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ITU's Definition Aside, T-Mobile Pushes 4G Label In New Ad Campaign 120

Posted by timothy
from the how-to-tick-off-buyers dept.
snydeq writes "T-Mobile has officially joined Sprint in pushing the promise of '4G' mobile services on consumers, despite the fact that, according to the ITU standards body, neither carriers' offerings constitute 4G mobile technology. In Sprint's defense, it has been advertising its WiMax-covered areas as 4G for nearly a year — technically not a lie because until last month 4G didn't mean anything, InfoWorld's Galen Gruman reports. But now that the ITU has provided a standard against which the FCC and FTC can judge truth in advertising, T-Mobile's new 4G ad campaign is a 'bald-faced lie,' Gruman writes." National ad campaigns take more than a month to coordinate, though — if the term was basically free-floating until last month (with quite a few candidate standards over the years), it seems hard to condemn companies too harshly for using a marketing catch-phrase.
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ITU's Definition Aside, T-Mobile Pushes 4G Label In New Ad Campaign

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  • orly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:46PM (#34129464) Journal

    it seems hard to condemn companies too harshly for using a marketing catch-phrase.

    Really? The whole purpose of the FTC is to insure companies don't use misleading catch-phrases. If a company sells 4G service, and another company falsely claims they do and gains customers, then yes, the first company is injured. They spent more money to actually provide the service that the second company only claimed.

    Not only is it EASY to get harsh, but when companies flatly lie to customers, the price *should* be many times the amount of profit they made using the lie. Brushing it off as "only a marketing catch-phrase" is ignorant at best.

    • Re:orly? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:49PM (#34129504) Homepage Journal

      it seems hard to condemn companies too harshly for using a marketing catch-phrase.

      Really? The whole purpose of the FTC is to insure companies don't use misleading catch-phrases. If a company sells 4G service, and another company falsely claims they do and gains customers, then yes, the first company is injured.

      The problem then is that no company to date has "4g" service. Hell, most of them have 3G service only by a very loose definition. It seems that, so far no consumer has been mislead into thinking one particular service is better than another; they all stink!

      • Re:orly? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by brainboyz (114458) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:26PM (#34129982) Homepage

        Reminds me of the distinction between HiSpeed USB 2.0 and USB 2.0 Compatible.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Hell, most of them have 3G service only by a very loose definition.

        How so? EDGE is in fact 3G by ITU's definition; see IMT-2000. So's EVDO rev. 0; so are you thinking of networks running older tech, or do you just think the 3g standard constitutes a "very loose definition" of 3G?

        • by jeffmeden (135043)

          For one, the 3G spec does say "simultaneous voice AND data" which is something 3G CDMA (aka evdo) providers (sprint and verizon) have completely ignored.

      • I'm sure someone will be duped. "4G is better than 3G! Buy, buy, buy!"

        Having worked with customers, they aren't too bright. About two years ago I was shopping, and I heard a couple arguing to find a TV to connect to Comcast cable, so I offered my advice. The wife wanted the CRT because it was only $100 or so, and the guy swore up-and-down that they HAD to have the flat panel because of the "analog shutoff", and the CRT would be worthless. I was honest and told them the $100 CRT would be good, but the g

      • Re:orly? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BradleyUffner (103496) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @06:51PM (#34130898) Homepage

        The problem then is that no company to date has "4g" service. Hell, most of them have 3G service only by a very loose definition. It seems that, so far no consumer has been mislead into thinking one particular service is better than another; they all stink!

        That's exactly the problem he's talking about... By saying they have 4G service they are taking away customers from 3G providers.

        If I have a choice between 2 phone providers, with everything being equal, each provider has a 50% shot at my money. If one of them falsely claims 4G coverage then the odds are I'll mistakenly choose them.

        • That's exactly the problem he's talking about... By saying they have 4G service they are taking away customers from 3G providers.

          If I have a choice between 2 phone providers, with everything being equal, each provider has a 50% shot at my money. If one of them falsely claims 4G coverage then the odds are I'll mistakenly choose them.

