updated 04:30 am EST, Sun December 19, 2010
T-Mobile 4G claims gain some credence
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has issued a press release that has expanded the use of the term 4G. Technologies that can now carry the 4G label include regular LTE, WiMAX and even what it broadly refers to as "evolved 3G technologies". Previously it had maintained that the only technologies that would fit any definition of 4G would have to comply with either LTE Advanced or WiMAX 2.
T-Mobile had previously sparked controversy by applying the 4G label to its HSPA+ network, based largely on the ability of its network to outperform Sprint's WiMAX service. It would now seem that T-Mobile can legitimately make its claim unless the ITU defines performance expectations for the what it now labels "evolved" 3G technologies.
The latest statement by the ITU appears to be a concession to the way the term has been used in the marketing of telecommunications technologies and renders the definition of 4G so broad that it will inevitably lead to confusion for consumers in the coming years. T-Mobile's network operates at 14.4 Mbps while the term was originally intended to only be applied to networks sporting speeds in excess of 100Mbps.