Marketers to Adjust Their 4G Promotions

Telecommunications, especially mobile communications, remains one of the most heavily promoted categories in the U.S. In 2009, spending on telecommunications, internet services and ISPs was surpassed only by the automotive and retail industries and reached $10. 2 billion.  With wireless capability now in the hands of 93% of consumers and industry revenues having reached the annual level of $155 billion, operators are looking to differentiate themselves in the face of slower growth.

The latest industry buzzword, 4G, is one way that operators have been differentiating themselves. The 4G term is familiar to over 80% of U.S. consumers. But only 50% of consumers understand what 4G means.  Here are the percentages of consumers who correctly selected definitions:

  • Air interface technology that allows wireless data speeds of 100 M bits/​s 54%
  • WiMAX 10%
  • LTE (long term evolution) 4%

Significant percentages of consumers believe that 4G equates to wireless data transfer at broadband speeds or a mobile network that allows for high quality video.  These capabilities hold true on only some, not all, 4G networks.  And 27% of consumers incorrectly believe that the iPhone 4 is 4G.

Consumers appear to have great interest in this technology. About 29% say they intend to purchase a 4G phone within the next year. To avoid consumer disappointment and confusion, telecommunications vendors may consider improving their ad campaigns to educate potential purchasers on the specific features they’ll be getting.

[Sources: Domestic Ad Spending by Category. AdAge​.com. 2010. Web. 19 Jan. 2011; Wireless Quick Facts. CTIA​.org. 2010. Web. 19 Jan. 2011; Kellogg, Don. 4G Phones are Here. nielsenwire​.com. 6 Jan. 2011. Web. 19 Jan. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.