Originally Posted by starbird73
It still baffles me that AT&T's approach was, "Hey, we are not as far along as Verizon on LTE roll out. Verizon is calling that 4G. Let's make our customers out to be suckers and rebrand our HSPA as 4G. Then we instantly have "the largest 4G network!""
That isn't what they did. T-Mobile USA started calling their HSPA+ '4G' a couple yeas ago. Initially AT&T said that wasn't fair but they couldn't do anything about it because there is no organization that decides where '3G' ends and '4G' starts for mobile network operators. It's just a cardinal number with a letter appended to it. The iPhone 4 is '4G' as in the 4th generation iPhone, it doesn't mean it has '4G' cellular components*.
So you have T-Mobile USA advertising as such so AT&T jumped on board. And it makes sense. Saying that you have to wait for LTE for '4G' is ridiculous. Using 3GPP and 3GPP2 standards the slowest theoretical maximum speed of a '3G' is CDMA2000 1X with a whopping speed of 153 Kbit/s. If we compare that to the old ITU definition of '3G' you find that HSPA+ has a current theoretical maximum speed of 168 Mbit/s (172,032 Kbit/s) and LTE has 299.6 Mbit/s (306,790 Kbit/s).
That's a performance increase of 112,439% for HSPA+ and 200,516% for LTE that we are told all belong in the same generational category as a marketing term presented to the average consumer. What makes this even worse is that HSPA+ had download speeds just as fast as LTE (and in some cases much faster) but we calling them '3G' while calling the slower tech '4G' simply because a part of the underlying tech that the customer won't ever understand has potential several years from now from exceeding the '3G's underlying tech. Does that really make sense to have such a huge divide between generations for a customer-facing designation?
Customers don't care about what underlying air interfaces and channel access methods these technologies use; they only care about what offers more or less performance. The variance to far too large to be useful. While things might get better as we move into more LTE connected devices and the disparity in performance differences between LTE networks and devices grow we're still going to be faced with the same issue of the device either saying LTE or 4G.
Bottom line, telling a customer that something with a potential for 337.5 Mbit/s '3G' whilst calling something that can barely get 2Mbit/s '4G' is stupid. My solution for marketing that the average customer could understand would be to start with a base-level theoretical maximum speed that uses the small common factor between the tower and handset. For example, let's refer to 10 Mbit/s as 1x. For 14.4 Mbit/s HSPA+ the handset would show 1.4x, for 21.1Mbit/s HSPA+ it would round to 2x, for 42Mit/s DC-HSDPA it would show 4x, and for 100Mbit/s LTE it would show 10x, etc. All you have to know is if a number is higher or lower than another.
* We're also on the 3rd gen LTE chips and 2nd gen Qualcomm Gobi LTE chips.