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ITU Rules That WiMax, LTE Don't Qualify As 4G 137

Posted by timothy
from the ok-roll-camera-but-say-3g-plus dept.
GMGruman writes "It's official: All those ads and vendor claims about 4G services being offered today or being right around the corner are fiction. The international standards body ITU has ruled that Clearwire's WiMax network and the LTE systems that Verizon and others are just starting to roll out are not in fact 4G services. Oops."
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ITU Rules That WiMax, LTE Don't Qualify As 4G

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    HOLY SHIT! I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS! Some marketing drones who don't understand the technologies they're pushing have made a mistake and mislabeled them while attempting to make them sound better than they are. THIS CANNOT BE!

    • Some marketing drones who don't understand the technologies they're pushing have made a mistake and mislabeled them while attempting to make them sound better than they are.

      I'm sure they could come up with some new advertising slogan... Lessee there was the old standard, 3G, and we're so much better than THAT. But, we cannot say we meet the new standard, 4G. What we need is something that's better than 3... I've got it!

      Get your piece of the Pi! 3.14159G

      <grin>

      Ya, it'll never work; just Pi in the sky.

  • Who cares ? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The last mile problem isn't the bottleneck , limited data plans , limited data rates , and limited bandwidth due to over-congested areas are the main problem.
    Mobile service providers want to sell you expensive "minutes" , offering good data plans would turn them into ordinary Internet providers and everybody would be swinging sip phones and talking they're mouth off for 20$ a month.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sznupi (719324)

      You know, new generation of tech is specifically meant to address the "limited data rates , and limited bandwidth due to over-congested areas" stuff; at least in theory.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I was using limited as in artificially limited. Most providers won't give you what the current technology provides. They will QOS it on the backbone like it's nobody's business .
        As for the over-congested areas , they could de-congest those by adding more base stations with narrower angle antennas.But they won't. The only reason they'd rather shovel money into this tech rather than more of the old is because this way they can get more profit from either phone sales or the usual 2 year contract they come with

        • by AHuxley (892839)
          Rust belt tech milked until past its fall apart stage while propaganda soothes your mind and next gen stuck on bling makes you smile.
          That new phone starting to feel a bit like a Trabant in your pocket?
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4xZgxDffac [youtube.com]
        • by hedwards (940851)
          Indeed, in Seattle, AT&T appears to have a dozen or so towers, all of them are way up north or way south, with none actually in the city limits as far as I can tell. Whereas T-Mobile seems to have a half dozen in my neighborhood alone.

          While distance wise, 5 miles or so isn't too bad, trying to cram that many phones onto the same towers definitely isn't the way to decent reliability.
    • by mikkelm (1000451)

      "and limited bandwidth due to over-congested areas are the main problem"

      Wait, how is that not a last mile problem, and how is that not a bottleneck?

  • They'll just pour more money into marketing/lobbying whatever the ITU is until they change their mind. When does a multibillion-dollar corporation not get what they want?

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @09:41AM (#33995974)

      . . . whatever the ITU is . . .

      The ITU http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Telecommunication_Union [wikipedia.org] is pretty damn important. They define all sorts of worldwide standards for the telecommunication industry.

      If you visit Geneva, take a walk by their headquarters.

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @09:55AM (#33996028) Journal

        Not sure that it matters. When oil companies started marketing Type II Natural oil as "synthetic" the trade/standards committee called foul. So the oil companies went to court, found a judge to declare "if the oil acts like synthetic, even though it's natural, it can be marketed as 'synthetic' on the bottle." Now you can't be sure if your oil is a True Type IV synthetic built in a lab, or natural oil from the ground.

        So the cellular companies will just find some compliant US judge to declare their service is "as fast as G4" and can be marketed as 'G4' on the label, without violating false advertising laws. Done deal.

        • If they start marketing G4 I think they might get sued by Apple even though it's been replaced by Intel chips.
        • by fluffy99 (870997)

          Except the 4G standard doesn't necessarily define what speed you'll get. It defines a latency and target speeds. Even worse, there is absolutely no guarantee of interoperability between 4G products. The reality is that the consumers probably won't a difference between 3G and 4G. At least not in the current implementations of WiMax or LTE. What they will notice is better bandwidth, which being 4G compliant doesn't guarantee anymore than using Ca6 cable guarantees better bandwidth over a Cat5 cable*.