          But if the other belongs to those who "have 3G service only by a very loose definition", you'll end up with the better one anyway.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by PRMan (959735)

        G originally meant "generation". Sprint's 2G network was better than their first one. It really caught on with 3G so that people understood that they were advertising a 3rd, different thing. Since this is Sprint's 4th network, I really don't see how some outsider can come in and say, "it's not a 4G network".

        1G was around the same speed as 128kbps ISDN. I had a phone that used this. It was slow.

        2G was around DSL speed (about 450kbps). It was better than before, but still very slow.

        3G was around fast DS

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Because you are totally wrong, that is why an outsider has a say so.

          Gs are an ITU standard.

        • Re:orly? (Score:5, Informative)

          by satsuke (263225) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:00PM (#34131476)

          Your speeds are off by about a decimal place. In mobile data terms and technical terms it breaks down like this

          1G = analog / AMPS service or similiar .. 2400bp/s on a good day plus whatever hardware error correction and data compression (MNP10) -- circuit switched technology (your taking a line on the tower
          2G = CDMA / GSM(CDPD) base speed data - circuit switched at 9600bp/s
          2.5G = packet switched CDMA 1X / GSM GPRS or EDGE .. nominally max 144kb/s .. usually 50-70kb/s .. GSM had different EDGE profiles for higher speeds .. but the base was in this range
          3G = CDMA 1XEVDO / GSM HSDPA .. 3.1mb/s on CDMA .. up to 14.4mb/s and higher on GSM (though getting a contiguous spectrum block available for the full speed is problematic when mixed with voice traffic and paging channels
          3.5G = current spec WIMAX and LTE .. nominal 10mb/s down .. biggest difference is it scales to higher data rates based on number of users .. whereas say 3G CDMA might have 3.1mb/s per sector .. wimax / LTE can deliver this per user given enough spectrum
          4G = most recently published goalpost .. something like 100mb/s sustained mobile and higher in fixed / limited mobility scenarios .. WIMAX2 / LTE Advanced

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by postbigbang (761081)

            Mod parent up, but modestly. After all, parent is speaking factually, and not in marketing speak.

        • "Since this is Sprint's 4th network, I really don't see how some outsider can come in and say, "it's not a 4G network"."

          Because "4G" has become an industry catchphrase, and because that's what standards bodies do: they say "This is how we define X. Anybody who would like to follow our lead is welcome to do so."

          And people and companies do, because in general, standards are a good thing to have.

          There was a time when there was no national, much less international, standard for a "foot" of distance, or a "pound" of weight. Every region had their own interpretation (just as Sprint would like to have theirs). Eventually, wh

        • by hazydave (96747)

          This isn't Sprint's fourth network, anyway. They have offered HSPA access as a "3G" service, same as AT&T, for quite some time. This is part of the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) specifications, which define the set of technologies generally used by GSM-aligned companies. This is actually part of the 3GPP's WCDMA specification... officially "3G". Version 7 of the WCDMA specification allows for a higher speed option, HSPA+, still very much a 3G technology. AT&T has had HSPA+ available for

    • Re:orly? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:06PM (#34129748)

      Not only is it EASY to get harsh, but when companies flatly lie to customers, the price *should* be many times the amount of profit they made using the lie. Brushing it off as "only a marketing catch-phrase" is ignorant at best.

      I agree. It's bad enough when large corporations capture the agencies supposed to be regulating them. Why are we giving them the benefit of the doubt? What the fuck for? WHat have they ever done for anything other than their shareholders? They can't even live up to the extremely low standards the industry has set for itself, and we're supposed to feel sorry for them? I'll say we're being to harsh on these companies if and when we consider hanging the executives for rounding up to the nearest minute. Reserving judgement for using sleazy marketing terms? No, judge away. I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they're not trying to stagnate the whole mobile industry so they never have to upgrade their equipment again, but they are definitely lying through their teeth.

