Yet operators, in the US at least, appear to have stepped up their 4G marketing efforts. In one sense, it doesn't matter so much; after all, LTE, WiMax and even HSPA+ all do offer better mobile broadband performance than previous 3G standards.
Nonetheless, I do think operators would do well to manage their potential customers' expectations. When operators initially started to market their 3G services earlier this decade, hardly anyone knew what the term meant so it didn't matter so much if the early hype didn't match the actual reality.
Now ride around on the NYC subway, wander down a Chicago street, or grab coffee at a San Francisco Starbucks and people are talking wireless. Thanks to the 3G revolution and the devices enabled by it, like the iPhone, people are buzzing about wireless and jazzed about the explosion of choice they have in devices and services.
So, even if the average person on the street doesn't exactly know what "4G" is, at a technical level, they are much more au fait with the idea that this is the next phase in the mobile revolution, and many of them are excited by the idea of applications like video chat and streaming TV on their phones.
Overselling mobile broadband services as "4G" services is a quick way to make people sour on the whole concept. I think operators would be much better off giving us average performance times for applications and services we actually use rather than getting in a slap fight about "4G."
For instance, how about:
- Average time it takes to load Facebook and upload photos.
- How quickly a streaming video on YouTube takes to load up.
- How fast you can send an email or photo from the device.
- How speedily it can render popular Websites (pick your faves).
- How fast a video chat connection can be established.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile