Will False 4G Claims Invite Government Intervention?

T-Mobile some time ago was talking to Sprint's Clearwire about investing in WiMax as part of an effort to build out a 4G network. But why invest when you can simply claim to have "America's Largest 4G Network."

T-Mobile has apparently decided that's its new marketing tagline. I saw signage for it in T-Mobile store windows in New York yesterday. In addition, the company has launched a TV campaign that spoofs the "I'm a Mac" ads that were so successful for Apple. It ridicules AT&T's network as aging and slow. "America's Largest 4G Network" is the rebranding of T-Mobile's HSPA network, which earlier this year was called "America's fastest 3G network." 

Meanwhile Sprint/Clearwire and Verizon (with LTE) are making their respective 4G claims -- or gearing up to in Verizon's case. The only problem is that none -- none -- of these networks is truly 4G. Actual "4G" requires speeds of 100 mbps. None of the carriers in the US market are remotely near those speeds. 

My question is this: when will the FCC or FTC step in and smack all these claims down so that they can't simply be made without some basis in fact? It's fine to say, "We've got a faster network." But it's not fine to make claims that simply aren't real or true. 

That's what you might call  . . . false advertising. 

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