    • by Snotman (767894)
      If Sprint coined the term before the ITU, is there maybe a trademark issue here? Can Sprint claim to have the trademark and force the ITU to rename what it considers 4G? I think that is probably the best solution and then Sprint can keep the term and not be in hot water with a class action over false advertising. In any case, I don't think marketing cares. A class action for being wrong may still leave their strategy to deceive profitable and with more customers.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        No the best case would be for Sprint to stop being shysters.

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        I don't think you can trademark the singular letter "G". Lord knows, Apple has tried with the small case letter "i" but that hasn't worked out for them either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jpolonsk (739332)
      The definition of 3G is 3rd generation. Sprint has been using the term 4G to mean 4th generation. 3G was only loosely defined and the ITU has now decided to arbitrarily specify stricter standards for 4G. The confusion is already here and this isn't a black and white issue. It's similar to the USB Highspeed, fullspeed or wireless N debacle. Yeah it's annoying but for the most part consumers don't care and anyone technical enough to care is going to do the research anyway.
      • Re:orly? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @09:25PM (#34132040) Journal

        Sprint has been using the term 4G to mean 4th generation. 3G was only loosely defined and the ITU has now decided to arbitrarily specify stricter standards for 4G.

        International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) says 4G != fourth generation

        Sprint can call a brick a plane if they want, but there's a reason we have international standards bodies.
        Remember when all those wireless-n cards were advertised as "draft n"? That's the right way to do it.

        I think the moral of the story here is not to advertise using the name of an unfinished spec.

    • by Lanir (97918)

      Not only is it EASY to get harsh, but when companies flatly lie to customers, the price *should* be many times the amount of profit they made using the lie. Brushing it off as "only a marketing catch-phrase" is ignorant at best.

      Hrm. You know, since they have the right to free speech now (THANK YOU, oh benevolent and wise US Supreme Court, next let's revive indentured servitude just for kicks), maybe you can sue them for slandering the 4G brand as well as false advertising? With new power comes new lawsuits. It's the American way.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      You are presuming that the ITU gets to be the one and only one organization to define "4G".
  • by mlts (1038732) * on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:49PM (#34129508)

    I guess marketing won out. 4G is everything on data, while 3G is data/voice separated.

    T-Mobile has been having some very competitive speed rates compared to Sprint/Clear's WiMax service, so anyone who offers faster wireless speeds is appreciated.

    Now, if we can firmly plan the boot in the derriere of the cellular companies and get them to start getting Advanced LTE out on a large scale, we'll be set.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by afidel (530433)
      HSPA+ supports a pure data layer, though I'm not sure if this is the mode T-mobile rolled out.
      • by mlts (1038732) *

        I am guessing they didn't, although I could be absolutely wrong. From what I get, HSPA+ is being rolled out as an incremental feature to get T-Mobile competing with Sprint/Clear. Since it does not require much tower modification, nor adding of new towers, it is a good interim upgrade until Advanced LTE [1] gets deployed.

        It levels the playing field. AT&T has the iPhone. Sprint has 4G/Clear. T-Mobile has Wi-Max bandwidth on GSM devices. Verizon Wireless has the top tier Android devices.

        [1]: IIRC, L

        • by afidel (530433)
          T-Mobile already supports UMA so they probably have the infrastructure to go pure IP, it probably came down to whether switching out boards in the towers was more expensive than the savings on backhaul connections. Overall I don't care whether it's called 4G or not, it's plenty fast and competes well against the top tier offering from their competitors (possibly better due to lower user numbers and hence lower contention ratios).
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by drunken-yeti (1874620)
      So ISDN is pure digital and ADSL is analog converted into digital at the DSLAM, so I should go with ISDN right......
  • I think it will be a long while before we see this follow through! I have heard Sprint talk about 4G and how great their service is... but I have yet to see them follow through on that!
  • by Animaether (411575) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:51PM (#34129538) Journal

    it seems hard to condemn companies too harshly for using a marketing catch-phrase.

    Hmm, no.. I'm not finding myself having any trouble doing this whatsoever.

