4G is a term that I have been hearing more and more of these days. It began with wireless companies boasting that they have "the next best thing" that will leave 3G in the dust. But now I am even hearing it from people who are not technologically inclined, and who have began to believe that the use of "4G" by these wireless companies is the actual definition of the term. Honesty the use of "4G" by these wireless companies really grinds my gears. In short there are NO wireless companies that have actual 4G networks. So allow me to shed some light on the word 4G and its real meaning.
The literal definition of a 4G network is "a network meeting peak speed requirements of 1Gbit/s for low mobility communication such as pedestrians and stationary users" a more thorough description can be found here 4G. With that being said none of the current wireless companies have a network that meet this requirement. The closest to meeting this standard is Verizons LTE (long term evolution) network which has a peek speed of 326 Mbits/s. In second would be Sprint's WiMAX network which has a peak speed of 128 Mbit/s. and T-Mobile and AT&T come in third with their HSPA+ systems which have peak speeds of 42.2 Mbit/s. As you can see all of these networks fall far short of the 1 Gbit/s bench marck set forth by the ITU-R. Aside from not meeting the standard, all of the companies have a very small and underdeveloped "4G" network.
So why is it that all of these companies can call their networks "4G" when they clearly do not meet the requirements? This is because all of these companies currently possess networks better then the standard set forth for 3G. So while in reality their networks are 4G candidates they are legally allowed to label them as 4G, because nobody has been able to reach 4G speeds yet. This is what really bothers me about the whole deal, the use of 4G to refer to their networks is strictly commercial. These companies are really misleading individuals, and it really gets under my skin.The worst part about all of this are the people who do not know what true 4G is but continue to start arguments claiming that the iPhone 4 is a 4G phone.