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Senate bill wants to pin down 4G claims made by wireless companies

Consumer Reports News: October 14, 2011 12:08 PM

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A new Senate bill aims to require wireless carriers to clarify what they call 4G service, since the term is being used for several different networks in the United State.

Across the board, 4G is marketed as a faster all-round service upgrade from 3G. While it's true that carriers are moving to speed up their data networks, each seems to be attempting to outdo the other when it comes to hyping 4G claims. And according to tech site BGR, an International Telecommunications Union policy allows wireless carriers to advertise newer, updated 3G technologies as “4G” networks.

Filed by Senators Amy Kobuchar (D-Minn.), Al Franken, (D-Minn.), and Richard Blumenthal, (D-Conn.), the bill would mean carriers would provide upfront information about what a 4G offer includes, such as a coverage map, network reliability, and minimum and maximum data speeds, among other clarifications.

“Wireless providers need to make sure their customers can count on the speed, reliability, and the price they were promised when they signed up,” Senator Franken said in a statement. “And if they can’t fulfill their promise, they need to be held accountable.”

The Senate bill follows in the footsteps of the Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act, introduced in the House this past June, which also sets out to create a standard definition of 4G.

For more information about what 4G service is and is not, check out The 4G myth: what you need to know.

Senators introduce bill to hold carriers accountable for ’4G’ claims [BGR]

Maggie Shader

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