Feature Article

August 27, 2012

Consumer Watchdog Wants Accurate 4G Speeds from Wireless Carriers

In making its claim to the Federal Communication Commission, Consumer Watchdog cited AT&T as one of the companies making claims about 4G speeds that were not accurate. The introduction of 4G was supposed to usher in higher speed rates for mobile users but the technology is not available everywhere and speeds often don’t meet 4G standards in many markets across the country.

According to Consumer Watchdog, the claims for high speeds are being made “either without actually making improvements to existing products and services or without disclosing the meaning of ‘faster’.”

The 4G network was designed with the capability of handling mobile Internet as well as data with more efficiency. The specification states the speed is supposed to be 100Mbps but all the carriers in the U.S. don’t even achieve 20 percent of that amount at peak levels.

The competitive world of cellular networks is based on speed and technology. The language used to describe this technology is often confusing and at times intentionally ambiguous in the marketing jargon these companies use. Consumer Watchdog has outlined clear and specific guidelines that would require carriers in the U.S. to provide disclosures when they make any type of claim about the speed of their technology. The hope is for the FCC to implement these guidelines and make the carriers accountable for any deceptive advertising.

The petition made to the FCC is clear in the goals it wants to achieve. They want the FCC to adopt rules mandating wireless carriers to disclose average speed for subscribers when their network is being used, provide accurate information at point of sale and ensure the advertised speed is the one being given to the consumer. The FCC receives many complaints about this particular issue not only from individuals but companies who rely on the speed of 4G to conduct business.

Countries with standardized 4g speeds such as South Korea and Japan have capitalized on the benefits of having a strong wireless communications system. A reliable network means everything from medical services to on demand entertainment can be accessed and used by consumers without any lag due to speed.

If the U.S. is going to keep up with other countries around the world, it has to implement standards which require carriers to make claims only if they have adopted the technology. Data usage is increasing at more than 250 percent year on year and if the technology to support this increase is not met productivity levels for private and public entities as well as individuals will be limited.

Want to learn more about today’s powerful mobile Internet ecosystem? Don't miss the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5 2012, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at Mobility Tech Conference & Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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