Drowning in Superfast 4G Hype

Less than 24 hours have elapsed since yesterday’s rant about the 4G hype and already there’s some bullshit piece in tonight’s Express and Star showing the cutting-edge, well researched, informative and technically accurate that publication has an unenviable reputation for, saying that the lack of 4G will cost the UK economy £120 million, according to “a study” (and then it fails to mention who commissioned the study [edit- reading the article again, Ebay commisiioned it], or any data whatsoever). It then quotes Ebay as saying that “slow connection speeds, payments timing out, and network reliability” were barriers that would be “effectively eliminated by 4G”

E&S Article

From the Express and Star, 31-10-2012. Unmitigated bollocks.
Click to embiggen.

This is starting to look like a Daily Mash Story with bold assertions, quotes from imaginary experts, and meaningless, unqualified stats.

I’m now drowning in bullshit. As my dear friend Andy points out there’s so much marketing crap here, and as a tech who is asked to provide solutions to people who read this shit, it’s wearing very thin.

Does the lack of mobile internet really cost sales? Maybe a few. A smartphone is a crappy way to browse Amazon or Ebay, with small screens and no proper keyboard. I’m sure a smartphone app will improve this, as would using a tablet, which may well have mobile data capability, but £120 million? really? Will people not just wait until they’re at home/work/Starbucks?

If 3G was actually available everywhere, it would do just fine for present-day Internet shopping, being about as fast as many people’s fixed-line ADSL. Of course given time, bandwidth requirements will rise: the Internet of the 90s coped on 33.6-56Kbit/sec, whereas now even 10 times that seems sluggish, so we will need 4G one day, and yes, installation should start now, but it’s not a requirement right now, and a good job too, because it will take a good while.

4G will not magically fix poor coverage, and will, trust me, cost a lot of money to implement.

I do find the tech industry very frustrating: the false promises, the use of tech terms as (inaccurate) buzzwords, the assumption that a “new” technology will magically make everything rosy. The shiny adverts, and the shiny-suited salesmen that perpetuate the myths. It must be very confusing for those of us that don’t have a deeply cynical view…

6 Responses to “Drowning in Superfast 4G Hype”

  1. Species5618 Says:

    Gloucester had t-mob and orange shop, ONE buildings apart,
    now we have TWO EE shops ONE building apart,
    both pushing 4G and LTE devices, and our nearest working LTE cell is 40 miles away

    at least they are pushing data ,not video calling which no one wanted, like the 3G hype

  2. Willenhall Lad Says:

    The world is changing slowly through people seeing the real state of affairs in such things as American Corporations and tax. This may be a signal moment in our relationship with the provision of goods and services with the consumer. People are wising up as the PPI scandal has shown.

    Lets wait and see what happens and if there is any effect from it.

  3. stymaster Says:

    Video Calling. Heh. I have *never* used it, which did make me wonder why Apple made such a deal out of facetime (which didn’t even work over 3G, requiring wi-fi), when a)No-one used it and b) Every crappy 3G phone has been doing that for years.

  4. BrownhillsBob Says:

    Right, I’ll bite.

    I quite like the idea of 4G. I use a lot of data on the move. A faster connection would be useful.

    Like any new system, it’s horridly expensive and not to be adopted right now. But I remember the same why-oh-why handwringing over GSM over analog and 3G.

    The Voda signal around Walsall Wood is shit. It has been for years, and Voda’s coverage in general is far worse than it was when I signed up for them 3 years ago. Although I loathe Orange with a passion, I have a PAYG SIM in my iPad and the coverage is ace, even in the wilds, especially if you enable network hopping between T-mob (RIP) and Orange.

    It’s radio. Coverage is always going to be spotty. MUch of this is the inevitable NIMBYism that seems the masts as spawn of the devil. The Gravelly Hill dead spot is the bane of my life.

    Marketing? It’s all shite – what’s the difference between EE ads and ads for sofas? It’s all broken.

    I for one welcome our new data overlords, because, when it boils down to it, I’m a mobile data junkie.

    Whether Orange (EE? Eughh) become my pusher remains to be seen

    Flameproof pants on


  5. stymaster Says:

    Ah, I’m not after a bite from you, and you haven’t, because my issue here isn’t with 4G itself, nor am I arguing about the usefulness of good mobile data: you’re much more dependent on it than I am: most of my time when I’m between connections is in the car, when it is unusual (but not unheard of) to need a connection (I have, before now, sat in a lay-by in Great Barr logged into a server at work)

    4G will be useful. One day, and the implementation needs to start now. New handsets should support it, at least premium ones, and the base stations should be put out.

    My gripe here is mostly the marketing, and a big helping of “please, journalists, for fuck’s sake, check your facts, and have some knowledge of what you write about”, along with frustration at adverts that are, shall we say, over-enthusiastic, tending to misleading.

    4G will be fantastic in some places, like 3G is now, and crap in others, for exactly the reasons you state. I fully welcome it: I just wish the bullshit would stop.

    I can’t bring myself to use Orange, after the threatening letters, hours to customer “service”,baliffs, and cancelled service following calls I’s supposedly made from Germany five minutes after one from Worcester, when roaming wasn’t even enabled, the shower of cunts. And since the awful EE renaming, no chance.

    I consider the others to be bit players (is this an out-of-date view?) so that leaves me with Vodafone, the tax-dodging bastards who can’t supply a decent signal in parts of Walsall Wood.

  6. Willenhall Lad Says:

    Orange are evil. Even working for a Government quango didn’t mean that we were exempt from there poor bill paying service and in the end we had to get the University’s lawyers on to it – that’s after we were given a demo smart phone to use! bastards.

    T-Mobile and Vodaphone wouldn’t give me a Business contract but O2 did so that’s why I ended up with them and a poor network. I can’t bring myself to move as there is little alternative.

    I have to agree with your all though about the hype. It is sickening and what winds me up more is the fact it’s “reinforced” by the BBC.