4G does not exist yet

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Pardon me but 4G does not exist – it has been invented by the press and by people with little knowledge of the mobile world and the standards being used.

To call LTE 4G is simply misleading and is contributing in moving focus away from the possibilities created by mobile broadband and over to a technological race with nothing else than the number of G’s deciding whether something is good or bad.

Source: LTE not 4G – Strand


Strand are not alone in this. Here is further affirmation that 4G does not exist, whether we are talking of LTE or WiMax:

Hakan Eriksson, chief technology officer of Stockholm, Sweden-based telecom equipment giant Ericsson, doesn’t much care for WiMAX. He doesn’t even think of it as a real 4G wireless technology — though to be fair, since the ITU hasn’t actually set the standard yet, there are no real 4G technologies.

Source: WiMAX Not Really 4G: Ericsson CTO

Ericsson’s CTO seemed biased towards affirming LTE as 4G though – understandable, seeing that his company has invested in that technology. Understandable but wrong all the same.




MobilityNigeria regulars here will remember our own article titled
LTE – Beyond HSDPA/HSUPA in which we stated that “…LTE is more of an upgrade or enhancement of 3G technology the same way that EDGE is an enhancement of 2G technology..


As such, the HTC EVO 4G is not really a 4G device. But who cares? The power of misinformation.


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  1. That is different from I first thought. Granted there is yet to be standardization over LTE and Wimax. And possibly both LTE and Wimax are competing for dominance, not unlike CDMA and GSm. But then if you tell me that they are both not 4G, then it’s difficult to believe. SOme network Companies around the world have already started to upgrade their networks to these “4G” or new technology!

    Another question begging an answer is, if LTE and Wimax isn’t 4G, and is only an upgrade of 3G, then What do you say of the difference between 2G and 3G networks?

  2. Afewgoodmen,

    That some networks are already upgrading to LTE band WiMax does not mean that they have the terminology right. That has nothing to do with the issue on ground.

    I remember back then, it was the same way some were calling EDGE a 3G technology, when in reality it was 2.75G – a mere enhancement of 2G. That’s what is on ground too now: people labelling what is an enhancement of 3G as 4G.

    …if LTE and Wimax isn’t 4G, and is only an upgrade of 3G, then What do you say of the difference between 2G and 3G networks?

    2G and 3G networks are two different technologies or platforms. 3G is not an enhancement of 2G. 3G is a replacement – a separate kettle of fish – from 2G. In the same way, 4G will be a replacement, not an enhancement, of 3G.

  3. Then Explain 2G CDMA and 3G CDMA with this network enhancement you talk about. If you ask me, 3G CDMA is only and enhancement of the 2G CDMA. Very much different from the 2G GSM and 3G GSM! Here you need different bandwidth!

  4. Yes; on the GSM side of the fence, you do need different frequencies to transit from 2G to 3G.

    We could argue about the definition of “enhancement” all year long, and I am not sure that this comment facility gives the right environment to delve into all the details, so let’s just leave the deeper technical details to those whose business it is and depend on their resolutions.

    There are constituted bodies that determine what is 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, et al as far as telecoms is concerned.

    Those bodies are yet to specify either LTE or WiMax as 4G. Actually, those bodies have not specified any 4G standards. So, everyone claiming a 4G standard is doing clever marketing and hype. 4G simply does not exist yet.

    You’ll notice that this fact that a 4G standard has not been specified is mentioned in both sources linked to in the article above.


  5. @Yomi Adegboye. I understand your arguments very well. They are noble and they provide a deep insight at 4G and 3G Technologies. But I still would like to differ somewhat.

    First of all, you say that because there is no widely adopted 4G technology, then it does not exist. To quote you fully; “Those bodies are yet to specify either LTE or WiMax as 4G. Actually, those bodies have not specified any 4G standards. So, everyone claiming a 4G standard is doing clever marketing and hype. 4G simply does not exist yet.”

    Not because there is no widely adopted 4G standard does mean that 4G does not exist! It also doesn’t mean that the next frontier of internet or network technology that is better than the 3G is not out yet. Call it Wimax, Call it LTE, Call it next Technology. Whatever you do, 4G has already kicked off and only waiting for the regulatory bodies in the US or Europe to adopt and and set standards. Many Gsm/CDMA network providers around the world have started dispensing some limited 4G technology.

    The whole idea of the 4G Technology is that it’s not just broadband, but mobile broadband. 4G is a marketing term quite alright, that some service providers may be using to describe the “fourth generation” of wireless services. Such services may use different underlying technologies, depending on the provider, but they typically offer between four and ten times the performance of “3G” networks.

    The two main technologies are WiMax and Long Term Evolution (LTE). WiMax is a standard developed by the IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Development of the LTE standard is led by the 3GPP, an industry body for providers that use GSM, the current leading technology for cellular communications. Both WiMax and LTE use advanced antenna technology to improve reception and performance. However, the technologies rely on different types of wireless spectrum.

    Standard bodies May have set higher speed goals for what they would like to define as “official” 4G services. Performance marks that likely won’t be met for another couple years at the earliest. But marketers think that what’s available now is a big enough leap to justify the “next-generation” label.

    Another reason why you can classify these as 4G already without waiting for a proper licensing or standard is that the situation is analogous to Blueray and HD DvD format wars a couple of years back!. These two formats were fighting for the souls of consumers. When there was no clear winner then, could you say that both formats were mere DvD replicas and that they were not the next generation of Video encoding in Disk formats? Of course we later knew that the Blueray won and HD Dvd is dead. But during the War, they were the next generatio of video storage media and data storage too. Perhaps a similar thing will emerge between Wimax and LTE. Who wins may be difficult to tell now. At best, you may only predict. But they are the next point in the broadband technology, delivering faster browsing speeds and data rates. As much as 100 Mbyte a second in good conditions!

    In addition the 4G networks are designed to run at different frequencies than the ones current cellular services (2G and 3G) use, so you’ll need new radio chips tuned to the 4G frequencies.

    Both WiMax and LTE supporters are working on versions of the technology that will support “true” 4G speeds of more than 100 mbps for downloads, but real products using those versions probably would not appear for several years. Despite these, the new “4G” Networks now operating in certain parts of the world; South Korea, US,Japan, are better than the present 3G standards.

    Don’t you think you should label these new terchnologies as 4G?

  6. Afewgoodmen

    First of all, you say that because there is no widely adopted 4G technology, then it does not exist.

    No; I did not say that. I said that the bodies responsible for setting those standards have not set them.

    The responsibility to determine what various technologies are called is not yours, mine or the Press’. It is really that simple. But feel free to call LTE and WiMax whatever you so wish. Not that it disturbs me in any way. Just stating facts.


  7. @afewgoodmen, I agree with you when you say that 4G is like a broadband for mobile phones. But 4G is for 4th generation technology,isn’t it? Also, if EDGE is an upgrade of 2G ,then what’s 3G? Who decides what? What’s the difference between WiMax and Broadband?
    Just giving my piece of mind; I am a good learner,though.

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