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​I want to try and clear something up here, because a lot of people think that the ITU has accepted HSPA+ as a 4G technology. This is wrong on so many levels.

The ITU does not control the term "4G." They have been trying to do this for a long time now, but 4G is not a specification or standard. It means 4th generation - in this case it means 4th generation WWAN air interface technology. To talk about speeds is to not understand what these technologies are. 3G technologies were all based on CDMA primarily. HSPA+ is a 3G technology that is compatible with WCDMA, HSDPA, and HSUPA (or HSPA). WIMAX and LTE are 4G technologies because they are OFMDA-based and they will be compatible with WiMAX2 and LTE-Advanced, respectively. The ITU defines IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced based on performance requirements. This has nothing to do with the fundamental generation of technology, and has included a mix of technologies. IMT-2000, for example contains 3G and 4G technologies. As long as you understand that IMT-Advanced does not equal 4G, then all this confusion goes away.

The ITU backed away from tying IMT-Advanced and 4G together after stirring a debate and after the IEEE sent them a letter where the IEEE disagreed with the ITU's use of 4G and pointed out that the working group in the ITU specifically recommended that the ITU avoid using the term 4G. Buried in a mixed press release, the ITU acknowledged that other technologies can also be referred to as 4G, but also mentioned advanced 3G technologies. (Saying a 3G technology can be 4G does not make sense though.) So people assumed that now the ITU relaxed its requirements. No! They didn't IMT-Advanced is still IMT-Advanced - only WiMAX2 and LTE-Advanced meet the ITU's requirements for IMT-Advanced. Just because the ITU seemed to say that HSPA+ can be 4G too does not make it so.

4G (which is OFDMA, where 3G is CDMA) is a completely separate thing from the ITU's performance requirements for IMT-Advanced.


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