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4G Networks Tested: WiMAX vs. HSPA+

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Replying to:  The big 4 by Disrespect   Jun 4, 2010, 12:08 PM

4G upgrade path

by Rich Brome (Moderator)    Jun 4, 2010, 12:30 PM

Well, it's more that 4G is simply new technology at the beginning of its lifecycle, while 3G techs are near the end of their lifecycle.

3G started out with technology like WCDMA that only achieved 384 kbps, then it evolved through various upgrades that have brought it all the way up to HSPA+ with 21 Mbps (21,000 kbps). Now there's not much further they can take it without starting over from scratch.

4G is just that: starting over from scratch with a new foundation. What we're seeing now is just version 1 of 4G technology. Yes, there will be future upgrades that boost 4G to higher speeds. They're already in the works.

However, we didn't talk about that in the article because it's probably a couple of years away. Sprint has a long way to go finishing building version 1 of its WiMAX network before it will make sense to go back and upgrade it all. Verizon has to launch LTE first before they can even think abut version 2.

So we feel confident that consumers can sign 2-year contracts and today's 4G speeds will apply for most of that 2-year period. Coverage will improve over that time, but the basic technology won't change that fast.

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