New legislation aims to better define 4G

4GCalifornia Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo has proposed the Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act, which among other things aims to finally clarify what 4G is. The term has come to mean little more than “faster than 3G,” but fails to actually meet the official definition. The International Telecommunication Union dictates that a 4G device must meet certain requirements, a definition that was softened this past December. “As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as ‘4G,’ although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved technologies provided a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed,” the ITU said.

Confused yet? You’re not alone. Basically what 4G has come to mean is that a device’s network has implemented the technology to transfer data between 1-12Mbps – approximately working as quickly as Wi-Fi. But 4G has been interpreted and reinterpreted to the point where it just means better than 3G and is little more than a buzz word–one that people apparently don’t care about. A recent study revealed that 4G capability doesn’t have much of an effect on customer purchases. Whether that’s due to consumer confusion or the fact that the term has been flagrantly tossed around, or both, it doesn’t matter – but it does mean that people need to be more convinced if anyone wants to make money off of 4G.

The Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act wants to do just that by requiring “accurate disclosures to consumers of the terms and conditions of 4G services and other advanced wireless mobile broadband service.” Not only does the bill propose better explaining 4G, it wants consumers to know exactly what they can expect – even demand – when paying a carrier for 4G service. When purchasing a 4G capable device, subscribers would be given materials “guarantee[ing] minimum data speed, network reliability, coverage area maps, pricing, technology used to provide 4G service, and network conditions that can impact the speed of applications and services used on the network.”

It would additionally require the FCC to analyze the top 10 wireless carriers and their speed and price, and make this information available to consumers. “Consumers deserve to know exactly what they’re getting for their money when they sign-up for a 4G data plant,” Eshoo says. “The wireless industry has invested billions to improve service coverage, reliability and data speeds, and consumers’ demand for 4G is expected to explode. But consumers need to know the truth about the speeds they’re actually getting.”

Mobile

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Computing

Here's why 64-bit (not 32-bit) dominates modern computing

Today's computing world isn't the same as it once was. With 64-bit processors and operating systems replacing the older 32-bit designs, we look at what 32-bit vs. 64-bit really means for you.
Computing

New rumors say the Pixelbook 2 could show up at CES 2019

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Home Theater

Looking for the best 4K Ultra HD TVs you can buy? Here are five great options

If it's time to upgrade your old 1080p to a new 4K model but you don't know what to look for, fear not, as we're here with a list of the best 4K Ultra HD TVs to help make your buying process as easy as possible.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Deals

Walmart drops prices on Apple Watches and other fitness trackers

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wearable heart rate monitors from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin are popular gifts. Wearables are smarter and more capable than in earlier years. We found the best wearables deals on Walmart.
Wearables

The best Wear OS watches

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the best Wear OS watches out there.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.
Mobile

How to switch from iPhone to Android: The ultimate guide

If you've decided to bridge the great tech divide and leave Apple's walled garden for the unknown shores of Android, then you'll find all the tips and advice you need to begin switching from an iPhone to an Android device.
Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.
Mobile

Apple pushing update to iPhone in China in response to legal troubles

Apple has been facing legal issues in China due to alleged infringements of patents from Qualcomm Inc. On Friday, Apple announced it will push a software update in China in hopes of resolving any potential legal issues around the iPhone.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.