Nielson: Few wireless consumers know what 4G means

Amid the new flood of 4G marketing messages coming from mobile operators, a Nielson survey found that few U.S. wireless consumers understand the technology's benefits.

Nielson surveyed some 2,100 U.S. adults and found approximately four out of five wireless consumers had heard for 4G but of those four, just two claimed to understand what it is. When respondents were asked to give the definition of 4G, 54 percent chose the International Telecommunication Union's definition of mobile data speeds of more than 100 Mbps.

Perhaps not surprisingly, more than a quarter of respondents believed Apple's iPhone 4 is a 4G device, perhaps given the fact that previous versions were named 3G and 3GS. Still, nearly three in 10 consumers questioned said they planned on purchasing a 4G device within the next year.

The confusion is not surprising given the fact that all four major operators are marketing their mobile data services as 4G, despite not meeting the ITU's official definition. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) recently joined the fray in calling its HSPA+ service 4G, despite criticizing T-Mobile for doing so several months back. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) markets WiMAX as 4G, while Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) calls its new LTE service 4G LTE.

For more:
- see this Cellular-News article

Related articles:
Are operators misleading consumers by claiming HSPA+ is 4G?
T-Mobile: We'll match Verizon's LTE speeds with HSPA+ 42
AT&T chides T-Mobile for 'misleading' 4G marketing on HSPA+ 

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