Sprint pathetically renames WiMAX into 4G to keep interest


What are you going to do to stop the negative spin about your company? Receipt is always the same: take the old lamp and sell it as new one. Nvidia decided to make pure marketing mess out of its renaming policy, and it looks like Sprint decided to follow suit.

The company released a press release claiming that they are going to expand their 4G network to include 10 cities in 2009. However, there is just one small problem – Sprint does not have a 4G network! Just for the record, at the time of writing (March 27th, 2009 at 13:08 CET), there is no such thing as a 4G network. Fastest available cellular networks in the whole world tick at 3.5G or as a WiMAX network.

An Inconvenient Truth worse than Al Gore's documentary...misleading customers is legally approved policy in the US.

An Inconvenient Truth worse than Al Gore’s documentary…potentially misleading customers is legally approved policy in the US.

Sprint decided to rename WiMAX, fledging Wireless standard into 4G and claim that 4G speeds are 12 Mbps down, and that it represents "turbo-charged mobile broadband". Unfortunately for the company, 4G is a GSM-based standard being developed under the name LTE [Long Term Evolution]. 4G is a standard that will finally unify GSM and CDMA-based networks into a single one, so you should see devices such as Blackberry or iPhone being offered by both AT&T and Verizon, Sprint’s largest competitors. Your 4G handheld device will also work in Japan and Korea with no issues.

Unfortunately, there is no legal way to forbid companies to use the names in bad faith. Just like 3G, 4G is an open name for a set of technologies being developed by Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia Siemens, Philips and many other players. It is sad to see companies like Sprint to use pathetic moves like this.

While we won’t go into the quality and potential of WiMAX networking standard, saying that a 12Mbps network is 4G is nothing else but misleading its customers.

Just for the record, 4G LTE is defined at 100 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload. NOT 12 Mbps, as this is speed achievable by 3.5G standards such as HSDPA. Actually, HSDPA is 14.4 Mbps, thus faster than alleged "4G" service by Sprint. In Croatia, where this author currently resides, HSDPA is available in large cities from both VIPnet, a partner of Vodafone and T-Mobile, subsidiary of T-Com. Using a two-year old Nokia N93i, we can surf at speeds exceeding Sprint’s "4G".