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WSJ: AT&T Relabels its 3G Network, 4G


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5 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 07:41 PM

"AT&T flipped a switch Wednesday and turned on
its 4G wireless network. The switch, however,
was in the company's marketing department."


AT&T Pins 4G Label to Existing Network

Wall Street Journal
By ROGER CHENG, January 5, 2011

By relabeling its existing 3G network, the country's second-largest wireless carrier joined the noisy fray over so-called fourth-generation wireless technology, which promises mobile Internet speeds so fast that huge files can be downloaded in minutes and streaming video can be watched without the interruptions of earlier-generation technologies.

As recently as September, AT&T executives had referred to the company's current network, which runs on a technology it calls HSPA-plus, as 3G. But AT&T has subtly shifted its marketing message since then, now proclaiming "the nation's fastest mobile broadband network" instead of the fastest 3G network.

The 4G network claim is already prominent on its consumer website and will be affixed to new phones being rolled out for its network this year. >>>
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More @ WSJ.com

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#2 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 07:44 PM

Perhaps AT&T should relabel its marketing department, the "Lie Department".

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#3 OFFLINE   tcusta00

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 07:46 PM

I don't think that article is quite accurate. I can't find anything on AT&T's site that's calling their current network 4G... it's all still referred to as 3G and claims that 4G is coming later this year.

#4 OFFLINE   4HiMarks

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 11:02 AM

Isn't 3G, 4G and anything else "G" just marketing hype anyway? What are the tech specs of 3G vs 4G? Anything like USB 1.1 vs USB 2.0?
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#5 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 11:33 AM

Actually the ITU, which is the UN body that sets voluntary standards for telephony, has a fixed standard for 3G. They came out with one for 4G but the problem was that nothing in the US would meet it until LTE-Advanced rolled out. So, much like the other recommendations the ITU makes, the US simply ignored it and called anything faster than 1st generation HSPA "4G." In an interesting turn of fate the ITU backed away and now says they are considering a broader definition of 4G.

In case you were curious, countries with phone numbers like ours, e.g. (000) 000-0000 ignore the ITU's standard for telephony, while countries that don't, e.g. everyone but us, Canada, and a few others, don't.
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#6 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 11:20 AM

For more information on this here's an article from ZDNet which explains:

The biggest surprise at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was how AT&T and T-Mobile showed off their 4G networks....

What AT&T and T-Mobile did was to re-brand their enhanced 3G networks (sometimes called 3.5G) by simply renaming them “4G” networks. Voila! In other words, this is mostly a marketing ploy.

However, to be fair, both T-Mobile and AT&T have been making legitimate upgrades to their 3G networks that actually approach 4G speeds — at least the same kinds of 4G speeds that Sprint/Clearwire sees on its WiMAX network. Verizon’s LTE has even higher speeds.


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