In the tech community, we have been hearing more and more about 4G. Every carrier is pushing their next generation network, with colorful advertisements and billboards. At the center of each of these ads is the term "4G" which is used to refer to everything from devices to cellular networks.
This has caused a great deal of confusion for consumers. In fact, a recent survey by retrevo found that 34% of iPhone 4 owners have a 4G device. There are quite a few reasons consumers could come to this conclusion. Perhaps they are confused about the iPhone naming scheme (thanks to the iPhone 3G) and believe that their device is the iPhone 4G. It is also possible that they think they mush have 4G, because the iPhone is always up to date.
iPhone users are not the only ones who suffer from this delusion, the survey also found that a whopping 24% of Blackberry owners and a few Android users thought they owned 4G phones, for reasons I cannot guess. However, the most universal and concerning reason for this assumption is that consumers simply don't understand 4G.
One cannot really blame consumers for their lack of knowledge. Most have never heard an official definition of 4G, and instead get their information from commercials, which is where the real problem comes in. Thanks to all the major carriers, consumers could think 4G is a network type, a special device, or even a bolt of lightning (thanks Verizon.) Even when the commercials do explain that 4G is a type of next generation network, they use it as a synonym for WiMax, LTE, and HSPA+ all at once.
Some of you may think I am not giving consumers enough credit here. They should be smart enough to figure it out if they really want to, right? Well, as this survey has show, many clearly cannot. Unless carriers step up and stop trying to con users, the users are going to have to work themselves to find out the truth about 4G. Hopefully someone will step up and explain, because otherwise 4G adoption could be hampered by misunderstandings caused by the very programs designed to promote it.[retrevo]