          *An in

      • by horza (87255)

        Really? I thought the ITU had become increasingly irrelevant over the past couple of decades. With ETSI controlling mobile standards, and IETF regulating Internet standards (with W3C specifically for web), what exactly to the ITU do any more? I read the Wikipedia page and it sounds as toothless as the UN itself.

        Phillip.

        • by sznupi (719324)

          On the plus side it might mean that the "more money into marketing/lobbying" of grandparent is even more irrelevant, thanks to E part of ETSI? (and even more thanks to F...)

      • The ITU is an INTERnational standards organization promulgating standards for interconnection of telephone equipment. Telephone equipment manufacturers pay attention to their regulations because the carriers want equipment that works together and often puts ITU standards in their requirements when they ask vendors to bid on supplying them with equipment.

        That does not give it any standing at all in the US domestic advertising market, or in trademark law. (If ANSI had done it they MIGHT have had more clout.

    • by imroy (755)

      When does a multibillion-dollar corporation not get what they want?

      When the standards body is headquartered in Europe?

  • by justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @08:43AM (#33995712)
    Personnally, I'll wait for mobiles that go to 11G
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So given that the ad aired after the announcement, does that mean that I can sue for false advertising or something? I figure, hey, if I'm in the US and have to deal with all of the crazy lawsuits out there, I might as well get my own piece of the action, eh? :-)

    -- Qubit

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by biryokumaru (822262)
      No, like you said, you're in the US. You can only win a lawsuit here if you're a multi-billion dollar corporation. Sorry.
    • by Surt (22457)

      No. The ITU doesn't hold any legal standing to set advertising standards in the US, except by direct contract with member companies. It is possible the ITU could sue for breach of contract, but no one has standing for a false advertising claim.

      • by Nethead (1563)

        And as a side note: One thing that differentiates Clearwire/Sprint WiMax is that it is a 100% IPv4 network. From the user device to the net. The whole network from the tower to data center is Layer 2 Ethernet. Clearwire is not a telco, it is truly an ISP.

      • by Verdatum (1257828)
        This is correct. When Sprint started boasting "The first 4g network" or whatever, I looked into it, and was surprised to see no evidence that ITU had ever bothered to trademark "4G". The ITU has _implicitly_ always maintained that WiMax isn't 4G, and that LTE has not yet been standardized, and merely a candidate for 4G. This announcement just makes it explicit. But still, it's just like, their opinion, man.
  • by sick_soul (794596) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @08:54AM (#33995752)

    LTE-Advanced did qualify for 4G,

    http://www.3gpp.org/ITU-R-Confers-IMT-Advanced-4G [3gpp.org]

    but it's just a set of standards for now afaik, that still need to be implemented.

  • 4G = 100Mbps (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Clearwire's WiMax and Verizon's LTE networks operate between 3-12Mbps.

    Boys better stop advertising 4G...

    • by fluffy99 (870997)

      Clearwire's WiMax and Verizon's LTE networks operate between 3-12Mbps.

      Boys better stop advertising 4G...

      4G 100 Mbps.

      Read the standard, or even read the article which mentions this. 100 Mbps is a target speed. That's like claiming its not ADSL because your wiring distance holds you to 1meg negotiated rates.

  • HSPA+ (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Poor T-Mobiles HSPA+ network is even less qualified than the others. Oh well, T-Mo is cheap!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually it is MORE qualified at ~21Mbps, but still not the 100Mbps needed for 4G
  • How long until a class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of the Sprint customers that bought Evo and Epic phones?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Da_Reapa (1683318)
      Maybe the phones themselves are 4G compatible, but the service isn't there for the phones.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by l3v1 (787564)
        Actually they might have a case here, since at Sprint you can find stuff all over about 4G Wireless Broadband Network and 4G Coverage and Speeds and First and Only Wireless 4G which clearly they can't provide, since their speeds seem a bit far from 4G standard specs.
        • Not only that, but they charge you an extra "4G" fee. You are required to pay for the 4G service on top of the 3G service in order to activate the phone.
          • by seinman (463076)
            And? I don't see why so many people complain about that. DSL/Cable users pay higher fees for faster data than dialup. Fiber users pay higher fees for faster data than DSL/Cable. Why shouldn't 4G users pay higher fees for faster data than 3G?
            • by fluffy99 (870997)

