Last week, we had the launch of two more ’4G’ devices on the AT&T network, the HP Veer 4G and the Samsung Infuse 4G, which sparked new complaints about the carrier’s marketing strategy. Back at CES earlier this year, AT&T had already downgraded the term 4G to their “evolved” 3G network, but this past week, they further downgraded 4G to mean the combination of 3G and a fast backhaul. So, what happens when they actually complete their promised 4G LTE network?
The term 4G was originally meant for 100Mbps, a speed that most carriers currently cannot achieve. It later became attached to the LTE and WiMAX networks being built by Verizon and Sprint, respectively. Late to the party, T-Mobile and AT&T, battled it out on the marketing end to jump on the 4G bandwagon by including their “evolved” 3G networks (HSPA+). However, this past week, AT&T redefined the term once again to mean anything with the combination of 3G speed plus a fast backhaul, or fast connection from cell tower back to the network.
According to PCMag, AT&T’s senior vice president of devices, Jeff Bradley, laid out the new definition saying, “Our tests show that [4G experiences] happen with Cat-10 devices, or 14.4 … combined with fast backhaul. That’s the key. It’s got to be a combination of the two.”