effdee1121

Posts: 14; Member since: Mar 05, 2010

4G or not i don't really care as long as it's fast.

40. DROIDX0430

Posts: 469; Member since: Nov 24, 2010

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

55. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Hey idiot can you provide proof of that?

71. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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.

26. omarc26

Posts: 360; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

27. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 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.

28. jacky_luvsjrod

Posts: 53; Member since: May 26, 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.

14. redmd

Posts: 1969; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

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

32. Phullofphil

Posts: 1846; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

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

57. cupcake

Posts: 106; Member since: Apr 15, 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.

76. jdrevolution

Posts: 87; Member since: Oct 07, 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.

11. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 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....

38. codymws

Posts: 237; Member since: Jun 17, 2010

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

10. cupcake

Posts: 106; Member since: Apr 15, 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.

12. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

yeah, so true......

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