Why 4.5G shouldn't be a dirty word

Not everybody in the wireless industry is keen to use the term "4.5G," but in this latest feature, we take a look at who's using the term and what it means.

Personally, I would argue that it's a quick form of shorthand to denote things between 4G and 5G. Yes, I know 5G has not been defined yet, but a lot of operators, vendors, analysts and press are talking about it. Academics and companies alike are devoting time and money to research 5G, and vendors and their carrier partners around the world are busy setting up plans for trials. But before we get to 5G, there's a whole lot more to talk about with LTE-Advanced.

And just because Huawei started talking about 4.5G--a lot--I don't think the rest of us necessarily have to shy away from it. It's a pretty generic term. That said, I will admit there are times when I still want to say,"But LTE is not 4G!" LTE-Advanced is 4G, in my opinion. But that fight has long gone and there's no going back. It's time to let it go. LTE, in the real world, is 4G.

Some people rolled their eyes when we first started talking about 3.5G and 3.75G. But these types of terms are handy. It's easier to say "4.5G" than to say, for example: three-carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, coordinated multipoint (CoMP), machine-to-machine stuff, the Internet of Things, LTE-Unlicensed and so on. That's a lot of stuff that you could just cover with "4.5G"--and it's easier to fit into a 140-character Tweet.

So, what is 4.5G? FierceWirelessTech took an informal survey of some of the industry's leading vendors to see what they have to say. To see their answers, check out this special report, and let us know what you think in the comments.--Monica