AT&T Has FauxG Too

10:15 AM -- 4G, with a healthy dose of FauxG mixed in, was the biggest mobile theme (besides tablets) at International CES this year, but the network typology only got more confusing.

In an otherwise impressive Developers' Day, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) touted the 20 4G devices it would unveil this year, only saying they are a mix of HSPA+ and Long Term Evolution (LTE) devices. It brings to mind the question, if HSPA+ is 4G then why is AT&T bothering to upgrade from 4G to 4G? (See CES 2011: AT&T Accelerates LTE Push.)

Since even the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) backpedaled on the definition of 4G after T-Mobile US Inc. began perpetuating the myth, all the carriers have adopted the moniker in their marketing. AT&T was the last to join the fray. (See ITU Backtracks on '4G' Definition, ITU Says '4G' Isn't and The Battle of FauxG.)

Consumers are beginning to notice too. According to a recent The Nielsen Co. survey of 2,100 U.S. wireless consumers, 83 percent of people are aware of 4G, but only 51 percent understand what it means.

That being said, three out of 10 indicated they'd buy one of these elusive 4G devices in the next 12 months. Who says expensive purchases have to be informed decisions? (See CES 2011: Verizon Takes 10 With LTE and CES 2011: HTC 4G Phones for All!.)

It would've been nice to see AT&T stay out of the marketing fray, but you can't blame them when no one else will. Plus, with consumers planning FauxG-phone purchases and having a wide array of pretty sweet new devices to choose from, the "G" distinctions become less important -- although no less annoying.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:15:53 PM
re: AT&T Has FauxG Too

LTE has benefits over HSPA especially in the signaling department and in latency.  They also have spectrum to use for LTE.  Sure they could expand their 3G network to the new bands, but it will take time for chipsets and with Verizon using the same 700MHz band, economies of scale will make devices cheaper by having LTE exclusively in that band.  With the pentaband 3G chip(s), do they really need to be obsolete because of yet another 3G band to be included?

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:15:53 PM
re: AT&T Has FauxG Too

Even handset makers are getting on board with fauxG. HTC says it will sell 10 million 4G phones this year, but didn't say whether that includes HSPA+ handsets or not. Probably safe to say it does.

sdujka 12/5/2012 | 5:15:48 PM
re: AT&T Has FauxG Too

I totally agree with the Lanbrown's comment . HSPA+ may be competitive to LTE over next 2-3 years, especially in term of speed, but not in latency and whole customer experience.

Move towards LTE is must for each operator in USA, if it's want's to stay competitive. 3.75G (HSPA+ wont be enough)

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