The Technology Gods Have Spoken: No 4G (Yet)

The Technology Gods Have Spoken: No 4G (Yet).

You’ve undoubtedly been consumed with ‘visions of 4G dancing in your head’ during this winter season.  A flurry (no pun intended) of announcements from companies such as Verzion Wireless and NTT DOCOMO around the launch of their 4G networks and devices has surely given folks ideas around expensive stocking suffers (though not so much in Japan).  A continuous stream of communications have come to be expected regarding the ever-expanding LTE coverage by MetroPCS and the addition of WiMAX cities from Clearwire/Sprint Nextelt..  Even T-Mobile USA is touting its HSPA+ network as ‘American’s Largest 4G Network’ while fellow mobile operators AT&T and Sprint criticize its claims.

Truth be told, none of them have a leg to stand on.  The Technology Gods have spoken. On October 21, 2010, a press release by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced that they assessed six candidate submissions for IMT-Advanced (otherwise known as 4G) technologies and ruled that the following two proposals qualified as 4G:

  • LTE-Advanced (LTE-A)
  • WirelessMAN-Advanced (802.16m WiMAX 2)

Note the operative word proposed.  While both are derivatives of existing cellular technologies, neither one has actually been deployed.

So what will be the repercussions of this ruling?  Will picketers take to the streets demanding truth-in-advertising?  Will consumer advocates generate dozens of class-action lawsuits?  Will the OEMs have to put stickers covering the 4G portion of the name for EVO, Max, myTouch, and Epic?  At least the Craft and Mondi will be OK.

Methinks not.  As in many industries, our marketing friends have been keen on getting us excited about technology.  There have been many examples of marketing hyperbole over the years.  Has anyone ever really gotten 54 Mbps of throughput from their 802.11g wireless LANs?  And The Grateful Dead weren’t really dead (RIP Jerry Garcia).

I say forgive and forget.  After all, it is the holiday season.  Let’s think pleasant thoughts.  Let’s wallow in our naivete.  Indeed, this technology space moves so quickly that we won’t even remember a time when we didn’t have 4G,  ITU-defined or otherwise.

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