Broadband Expert Consumer Alert: When shopping for digital devices or a new carrier this holiday season, Broadband Expert says make sure you get what you are paying for

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4G or not 4G, That is the Question? Broadband Expert explains what consumers need to know.

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To classify three different technologies as 4G, when many people will not realize they could be signing up to a completely different technology... is unfair to consumers.

In time for holiday season shopping, just when consumers are buying all types of digital devices, broadband consumer champion website, Broadband Expert ([ issues a consumer alert: “Consumers may be disappointed to find that not all 4G internet connections are created equal and none currently live up to the marketing hype.” Broadband Expert CEO, Rob Webber, commented on the need for the alert, “Most consumers who see carriers advertising 4G internet services are not aware that they could be signing up to a completely different technology depending on which carrier they choose.”

While Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all market 4G services, three different technologies are behind these 4G networks, all of which have differing theoretical (and real world) top speeds.

LTE: Verizon & AT&T use LTE that offers the fastest theoretical (the emphasis being on theoretical) download speeds of up to 300Mbps; real world speeds are typically 5Mpbs – 12 Mbps. In addition to speed, a very important factor to consider is coverage; particularly as Verizon’s LTE currently covers 165 cities, where as AT&T’s LTE only covers 15 major cities at present.

HSPA+: T-Mobile uses a technology called HSPA+ that is viewed by many as an upgraded 3G that offers top theoretical speeds of 42Mbps; real world speeds are 2Mbps – 8Mbps. T-Mobile’s 4G coverage is available in 191 markets. AT&T also uses HSPA+ to help boost speeds in some cities where their LTE network is not yet available.

WiMAX: Sprint, the first carrier to offer 4G in the U.S., uses WiMAX, a technology that offers a theoretical top download speed of 128 Mbps; however, real world speeds are 3Mbps - 6Mbps. Sprint claims to have 4G coverage in over 80 major cities and has recently announced they will launch an LTE network in 2012.

Webber says, “To classify three different technologies as 4G, when many people will not realize they could be signing up to a completely different technology offering very different performance dependent on which provider they choose and where they live, is unfair to the consumers”

Webber continues, “On a national basis, Verizon is leading the pack by offering the best LTE coverage; with T-Mobile coming in a close second due to their good coverage with their HSPA+ network. AT&T and Sprint have some catching up to do as they grow their 4G networks. Unfortunately, the best provider for someone in one zip code won’t always be the best for someone in different area. What is important is that consumers understand that the speeds they are actually likely to get will differ depending on which carrier they choose and where they live”.

Webber believes that in addition to clearing up the confusion around the various 4G technologies, more can be done to set realistic consumer expectations of the speeds they are likely to achieve. “Carriers have an obligation not to promote unrealistic maximum speeds which are very rarely achievable but should rather concentrate on informing consumers of the speeds they are likely to attain”.

About Broadband Expert

Broadband Expert is part of RichWeb Media LLC, a privately owned company specializing in consumer advice and price comparison websites. Broadband Expert is independent of all internet providers and mobile broadband providers and aims to give a no nonsense guide to choosing the right service for your internet needs at the lowest price. At Broadband Expert, we research internet providers and mobile broadband providers to help you see the true cost including any hidden extras. We provide consumers with tools to check availability in their area and compare internet providers by download limits, speeds, set up fee, first year cost and minimum contract.

Follow us on Twitter: @BroadbandExpUS

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Alec Rosen
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