Calling non-LTE networks 4G used to be marketers' biggest blunder, but now, new flavors of 4G are emerging to mystify and confuse consumers.
First came Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s Spark network, and now Verizon Wireless 's XLTE, the moniker it will use to brand the Advanced Wireless Service spectrum it is deploying across the US. Verizon says this is a "consumer-friendly way of describing the added capacity that is being delivered to Verizon Wireless customers by activating our 4G LTE service on our AWS spectrum."
Verizon wants its customers to know that its AWS is a big deal for its network; not just your run-of-the-mill 4G. That's all well and good, but I worry it's just muddying the waters yet again. All consumers care about is the fact that the network works as advertised; not what brand of LTE it is. Considering that "XLTE" is only available in half of its LTE markets, I wonder if it will further confuse its customers that don’t have access to it or phones that support it... or if they'll even notice. (See Verizon Leads With Double-Wide 4G.)
Interestingly, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is taking a somewhat different approach by trying to educate its customers on the things it is doing to improve its network, actually mentioning the phrase "small cells" in its commercials. (See AT&T Talks Small Cells, DAS in New Ads.)
I'm not really sure which approach is the better strategy, but the 4G LTE brand twisting is enough to make you dizzy. It will only get worse with 5G too. Check out Verizon's new commercial as part of its XLTE campaign, and let us know your thoughts on how to market mobile in the comments section below. (See Ready or Not, Here Comes 5G and EE Makes the Case for 5G .)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading