Verizon's 4G chicken soup - Mobile World Live

Verizon’s 4G chicken soup

01 DEC 2010

The faux 4G marketing wars are in full swing in the US. First up was Sprint’s declaration in 2008 of WiMAX as a 4G technology, then T-Mobile USA earlier this year trumpeted its HSPA+ network as fourth-generation. Next up, Verizon Wireless played its hand, dubbing its new nationwide network (which launches Sunday) ‘4G LTE.’ Of course, none of these technologies can officially be termed 4G (at least from a technical standpoint), since the ITU has stated that only LTE-Advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced technologies qualify for this future status.

Verizon’s use of the term 4G in its LTE marketing is likely to be the most high-profile reference of the three US operators currently waving the 4G flag. Its launch of the new technology will make it the world’s largest LTE operator, and it’s understandable that in showcasing such an ambitious new network rollout it felt the need to remain at the forefront of the 4G marketing battle.

On a conference call with reporters today, announcing launch details of the huge LTE network, it became clear that promoting the new service presents something of a paradox for the operator.

On the one hand, Verizon Wireless’ CTO Tony Melone declared: “Not all 4G is the same… this is the real deal.” He went on to claim that the new network “will provide the launching pad for the future of mobile broadband and the future of mobile communications for the next 10 years.”

On the other hand, Melone admitted that there is a feeling in the industry that the 4G term is “overused.” Indeed, the CTO at times appeared keen to distance himself from the 4G moniker. “Whether we call it 4G or something else is really not that relevant,” he said, adding that LTE represents a “quantum generational step up” from the company’s current 3G EVDO network. “When I say real deal, that’s what I mean… The term 4G has been used for many years.”

Closing the conference call, Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson had the last word, quipping: “Whether you call it 4G or chicken soup, it launches this Sunday.”

Given the actions of its competitors Verizon has had no choice but to play the 4G brand game. And, publicly at least, the operator is adamant that the quality of its new chicken soup will set it apart from ‘rival’ dishes.


Justin Springham, Managing Editor

The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members


Justin Springham

Justin manages the editorial content for the Mobile World Live portal and award-winning Mobile World Live TV service. In the last few years Justin has launched and grown a portfolio of premier media products, which include the Mobile World Congress...

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