So, the other day I'm watching TV, and up comes one of those Sprint commercials -- you know, the ones where everything is either white, black or yellow, and there's that quirky uptempo music in the background, and we're meeting different adults who are pretty much acting like they're 15 again. Usually these ads end by calling Sprint network "America's most reliable 3G network". But this one had replaced that with talk about them being a 4G network -- whatever that means. (Note to the phone service community: the whole "G" concept? Confusing. "G"s mean gigs, kids; you're talking speed. So think of something else, maybe something that actually makes it clear what sort of advantage is being asserted, something like "zips", "flash" or "whooshes". (Ok, maybe not "whooshes", but you get the idea. Lord, it's called Sprint -- why not the 4S?)
Even so, we all understand the point -- 4G = the new thing, the next step, not your older, out-of-touch teenager brother's wireless. The wireless network for the next, you know, 6 months. Except, it turns out maybe by "new thing" what Sprint really means is "new legal development." As reported in portfolio.com Friday, it turns out Sprint Nextel has been court ordered to stop saying it had the most reliable 3G network, because -- well, it actually doesn't. In fact, studies have shown that Verizon Wireless is in fact the most reliable. Maybe the number of Gs isn't about speed, after all, but about the degree of truth present in the claim. 4G -- oh yeah, way more truthful. Always room for improvement, but definitely truthy.
Jim McDermott, SJ