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printed October 20, 2017
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Fourth Generation

A somewhat vague term used to describe wireless mobile radio technologies that offer faster data rates than 3G (third generation) technologies.

See: 3G

4G networks are also more data-centric and based on standard Internet technologies such as IP. Voice service, if provided over the 4G network, is typically provided using a special form of VoIP.

See: VoIP

The most common technology worldwide recognized as 4G is LTE.

See: LTE

A less-common 4G technology is WiMAX, which Sprint initially deployed for 4G, before backtracking and deploying LTE instead.

See: WiMAX

Some carriers (service providers / network operators) - including T-Mobile and AT&T - have used the term "4G" to refer to upgraded 3G networks that provide near-4G data speeds even they are based on 3G technology. HSPA+ technology is the 3G upgrade that enables these faster speeds.


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