Next month, AT&T will start rolling out its LTE network in the United States, prepping the ground for the launch of an LTE-equipped iPhone in 2012. Even though Ma Bell doesn’t actually have a 4G network in place right now, though, that’s not stopping them from selling 4G phones and bragging about their 4G speeds. New legislation working its way through the house wouldn’t stop that, but would make them append a caveat: their minimum data speeds.
Called The Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act, the bill would force companies to tell customers buying a “4G” phone or signing up for “4G” service what their minimum data speeds will be, and the likelihood of network interference.
This couldn’t be more needed, because wireless companies are currently downright lying about 4G. The only companies that by any reasonable definition have 4G networks currently in place are Sprint (WiMax) and Verizon (LTE). AT&T and T-Mobile only have HSPA+, which is admittedly faster than standard HSPA, but still firmly 3G.
Even worse? AT&T’s 4G smartphones actually get slower network speeds than the iPhone 4, because they’ve capped them!
This is a good thing. When the first 4G iPhone comes along, it behooves us all for the definition of “4G” to be as clearly established as possible.