    Everybody knew there would be -a standard- referred to as 4G eventually... hijacking that for "marketing catch phrase" purposes gains them no sympathy other than from other marketeers.

    Think of it this way.. if Microsoft were to start offering "IE9 with HTML 6 support" where "HTML 6" is not clearly defined, would you have any trouble whatsoever condemning them?

    • by Snotman (767894)
      The question is even if there was a plan, had the term 4G been trademarked previously? If not, then wouldn't Sprint own the term irrespective of what the crystal ball foretells.
      • by suutar (1860506)
        Only if Sprint registered it, and a search at the PTO doesn't seem to indicate that it has been. (I'm not surprised, '4G' is really about as generic as '486', and that was declared untrademarkable... hence the term 'Pentium').
        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          Then it also hasn't been trademarked by the ITU.

          I don't see how this is intentionally misleading - it definitely is Sprints fourth generation network, which is what 4G stands for. If anything it's the ITU who has hijacked something here, not Sprint.

          Besides, 1G-4G are as much standards as the OSI model of networks is a standard. They aren't really standards, they are just categorizations of different mobile technologies. The actual standards, like CDMA, GSM, EDGE, EVDO, HSPA, etc. are inside the loose cat

          • by hazydave (96747)

            1G-4G aren't standards per se, they're performance metrics. Your specific standard either meets the appropriate ITU standard, or it doesn't. Everyone knows what the "Gs" mean (or at least used to), but the ITU doesn't formally use "G" in their specification names. So there's not much likelihood anyone can call Sprint or T-Mobile on this... other than informally, like here, in articles, etc.

            It'll be interesting to see when someone actually does roll out real 4G. Will they take on the others and promote that

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      GSM/UMTS is a standard. CDMA2000 is a standard.

      3G and 4G are not standards. They're marketing terms to describe the speed of data networks. 4G currently refers to anything drastically faster than 3G; how much faster is up for debate.

      It's worth noting that HTML5 for a long time didn't have any kind of standards support, and was developed outside the W3C by Mozilla, Apple, and Opera.

      • It's worth noting that HTML5 for a long time didn't have any kind of standards support, and was developed outside the W3C by Mozilla, Apple, and Opera.

        They formed a new group, the WHATWG, and according to Wikipedia:

        The WHATWG was formed in response to the slow development of web standards monitored by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and its decision to abandon HTML in favor of XML-based technologies. The WHATWG mailing list was announced on 4 June 2004,[3] two days after the initiatives of a joint Opera–Mozilla position paper had been voted down by the W3C members at the W3C Workshop on Web Applications and Compound Documents.[4]

        On 10 April 2007, the Mozilla Foundation, Apple and Opera Software proposed[5] that the new HTML working group of the W3C adopt the WHATWG’s HTML5 as the starting point of its work and name its future deliverable "HTML5". On 9 May 2007, the new HTML working group resolved to do that.[6]

        I don't remember browsers being marketed as being "HTML5 compatible" until there was a strong body of work identifying what HTML5 was.

        If WHATWG didn't move forward, we'd still be trapped by the monstrosity that is XHTML. They forked, got momentum then unified their work back into W3C. They did it the right way.

    • This already happens, except with all companies with browsers. HTML5 is not a complete spec, nor will it be until around 2012. Any browser saying it is HTML5 is doing the same as T-mobile/Sprint were saying they are 4G.
    • a better example is if Ford started to market their new cars "with full support for hovercraft landing pads"
    • by PRMan (959735)
      If HTML1-5 were used freely by manufacturers and then they suddenly had their terminology hijacked by a standards body for HTML6, then not really, no.
    • by rrhal (88665)
      Face it - we'd condemn Microsoft even if it actually did have HTML 6 support. The level of truthyness acceptable in advertising is a pretty low bar; consider "This is the famous Budweiser beer. We know of no brand produced by any other brewer which costs to much to brew and age..."
  • ITU Can shove it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:53PM (#34129568)

    As much as i'd love to have the speeds the ITU declares 4g, I find it extremely rude they put such a high "requirement" to label 4G after 4G has been used as the name for the next level of speeds already.

