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One third of iPhone owners believe they already have 4G service

In the latest study completed by Retrevo, 34 percent of iPhone owners are under the impression that the iPhone 4 and older Apple models are compatible with 4G service. It’s possible this confusion is attributed to the name of the iPhone 4. In addition, 24 percent of BlackBerry owners are of the same mindset despite a lack of a 4G alternative from RIM. 29 percent of Android owners also thought they had a 4G smartphone already, a possibility that’s likely true due to the quicker roll-out of 4G-compatible models like the Motorola Atrix 4G or the HTC Sensation 4G.

Forty percent of iPhone owners are planning on buying the next model, rumored to be announced in September, even if it doesn’t provide 4G service. Another 21 percent of the same demographic would consider purchasing the new phone, thus the lack of 4G service doesn’t appear to drastically cut into Apple’s core audience. BlackBerry owners are likely to leave RIM for Apple as over 40 percent of the respondents are seriously considering the next iPhone. Android users are more loyal as only one in five are looking into switching to the new iPhone.

Consumers also appear to be confused about 4G service and don’t understand the performance gains. Despite moving from 2 -3 Mbps on 3G to 10Mbps or more on 4G service, twenty-two percent of smartphone owners don’t think 4G performance is worth the cost. Another 30 percent believe that the cost of the 4G data plans are too expensive and 19 percent didn’t understand 4G enough to make a purchase decision.

It’s clear that cellular companies need to improve the level of education on 4G service. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo in California’s 14th district introduced a bill last month called the “Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act“. This piece of legislation is targeted at companies like AT&T and Verizon to push clarification on what speeds are actually being provided to the consumer.

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