ITU classifies WiMAX, LTE as 4G networks

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), of which Ghana is chair, has declared that WiMAX and LTE (Long Term Evolution) can be classified as fourth generation (4G) technologies.

The decision was taken at the ITU World Radiocommunication Seminar 2010 (WRS-10) held earlier this month.

The decision is in spite of the technical specifications of 4G, but it is expected to delight industry marketing people.

A statement on the ITU website says the ITU determined that “LTE-Advanced” and “WirelessMAN-Advanced” should be accorded the official designation of IMT-Advanced.

“This accords them the status of 4G technologies, as far as the technology side is concerned,” it said.

It said the detailed specifications of the IMT-Advanced technologies will be provided in a new ITU-R Recommendation expected in early 2012.

The statement said the decision of the ITU to adopt a more marketing based approach to a technology decision will be especially good news in the USA, where T-Mobile has been touting its HSPA+ network as being 4G, and drawing anger from the LTE and WiMAX operators who were trying to reserve that declaration for their own “not quite 4G either” technologies.

But the statement said “that still will not excuse PR firms regularly sending us press releases about their latest 4G product without also specifying which technology platform it is based on.”

By Samuel Dowuona

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