              And? I don't see why so many people complain about that. DSL/Cable users pay higher fees for faster data than dialup. Fiber users pay higher fees for faster data than DSL/Cable. Why shouldn't 4G users pay higher fees for faster data than 3G?

              Because the 4G service they provide isn't actually any faster?

            • Because they're not getting 4G?
            • by tepples (727027)

              You are required to pay for the 4G service on top of the 3G service in order to activate the phone.

              And? I don't see why so many people complain about that.

              Because people who don't live in a major major city don't have any 4G towers yet. For example, Sprint doesn't have any 4G towers in a city of 200,000 residents in northeast Indiana.

              DSL/Cable users pay higher fees for faster data than dialup.

              When you buy a smrtphone, it's as if you were buying a bundle of a computer and a modem. You can't buy the computer without a modem; otherwise, you'd have the so-called "Android pod touch", and Google doesn't want that on the market.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      >>>class action lawsuit

      It didn't work the last time Sprint advertised a "3G" phone, sold it to customers, and then when they rolled-out their network, the phone did not work (incompatible). Doubtful a lawsuit would succeed this time either.

      • by rdnetto (955205)

        Citation needed. Preferably to the actual judgment or at least an article citing it.

  • by ckret (321556) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @09:13AM (#33995848) Homepage

    The ITU's current technical definition in no way affects our plans to launch the world's first large-scale LTE network later this year.

    Ahem... Stockholm and Oslo already did that while back. I do think they are part of what you call "the world".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Overzeetop (214511)

      That's where the Large-Scale comes in. Compared to the land area of the US (i.e. Verizon's planned roll-out), they're what we would call "test markets."

      • by sznupi (719324) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @10:10AM (#33996152) Homepage

        What Verizon calls "large scale" is just the Houston area initially [vzw.com], with other major metropolitan areas and large airports following. You didn't really thought it will be a rapid rollout throughout most of the land area of the US, right? (BTW, Sweden and Norway have significantly lower population density)

        • Don't tell that to VZW marketing - they're claiming "4G" will be "network wide" soon. Though, just at 4G is now a bit of an exaggeration, is suspect soon is also valid only for very large values of soon.

          (FWIW, I'm an ATT customer; Verizon coverage sucks everywhere except population centers. It happens to suck slightly less than ATT in those marginal areas, but in my area not enough to make a difference)

        • by Bodero (136806)

          Did you even read the article you linked to? No, it's not most of the land area, but hardly "just the Houston area initially."

          Verizon announced today that it is bringing the world’s first large-scale 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to the Houston area. The initial availability of a 4G LTE wireless network in Houston is part of the company’s major network launch in 38 major metropolitan areas by the end of the year. In addition, the company is launching 4G LTE in more than 60 commercial air

          • by sznupi (719324)

            Did you even read the short 3 sentences I wrote? Here, I'll help you out: "...with other major metropolitan areas and large airports following."

            Still nothing in comparison to what many people bought.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      >>>"...to launch the world's* first large-scale LTE network later this year."
      >>>
      >>>Ahem... Stockholm and Oslo already did that while back.

      You missed the footnote: * (where "world" is defined as any territory equal or larger than the US). So that would exclude all the EU Member States/Cities. See how dishonest corporations are?

    • Note the words "large-scale". Stockholm and Oslo are two cities. Verizon was referring to a continent.

    • yeah but they're Socialist havens. Only capitalist countries like Japan and the US count.

  • After the whole "map" debacle, this should make them feel a bit better, regardless of how fast their service really is.