    Sprints WiMax network IS a different technology that gives higher speeds than 3G, so why wouldn't it be called 4G? its the 4th generation of tech.

    For the ITU to come and say "no, you're not 4G, your 3.5G" is stupid.

    They need to make their specs 6G or so, as for now those requirements are pretty far fetched.

    Ignore the ITU, Sprint and Verizon do have 4G, just someones getting a lil too hopeful in the ITU dept.

    When standards places start getting unrealistic, they lose the value of trying to follow them...

    • Well G5 is still up for grabs so far...
      • Cool, can I have that Mac? If it's still up for grabs, that is. I want it to keep it below OS X Lion; The Closed App OS.

    • Or at least tie it to something that isn't arbitrary. For instance call 10mbs 10M, 100mbs 100M etc...

    • by lmnfrs (829146)

      Sprints WiMax network IS a different technology that gives higher speeds than 3G, so why wouldn't it be called 4G? its the 4th generation of tech.

      It could just be called WiMax. It's not actually the fourth generation, it's just a new generation after 3G and 3.5G were prominent.

    • by hazydave (96747)

      The ITU didn't "come and say no". They put out their next generation requirements in 2005-2006, long before any of the chips used in these networks existed (the spec is actually called IMT-Advanced, just as the "3G" spec was actually called "IMT-2000"). Everyone knows this was "4G", since the ITU had set every prior standard. No, they didn't (and probably couldn't) trademark "4G"... if anyone could have, Apple would have, year ago. Both LTE and WiMax were known to not meet the ITU 4G specs long before any

  • Yes I can... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @04:56PM (#34129624)
    condemn them harshly. I'm tired of marketing speech in lieu of specific, technical, facts. It become so much easier for average Joe consumer to believe in unicorns and white elephants when the marketing department is in charge. Unicorns and white elephants of course come with lofty price tags and a greater popularity which exclude legitimately superior products from the market.
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      technical facts like it operates differently, using different equipment, and is faster?
    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Facts like it's the fourth generation of network technology and is significantly faster than previous technologies, right?

      Oh wait, if you include those facts you must conclude that the ITU is being a bunch of arrogant assholes, and T-Mobile and Sprint are absolutely correct calling their technologies 4G.

      • It is their fourth generation technology. It is not the 4G specifications published by ITU. To call it 4G with the implied relationship to ITU's 4G specification is disingenuous. If they were to call it T-Mobile's fourth generation technology that would be different. However, it would also necessitate the publication of facts about their fourth generation technology, not marketing spin. With out technical details about capabilities--such as is defined in the ITU 4G spec.--it becomes yet another pissing
  • Stupid ITU (Score:5, Informative)

    by pavon (30274) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:00PM (#34129668)

    This is stupid. The designators 2G 3G 4G have never been anything but simplistic marketing terms for grouping protocols with similar relative performance relative. LTE and WiMax both deliver significant improvements over previous technologies, so they need some designator to describe this to the general public. ITU drew an arbitrary line that excludes these technologies from being called 4G, while incremental improvements on them (LTE Advanced) do qualify. Why should a major upgrade be given a .5 designator, while minor improvement on that increments the major number?

    These networks aren't any less capable as a result of ITUs announcement - it is the term 4G that is now less useful.

    • Re:Stupid ITU (Score:4, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:05PM (#34129744)
      Exactly. The terms just mean the new generation of technology, an informal thing at best. It's like game consoles. Every cycle you have the "next generation" consoles. It's just a way to informally let someone know which cycle the technology comes from, relative to the current one in use and the new one being rolled in. Why don't people get up in arms about actual objective claims, like bandwidth or whatever?
      • by mmaniaci (1200061)

        It's just a way to informally let someone know which cycle the technology comes from, relative to the current one in use and the new one being rolled in.

