Congresswoman wants carriers to clarify '4G'

Posted by Mark Raby

Are you still confused when you see a commercial for a phone claiming to have '4G' speed?

If you said yes, apparently you're not along. Representative Ann Eshoo from California has introduced a new bill in the House that would require mobile carriers to better provide actual concrete details about the services they label as 4G, including:

- Speed
- Reliability
- Pricing
- Coverage area

When Sprint first launched its 4G service, no one said too much about what next-generation mobile standard it was using or any of the super technical details. That information didn't get to the mainstream.

Now, though, it's a bigger issue. There's Wimax, HSPA+, LTE, and Verizon's TV commercials even feel compelled to tell users their network isn't just 4G, it's "4G LTE." It's enough to make the average mobile consumer either scratch their heads in confusion, or just assume everything is the same. Either one is unacceptable to Eshoo.

Use of the term '4G' has come to mean nothing more than a marketing tool, and Eshoo doesn't want consumers to be misled.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has even caved, saying carriers can put a 4G label on anything, since there are no specific standard or credentials that mobile companies have to meet.