US Senators have introduced a bill requiring mobile carriers to define 4G technology once and for all, giving the federal government more regulatory fuel to the wildfire of cutthroat wireless competition.
Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, as well as Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut, aim to quash the confusion regarding wireless carriers’ loose definition of 4G technology and speeds by introducing a bill to disclose information on ‘true’ 4G phone releases and network experiences.
The bill would force carriers to provide details on anything marketed as 4G technology such as guaranteed data speeds, network reliability, and even conditions that could affect services touted by 4G technology. The Federal Communications Commission would evaluate the speed of 4G services for the top wireless carriers in the US, if the bill is passed by the Senate. ”In an era when one in five phones sold is labeled 4G and carriers are scrambling to build or expand 4G networks, this step by federal regulators may slow down an industry that is defined by speed,” according to Mobiledia.
So the question is, what do phones like the Motorola Droid Bionic and Samsung Epic 4G have in common if they are both sold as 4G technology?
True 4G technology was originally accepted by the wireless industry as speeds of 100mbps or greater, allowing HSPA+, WiMAX, and LTE to bear the 4G label on networks and devices alike. 4G experiences differ; however, as variable conditions like weather and terrain greatly affect the 100mbps minimum speeds. 4G technology, in turn, is mainly available in major cities and wireless markets where carriers set up optimized networks as opposed to outlying areas with lower profit returns.
”Wireless providers need to make sure their customers can count on the speed, reliability, and the price they were promised when they signed up,” said Senator Franken in regards with the proposed bill. ”And if they can’t fulfill their promise, they need to be held accountable.”
While the race to the fastest phones and networks is underway, the federal government looks to regulate carriers’ lackadaisical labeling of 4G technology, despite varied results.