        Not it isn't. They are not saying they have the "next generation" technology... they would say exactly that if it was the case. What they are doing is abusing consumers' lack of networking and electronics knowledge in order to increase profits. Nobody [that isn't a techie] knows what speed their cellphone transfers data at. They wouldn't know what the number really meant if they did, too. That is probably how they justified all this nG bullshit to begin with. On the other hand, consumers can compare one nu

    • by gblackwo (1087063)
      No, The cellphone world managed just fine before the labeling of generations and the creation of "2G". It was only after they realized they could entice people into buying new phones every year by changing a moniker that they started doing it annually despite whether or not there were major changes in the hardware or not.
      • by PRMan (959735)
        There's only been 4 generations in a span of about 10 years that I have had a phone, so the generations are more like every 2.5 years.
  • I'm really sick of people being able to get in contact with me whenever they want, it makes it very hard to nap in the afternoon. What I want is a carrier to offer a service that causes me to not get all the stupid calls that cut into relaxation time.--- Boss: "Why didn't you answer your phone last night, I had a stupid problem that should have wasted hours of your time!" Me: "Oh, sorry, my new Zero G cell phone only takes calls from people within 25 feet of me and only works from 8am-4pm with two hours of
    • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:44PM (#34130238)
      My Blackberry Bold 9700 offers this service. It is called OFF. You activate this service by pressing the red key on the front panel. Alternatively, you can also activate this service by doing a battery pull hard reboot and setting the phone and battery down side by side. The OFF function will remain activated until you reinsert the battery in the morning or after your nap. I believe that most mobile phones come with this feature, although the location and color of the button may vary by manufacturer and model.
    • Isn't that what the power button is for? I'm pretty sure all mobile phones have had such an option for... ever?

    • I can still have my alarms go off (an hour early sometimes!) and play my precious games without being bothered by a call.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hazydave (96747)

      Get an iPhone. Problem solved.

  • I have been working in the IT/Telecom/Wireless areana for 15 years now, and everytime one of those Sprint 4G adds come on, my blood really begins to boil - my wife doesn't understand why this gets me angry (she is not technical at all). I wish that people/companies/marketing would get the fact that there are standards and "bending the truth" does actually do harm. Language means something, standards mean something.
  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:02PM (#34129700) Homepage

    The article wasn't very enlightening. So what is the standard for 4G?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by blair1q (305137)

      It's G more than 3G.

      Sheesh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rwa2 (4391) *

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4G [wikipedia.org]

      All those "#G" designations are all pretty much bald-faced marketing lies... that barely even correspond to the (pretty useful) table at the bottom of that wikipedia page.

      FWIW, the "3.5G" HSDPA network that T-Mobile has deployed works pretty damn well on my HTC Slide Android phone (running CyanogenMOD 6.0 ~= Froyo 2.2). The latency is noticeably lower than EDGE or 3G, and the Xtremelabs Speedtest routinely returns over 1Mbps downlink on their network.

      They're probably "roundin

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      It's whatever the ITU made up, because apparently they are gods and all must bow down to their loose definitions of cellphone technologies.

      Never mind the fact that 4G actually means fourth generation, and these new technologies are in fact fourth generation mobile technologies. Nope, forget all that, it's whatever the ITU wants it to be.

    • by hazydave (96747)

      100Mb/s peak for highly mobile links, 1Gb/s peak for stationary links. All packet-switched IP data-only, some other things. The qualifying specifications, so far, are LTE Advanced (new version of LTE) and 802.16m (new version of WiMax).

  • by rta (559125) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:07PM (#34129772)

    T-mobile's own 4G "launch" phone doesn't distinguish in the interface between the HSPA "3G" and the HSPA+ "4G" as far as i can tell. The user interface used to say "G" "E" "3G" for GPRS, EDGE and HSPA now was just changed to say "G", "E" and "H" as far as i can tell.

    Also, i live in one of the cities that supposedly has this coverage but I still only see speeds usually less than 1 Mbps down though now i get almost 2Mbps upload speed for whatever that's worth. Perhaps i should go around downtown in search of the supposed fast speeds.

