The G Is Dead, Long Live the G!

These days I have to rub my eyes when reading just about any wireless news tidbits from the US. In almost every report the acronym "4G" is used for just about everything that is faster than a crawling few kbit/s. 4G is HSPA, 4G is LTE, 4G is this, 4G is that. Well, 4G isn't any of it. And quite frankly I am a bit tired and nerved because just like "open" and "free" it has lost any meaning in the mobile world. Another word or acronym misused to death. And actually I am just waiting for a marketing department pushing the line that a 4G phone that has to have 2 radios active simultaneously for voice and Internet is better than a HSPA device that can do the same over the same radio.

So hey, since everyone uses the "G" for whatever he likes, how about calling well built networks (not particularly in the country in which networks are called 4G…) that have the capacity to serve their subscribers with true broadband speeds in the 10 MBit/s range or more 5G? Hm, doesn't sound sophisticated enough for me, so I'll call them 6G networks. Yes, my frustration shows 🙂

In other words, I'm really tired of the "G" debate… Theoretical maximum speeds and "G's" are perhaps good for catchy marketing slogans but it's meaningless in practice. Instead, access ubiquity and capacity are what counts in a world where connected devices are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

4 thoughts on “The G Is Dead, Long Live the G!”

  1. Here’s my own classification of the generations:

    1G: Analog
    2G: Digital technologies that originated as purely circuit-switched ones, later expanded to packet-switched (within the constraints of the old tech)
    3G: Both circuit-switched and packet-switched from the ground up
    4G: Purely packet-switched

  2. Non-techies need a simple linguistic handle to deal with modern technology. Although G is annoying at times it has mostly worked until recently. The trouble is that with all the different technologies (especially the worse culprit, the endless 3GPP evolutions between Gs) nobody knows what is what anymore. In the transition from ordinary GSM to UMTS it was clear, but from UMTS, HSPA to LTE things have blurred.

  3. The blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet of the carriers. In the past 10 years, their high-powered marketing departments haven’t figured out how to sell service advances to their customers other than by talking about G-ness. But ask a relative if he even knows — or cares — what “3G” means.

    This is outstanding: The Verizon CMO talking about how G-ness doesn’t matter even as every single Verizon advert for its LTE network says “4G” on it:

Comments are closed.