An anonymous reader writes "Did you ever notice how each new generation of cell-phone tech gets branded '3G,' and the previous thing is retroactively downgraded to some lesser number of Gs? An MIT engineer explains why in this brilliant essay about '3G' over the last 10 years, showing how the cell carriers have kept offering it and swiping it away to sell more stuff. He cites numerous Cingular/AT&T and Sprint press releases showing how the companies have made '3G' into a brand name ideally suited for amnesiac consumers. Meanwhile, no cell carrier is foolish enough to sell you bottom-line throughput like an ISP in 1996 — you could actually hold them to that (PDF)."
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