    Fortunately, 1 Meg is fine for my usage of the phone as i just use it for maps, web browsing and email etc, and the G2 has been a good phone, but the marketing around this stuff is deplorable as usual. (I say as usual because i've been paying for their unlimited data plan for something like 7 years now and the actual capabilities of the phones/network pretty much lag the advertising by one full generation.)

    • Don't actually go downtown for better speed, unless you're in a very small town. Buildings do nothing but deflect signals. Signal strength is likely better in a downtown park, even if it's full of trees, than between buildings.

      • by hazydave (96747)

        Depends on the frequencies. Trees are really effective at eating higher frequency radio signals, such as Sprint's 2500MHz WiMax.

  • 15 USC 1125(a) says:

    (a) Civil action
    (1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which—
    (A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or

    • by PRMan (959735)

      his or her or another person’s goods, services, or commercial activities"

      So, you're saying that ITU-R should be careful here?

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      What did they misrepresent? It is in fact the fourth generation of cell phone communications technology.

      If anything it's the ITU's definition that is misleading, as it will take at least three more generations of cell tech to reach "4G".

      • by hazydave (96747)

        It's not fourth generation... T-Mobile's HSPA+ is a tweak to the 3G HSPA standard. At least LTE and WiMax are actual next generation technologies, even if they don't yet meet the ITU's spec for "4G". You can also tell they're next generation spec because they're continuing to evolve. HSPA+ is pretty much the end of the line for the 3GPP's set of 3G technologies. Sprint could boost things again, if they have the bandwidth, by bonding two cells (this is also supported... but you need 10MHz per channel, rather

  • you're being told to buy something new and expensive, and you're being told lies about it. this hasnt changed for the majority of the technological frontiers expansion. the gigabyte was 1024 megs, you were told a nice even 1000.
    computer monitors often had higher resolution than 1080P, you were told 1080p trumped all other image quality standards.
    retina displays in iphones delivered a sharper display, you were told the display allowed "the highest resolution phone ever"
    carriers routinely drop and mangle
  • How can there be any ambiguity about this? Either it's 4th Generation, or it's not. One of the linked articles talk about how "T-Mobile's '4G' network is based on a technology called HSPA+. For years, it has been considered more of a 3.5G technology than real 4G."

    No such thing as a half-gen. A generation is simply a (hopefully improved) iteration of a specific thing. The ITU issuing a statement as to what they think 4G is becomes meaningless, if you're trying to use an inappropriate term to describe somethi

    • by adavies42 (746183)

      G4: ??? (Cybernetically-implanted wireless voice communications, maybe?)

      i'd say either neutrino-based (no reception problems in the subway!), quantum-entanglement-based (zero lag, guaranteed!), or tachyon-based (get the message before it's sent!). just moving the phone to the inside of my head isn't worth a major version number bump.

      • by idontgno (624372)

        i'd say either neutrino-based (no reception problems in the subway!)

        The good news is that holding the phone "the wrong way" doesn't affect reception either. The bad news is that the antenna is 1/2 light-year of lead. (Apple wanted to use neutronium, but it decays explosively when removed from Steve's RDF. Apple R&D is undertaking extensive marketing^Wresearch activity to address this.)

        quantum-entanglement-based (zero lag, guaranteed!)

        I hear that Sprint and HTC are signing up Gordon Freeman as their n

    • by prockcore (543967)

      I love that the ITU is trying to standardize what is basically a version number.

      It'd be like saying "Chrome 7 can't possibly be called that because it's doesn't match our standards for what a Version 7 browser does".

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Miamicanes (730264)

      > How can there be any ambiguity about this? Either it's 4th Generation, or it's not.

      Er, no it's not, In Sprint's universe, at least (where international standards in general, and GSM in particular, are largely irrelevant), WiMax IS unambiguously their fourth major leap forward, and arguably their fourth major modulation change.

      0G: prehistoric insofar as SprintPCS goes (Sprint Spectrum existed, but it was a totally unrelated company owned by Sprint that ended up being sold off and eventually agglomeratin

      • by znerk (1162519)

        > How can there be any ambiguity about this? Either it's 4th Generation, or it's not.

