These days, it is almost impossible to avoid the tidal wave of advertisements from the major wireless carriers vying for your business. Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are all in a desperate competition for market share, and the key battleground is connection speed – or bandwidth. This is obvious if you pay any attention to the ads. Just about all the providers claim to have the superior network in terms of speed and coverage. But how can that be? The short answer is that it depends on how you present the facts.
One of the most important, confusing and sometimes misrepresented issues is the description of wireless service as 3G, 4G and LTE. Unfortunately, there are no industry or governmental requirements regulating how the terms can be used in advertising. That leaves it up to the carriers to apply the labels as they see fit. That is what creates the confusion and controversy. Some of carriers define some of the terms differently, which makes it very difficult for customers to compare “apples to apples.”
The biggest confusion, and perhaps even deception, comes from the way AT&T uses the term 4G. AT&T sets a much lower standard than Verizon Wireless for the speed of the devices and service it labels as 4G. The vast majority of what AT&T calls its 4G network is far slower than what Verizon Wireless calls 4G, which is actually 4G LTE – a different technology that is four times or more faster than AT&T’s. This and other facts can be confusing and misleading to customers who are not well informed.