4G wireless networks—more of a marketing than a technological breakthrough?

Jan 6, 2011

If you own a smart phone you already know that your gadget is only as good as the network that supports it—ask any frustrated iPhone owner who has to deal with the occasionally unreliable speeds and connectivity of AT&T’s wireless network. So while carriers roll out new & improved “4G” high speed broadband networks, consumers should be asking what they’re really getting from networks that are supposed to be faster and will certainly be more expensive. AT&T flipped the switch on its new 4G network yesterday, the only problem being that all they did was change the name of its existing 3G system. Sprint was the first carrier to offer 4G service but it’s spotty at best; and Verizon is already marketing a network that’s supposed to be faster than 4G, without perfecting or even fully implementing their own 4G approach. While it all sounds great, how is a cell phone consumer supposed to know exactly what they’re getting for their money?

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