        Er, no it's not, In Sprint's universe, at least (where international standards in general, and GSM in particular, are largely irrelevant), WiMax IS unambiguously their fourth major leap forward, and arguably their fourth major modulation change.

        I'm sorry, maybe I'm failing at reading comprehension; are you arguing for or against this being 4G?

        Failing that, since you seem to be arguing both sides... are you sure you're replying to the correct post?

      • by hazydave (96747)

        No one's sharing spectrum. Sprint has gobs of it, like 90MHz in many cities (well, it's actually Sprint, Clear, Comcast, and even a little Intel and Google in there as well), but it's unfortunately at 2500MHz. AT&T and Verizon are both doing LTE at 700MHz, but on different chunks (Verizon's chunk is about twice as fat as AT&T's).

        The big advantage of LTE is that they changed the upstream modulation from OFDM to SC-FDMA (Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access). This offers a variety of adva

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      No, we're talking about mobile phone technologies. A more reasonable generation list would be this:

      G1: Analog.
      G2: Digital.
      G3: Even more descretized than digital. Perhaps using a full byte to encode each bit.
      G4: Using digital technology to run a physical simulation of a G3 telephone performing the call. The towers are also running simulations of G3 towers.
      G5: Marketed as the mobile network of the future but it runs too hot and IBM can't deliver enough units.
  • The Solution. . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JSBiff (87824) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:26PM (#34129994) Journal

    The Solution for the ITU, FCC, et al., is to abandon the term '4G' - it's already out in the wild. I don't think they can really enforce this - basically, Sprint, etc. are 'grandfathered'. Back when 2G, or 3G were being considered, an appropriate standards body like the ITU should have Trademarked the term 4G, so this could never have happened. But it has, too bad.

    So the answer is to create a new, catchy trademarked term, which people can only use the trademark if they *actually conform to the standard*. Something similar in concept to the "Wifi" trademark - I may be wrong, but I believe you cannot call your product "Wifi" if it actually isn't fully conforming, because it's a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, and you need permission from the trademark holder. The problem with "4G" was that companies started using it before anyone had trademarked it, so if it's demonstrably better than '3G', and there's no definition of '4G', I suppose you can't really say it's *not* 4G. Someone else can't come along after the fact and define 4G after someone's already started using it.

    • by KZigurs (638781)

      Hmm... Will 5G do?
      Catchy, cool and best of all - perfectly fine to use*.

      *Until somebody bothers to define it and we have to move on to more Gs' again.

  • But now that the ITU has provided a standard against which the FCC and FTC can judge truth in advertising, T-Mobile's new 4G ad campaign is a 'bald-faced lie,' Gruman writes."

    This looks like a job for... Felten-man!! [slashdot.org] Dum-Da-Da-Dum!!!!

  • Would someone tell me how this happened? We were the fucking vanguard of cell data in this country. The AT&T iPhone was the phone to own. Then the other guy came out with a 3G phone and service plan. Were we scared? Hell, no. Because we hit back with a little thing called the 3GS. That's three g's and an s. For something-or-other. But you know what happened next? Shut up, I'm telling you what happened—the bastards went to four g's. Now we're standing around with our cocks in our hands, selling thr
    • > We were the fucking vanguard of cell data in this country. The AT&T iPhone was the phone to own.

      Until, that is, they got owned by the Rogue Rooted Android Alliance ;-)

    • by hazydave (96747)

      iPhone names don't have much to do with performance. Apparently, "3G" and "3GS" only meant "3G download" anyway, since iPhones were stuck at 384kb/s uploads until the iPhone 4... which isn't a "4G" at all, just a "4". At least Apple's not false advertising that part of it. They have decided so, in fact, get entirely out of the "G" race. They're all about more pixels these days...

  • I think the FCC and FTC should require that the allowable advertised rate/catchphrase for any mobile provider should be limited to the SLOWEST installed cell in their network.

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