In October, the global standards group declared that after long study, it had determined which technologies truly qualified for its IMT-Advanced label, sometimes called 4G (fourth-generation). Only two systems made the list: LTE-Advanced, an emerging version of Long-Term Evolution technology, and WirelessMAN-Advanced, the next version of WiMax, also called WiMax 2. Neither is commercially available yet.
Stripping the official 4G title from current LTE and WiMax, which both had claimed it, was the perfect foil for T-Mobile USA to wholeheartedly advertise its HSPA+ (High-Speed Packet Access) network as 4G.
But in a recent press release http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2010/48.aspx about the opening of the ITU World Radiocommunication Seminar 2010, the august United Nations-affiliated agency appears to have caved in.
"As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as '4G,'" the press release said, "although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed."