ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska cell phone carrier launched it's 4G service this week in the Anchorage area, but there is debate over what is really considered 4G.
General Communications, Inc. is using High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) plus network for it's 4G service.
"An average user might get 100 kilobytes per second in a download," GCI spokesperson Dave Morris said during an interview. "With 4G speed you'll get somewhere around 3 megabits per second."
HSPA is rated up to speeds of 21 megabits per second, but that is not what the average user will see.
Initially, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency that regulates cell phones, said 4G speeds must reach 100 megabits per second to be considered 4G. The union then reversed it's decision, saying that companies that use the HSPA plus system, like GCI, or a system called Long-Term Evolution (LTE), like Alaska Communications plans to use, are considered first generation 4G.
"There will be a second version and those will have to deliver much faster data speeds of 100 megabits per second," Mike Gikas, senior electronics editor for Consumer Reports said.
Alaska Communications has not yet announced when it will launch it's 4G service.