Fourth Generation Wireless, what we commonly have badged as "4G", has only been around for a few years, yet it's become part of the average users technology vocabulary. This has been perhaps faster than any other mobile communications technology, even quicker than "3G" did, thanks in part to the hundreds of millions of dollars the "Big Four" (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) wireless providers have spent recently on advertising - each seeming to claim the "biggest" 0r "largest" or even "most reliable" 4G Networks.
Let take a look at some major or significant events in the brief five year history of 4G wireless. Perhaps they'll offer some insight into what 4G is, and how it evolved into the most promising high speed wireless network technologies for mobile device users of all walks of life.
New Dual-4G Mobile Hotspots
A new trend in "multi network" 4G devices are released, such as the Sprint Tri-Fi and AT&T elevate mobile hotspots. These devices are significant because they each work on multiple 4G technologies, such as WiMax 4G and LTE 4G or the Tri-Fi and HSPA+ 4G and LTE 4F for the Elevate. These new devices enable more users to fully utilize 4G rather than 3G.
9) Summer 2011
AT&T Markets First the LTE Devices
AT&T begins marketing its faster 4G LTE network with the HTC Vivid and Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, both Android powered devices. The phones can access networks via both LTE and HSPA+ 4G protocols for seamless connectivity inside and out of areas of LTE coverage; an advantage at a time when many 4G networks remain under construction. Although Verizon, AT&T's nemesis of sorts, had at least a year head start on promoting 4G LTE, this is significant due to the fact that it ushers in the new generation of competition for 4G wireless between the major wireless carriers.
8) Spring 2012
AT&T significantly expands it's large scale deployment of 4G LTE coverage in North America
AT&T expands their 4G LTE network to New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Naples and over 20 other metro area in the Southern United States. As of May,2012, over 35 metro areas are online with LTE from AT&T. This development highlights how the LTE technology will soon dominate most urban areas, but also the limits of such coverage and how these limits had been previously cloaked by the ability of devices to utilize multiple networks. AT&T's challenge will be to make their infrastructure investments visible to the consumer in a time of multiple connectivity options.
7) April 2006
World First Commercial 4G Network is turned on
KT Wireless deploys and expands the 4G network in Busan, South Korea, to cover extended sections of South Korea. It is the worlds first commercial mobile 4G service in Seoul, South Korea, and becomes the testbed and object of keen interest for wireless providers around the world.
6) January 26th 2008
AT&T and Verizon acquire the additional spectrum needed to build out their North American 4G networks.
An FCC auction redistributing frequencies formerly assigned to analog television begins with the lion share of the spectrum falling into the hands of Verizon Wireless. The second largest winner of airspace is AT&T, forecasting intense competition between the networks for 4G customers that would reach its peak 3 months later. Both companies will support the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard.
5) November 12th 2008
The First 4G Mobile Device Hits Store Shelves
HTC announces the first 4G compatible wireless device. Mobile Phone manufacturer HTC announces the production of the Max 4G. It is the first 4G phone on the market and makes use of the WiMAX protocol. It retails for the equivalent of $800 and runs the Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system. The Max 4G goes on sale in December 2008.
4) December 2009
The beginning of the "4G Wars" Among the Major Wireless Providers
Sprint begins advertising 4G in earnest: Sprint begins targeting select US cities with 4G specific advertising. Download speeds are only 3-6Mbit/s with peak speeds of 10Mbit/s, much slower than expected. The network is as of yet incomplete and only fully functional in certain areas. This event is significant due to the fact that it marks the start of the era of competitive 4G promotion and advertising among the major wireless providers.
3) June 2010 FCC
First Emergency Network Built on 4G Approved by the FCC
Wireless 4G is deemed stable enough that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) publishes a white paper outlining the comparative safety and robustness of a 4G network for use by first responders. The network would allow emergency personnel to communicate across boundaries and devices, and facilitate interactive maps, video, and other tools to assist emergency personnel.
2) October 2011
iPhone 4S on AT&T begins taking advantage of 4G
Apple releases the iOS 5.1 update, a software upgrade that grants the iPhone 4S, a previously 3G only device, pseudo 4G capabilities. The update enhances the speed of the device, but does not allow it to partially exploit the potential of the 4G AT&T networks. The update works by leveraging AT&T HSPA+ 4G network, and allows AT&T's iPhone customers to double download speeds on average in some cases - up to approximately 7 Mpbs
1) April 2012
Reliable Sources Report iPhone 5 to be a True 4G Device
Multiple reliable "inside source" news and information outlets reports that Apple, one of the world's largest and most popular smart phone manufactures will make the iPhone 5 a fully 4G based device. This would be the first genuine 4G offering from the tech giant to date. The massive popularity of the iPhone means that the release of the iPhone 5 will likely usher in an unprecedented wave of 4G enabled smart phones and mobile broadband devices. The iPhone 5 reportedly will utilize each providers 4G technology, including 4G LTE , HSPA+, and WiMax.
Category: New Technolgies and Trends