  • Duh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @09:40AM (#33995966) Homepage

    It seems kind of obvious, reading that Verizon's LTE can give 5 - 12Mbit and WiMax 3 - 6Mbit, doesn't it? How can they advertise that as 4G when my current 3G network (Cosmote in Greece) offers HSPA+ at up to 21Mbit and while I don't have an HSPA+ device to test that, I do get the 3-7Mbit that my HSDPA device promises. Now that I look at the specs, my N900 at 10/2 capability should be even faster than my 7.2Mbit usb modem, perhaps I should benchmark it to make sure and throw away the modem...

    • I thought the G simply referret to generation. A later generation isn't necessarily faster or better, just a design based on an earlier generation. Good example: Web 2.0.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mini me (132455)

        Web 2.0 is actually a bad example as it accomplished a completely different goal than Web 1.0. Web 1.0 was human consumable content. Formats like HTML that described what is a heading, and what is a paragraph, but not what was contained within that heading or paragraph.

        Web 2.0 brought formats based on XML, JSON, etc. which describe what the content is. What is a title, what is a price, etc. This allows computers to use the content in new ways that was only previously accomplishable using ugly scraping metho

        • Yes, Web 2.0 is all about taking protocols never designed for rigorous persistence and bending, twisting and warping them to make them work in a fashion that they were never designed for, rather than developing a protocol more appropriate for the client-server model.

          • Web 2.0 is all about [bending HTTP] rather than developing a protocol more appropriate for the client-server model.

            A proper client-server protocol is also far less likely to pass through a sophisticated organizational firewall than HTTP. AJAX allows client-server to go wherever HTTP goes.

          • by Macrat (638047)

            Yes, Web 2.0 is all about ...

            Wasn't "Web 2.0" just invented by O'Reilly in order to create another conference and sell another line of books?

    • by Jonavin (71006)

      Even 12Mbps doesn't sound super fast to me. In Canada we've had real world speeds higher than this from most carriers since the start of 2010. Even on our newest budget network (WIND Mobile) I've gotten real world speeds of 7Mbps on my N900.

      T-Mobile has even recently been started calling HSPA+ (21Mbps) as 4G. Well why not, if you think "up to 12Mbps" is 4G.

      Our major carriers will be rolling out 42Mbps+ (not sure what real world speeds will be) HSPA soon, and they are still calling it 3G. It's only marketing

      • The US cellphone network sucks in case you did not notice. One reason is that they have historically preferred longer range over high peak bandwidth. The less communication towers you have the cheaper your network is. They also have rather weak coverage. There is no government mandate for carriers to provide decent coverage. They usually are the first to hop on a new standard, which may get quickly obsoleted, become a niche which only exists in the US (Hello CDMA!). But hey, they have "4G".
        • CDMA is in fairly widespread use throughout much of Asia. Some of the carriers are planning moves to other technologies, but the same thing is happening in the US as the CDMA carriers are moving to LTE.

          • by Macrat (638047)

            CDMA is in fairly widespread use throughout much of Asia.

            Of course! Charging roaming fees to tourists from the US is very lucrative.

        • by fluffy99 (870997)

          The US cellphone network sucks in case you did not notice. One reason is that they have historically preferred longer range over high peak bandwidth. The less communication towers you have the cheaper your network is. They also have rather weak coverage.

          Exactly. The US is more spreadout and longer range is the only way to cheaply get good coverage. Other countries with higher average population densities don't have this issue.

          There is no government mandate for carriers to provide decent coverage. They usually are the first to hop on a new standard, which may get quickly obsoleted, become a niche which only exists in the US (Hello CDMA!). But hey, they have "4G".

          You're correct the US govt doesn't mandate wireless connectivity like they do analog phone service. The broadband initiative may provide some driving force for wireless internet access though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Solandri (704621)
      It's mincing words. All those speeds are a lot higher than what passes for broadband in most of the U.S.
    • by Nethead (1563)

      I've seen, with my own eyes and testing, 28Mb/s on Clearwire. Granted that was an uncapped testing account on an empty system, but still, it did it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ecuador (740021)

        Still, 21Mbit which is deployed in many countries and called 3G is close. In fact, at least a couple of countries have deployed HSPA+ at 28Mbit and the technology has a theoretical max of 56Mbit. And it is always called 3G or at most 3.5G. You can't go calling something 4G unless it is much faster as 3G was to 2G.

