Three backs down on '4G' rollout claims

Summary:The operator Three has toned down a blogpost in which it had claimed it was going to roll out '4G' mobile broadband in the UK this year.The original post appeared on Wednesday, suggesting that Three would market a very fast version of 3G — namely 42Mbps HSPA+ technology — as being 4G.

The operator Three has toned down a blogpost in which it had claimed it was going to roll out '4G' mobile broadband in the UK this year.

The original post appeared on Wednesday, suggesting that Three would market a very fast version of 3G — namely 42Mbps HSPA+ technology — as being 4G. T-Mobile does the same thing in the US.

However, after sparking extensive coverage of its '4G' plans, Three has backed down, changing the post to refer to the operator's upcoming "leading edge 3G service" in its title.

"That was our mistake – it's definitely not 4G. It's 3G," a Three spokesman told ZDNet UK on Thursday.

HSPA+ may be fast, but it is indeed not 4G. Nor, until the end of 2010, was LTE, the technology that most consider to be 4G now.

LTE was originally classed as a 3G technology, with a follow-on technology called LTE-Advanced that would have qualified as 4G. However, in December 2010, the ITU agreed with operators that LTE and WiMax services could be justifiably marketed as 4G.

In terms of its benefits over 3G technology such as HSPA+, LTE is not only fast, but also more spectrally efficient than its predecessor standards, with less latency.

The spectrum needed to roll out LTE in the UK will be very belatedly auctioned off at the end of this year. After that, Three is likely to roll out its first UK 4G services.

Topics: Telcos

About

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't be paying many bills. His early journalistic career was spent in general news, working behind the scenes for BBC radio and on-air as a newsreader for independent stations. David's main focus is on communications, of both... Full Bio

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