Here’s the latest reason not to trust the phone company: They’re spinning you with marketing BS to make it look like their current “3G” wireless networks are brand-new, next-generation networks.
Specifically, AT&T joined T-Mobile yesterday as the latest to re-label its current 3G network as “4G.”
The idea is to make it look like AT&T and T-Mobile are on the same level of technology as Sprint and Verizon, which have launched new 4G networks ahead of their competitors.
Specifically, AT&T had previously called its HSPA+ network “3G,” but now it’s using faster speeds to market it as “4G,” the same as T-Mobile is doing. The theory is that consumers might not know the difference, so the telcos might as well just tell them they’re getting something new.
Dow Jones’ Roger Cheng explains the nuance and why this is sort-of kosher: “The claims are relatively easy to make because the International Telecommunications Union, the wireless industry standards body, hasn’t set a firm 4G definition. The United Nation agency is working to formalise one. In the meantime, the agency in December blessed applying the term to advanced 3G technologies.”
AT&T will launch a new 4G network, too, using the same LTE technology that Verizon’s 4G network is already using. But it seems to want to jump the gun with marketing “4G-like” performance ahead of time. And since T-Mobile is already doing it, it doesn’t look as scummy.
Not like you held the world’s telecom giants in high regard, anyway.