  • Marketing ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordKaT (619540) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @10:41AM (#33996344) Homepage Journal

    Marketing claims to have a number. Engineers say otherwise.

    Scott Adams finds more material to write about.

  • Well not really...but I can say that its still much faster than the AT&T 3g dataplan I had. The average consumer doesn't know what 3g or 4g means anyway...they would be better off calling it something else but for joe average the only thing they really know is 3g has been a term pushed down their throats and its slow...anything else just sounds faster. While i'd love to have 100Mbps truthfully I get better speeds from my wimax connection now than I do from my cable connection at home much of the time

    • truthfully I get better speeds from my wimax connection now than I do from my cable connection at home

      But how long can you sustain those speeds? Even if wireless has the advantage in bits per second, the pricing model is such that wired has a substantial advantage in bits per month. You don't want to have to take two months to download a high-definition movie, the first 5 GB in one month and the second 5 GB in the other.

      • by grapeape (137008)

        I wouldnt know...mine is unlimited and actually cheaper than my cable connection by around $15.

        • I wouldnt know...mine is unlimited

          Once your WiMAX carrier takes on more customers, unmetered data plans like yours will become 5 GB/mo plans as soon as the carrier can afford to waive your early termination fee. Look at AT&T, which recently capped monthly transfers on new or renewed smartphone data plans.

  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @11:51AM (#33996792)
    . . . is there are so many to choose from. If I were running on of these money machines, I would call my data service 100G. I would say "we are so many Gs above the rest that your messages will get there BEFORE you send them." That is called puffing and is perfectly legal. I would advertise hot babes and sexy guys 100Ging all over the place, telling the world that 100Ging is like sexting but feels like real sex. I would leave the ITU, IETF, and IEEE to my standards body representatives, who like to travel all over the world, stay at nice hotels, eat at fine restaurants, sightsee, and get our latest patents turned into the next set of standards.
    • If I were running on of these money machines, I would call my data service 100G.

      Then your competitor will defuse your puffer with "no bull" commercials that use objective measures such as log bps. For example, 100 kbps is 5, 1 Mbps is 6, and 10 Mbps is 7. And there is only one objective G, and that's gigabits per second. For example, if you provide 1 Mbps, you provide 0.001 G.

  • ... and the marketeers are going to have a field day.
  • "For WiMax operator Clearwire, the 4G label denotes an advancement beyond 3G networks, Clearwire spokesman Mike DiGioia said. "

    Right ... and when I advertise my penis as being 12 inches long on various dating sites, what I really mean is that it is bigger than six inches.

  • 4G services? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by butlerm (3112) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:36PM (#33997448)

    The international standards body ITU has ruled that Clearwire's WiMax network and the LTE systems that Verizon and others are just starting to roll out are not in fact 4G services.

    Are not "in fact" 4G services? Unless the ITU has some sort of trademark on "4G", that is a ridiculous claim. Ultimately the marketplace will decide what is 4G and what isn't, and at this point it looks like the ITU is up for more ridicule than Sprint / Clearwire.

    I understand that LTE is significantly different from its predecessors, which gives it as good a reason as any to claim to be "4G". Is "LTE-Advanced" so different from "LTE" to rationally claim that it should be "4G" and "LTE" not be?

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Oh, ITU is only the body defining what is 3G, 4G, etc. ...

      • by butlerm (3112)

        I thought they were defining what "IMT-2000" and "IMT-Advanced" are. The ITU doesn't have anything formally to do with what "3G" and "4G" are, nor does anyone else. What is particularly ridiculous about this is that IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced aren't really standards at all, but rather standards for standards.

        No one in this right mind is going to care which technicality keeps a real standard from being classified as IMT-Advanced, because it has absolutely no bearing on anything in the real world. It is just

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Yeah, this irrelevant IMT-2000, "only" establishing, in the end, what everybody calls 3G... Similarly with IMT-Advanced, generally; except for few telcos.

  • ... we will take any generation, except 5G

  • Well this will hose Apple's announcement of the LTE iPhone 4G next year

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