In the past couple of years, as 3G has become pervasive, cellphone providers haven't been able to rely on the term anymore in marketing ads. So it's no surprise that as soon as newer technologies get introduced, they start touting that they are now offering the next step above that, 4G. The problem is that whether it's Sprint offering WiMax, or Verizon offering LTE, these new technologies simply aren't 4G. The actual definition of 4G is something that none of the wireless companies can define, as that job belongs to the International Communications Union (ITU)--and according to them, none of the carriers met the requirements to really be called 4G. In fact, the ITU hadn't even provided a clear, final decision as to what could and could not be called 4G. This left customers confused as to who had the actual faster networks.
Now, it seems that the ITU has decided to back down, and cave to the various network providers. Over the weekend, the organization released a statement saying "As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as '4G,' although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed." Once again, it seems they do their best to remain unclear and confusing, but what did change is that now when a Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon ad claims their 4G speed, they will actually be accurate. So a few days ago, no one had 4G in North America--now almost everyone does.
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