Study: 34% of iPhone owners mistakenly think they have 4G

Retrevo shows third of iPhone users confused on 4G

A fresh Retrevo study has revealed that many iPhone and BlackBerry users are confused about the network speeds of their phones. About 34 percent of iPhone owners and 24 percent of BlackBerry owners believe they already have a 4G phone, even though neither fits even the loosest definitions of the technology. Only Android owners could claim 4G, though it's not known how much of the 29 percent saying they have 4G phones own a device or are confused like their peers.

The confusion for iPhone owners may have stemmed from the naming scheme. Many likely think they own an "iPhone 4G" simply because of the last digit, the studiers estimated. BlackBerry owners didn't have that justification, making their beliefs all the more unusual.

Apple didn't necessarily have to worry about users holding off. About 40 percent of iPhone owners would buy one regardless, and 21 percent more would at least consider it. Eight percent of Android users said they would jump ship for an iPhone even without 4G, and 23 percent of BlackBerry owners would do the same. Roughly 12 percent of Android users and 18 percent of their BlackBerry counterparts were at least open to the idea of switching.

Many are hesitant to adopt 4G; 30 percent believe the plans are too expensive, and 22 percent don't think it's worth the expense. Another 19 percent don't know enough to make a decision, Retrevo said.

Some of the problems of expectations surrounding 4G may come from carrier redefinitions of the term. Sprint had a tentative legitimacy in calling a network 4G with its switch to WiMAX, but T-Mobile quickly complicated matters when it called its HSPA+ 3G network "4G" and began naming all its devices in that direction. AT&T felt compelled to follow suit, and Verizon is so far considered the closest to having a genuine 4G network with its LTE.

Apple isn't expected to have LTE iPhones this year but may fit into the wider definitions of 4G with a dual-mode chipset that could support at least 14.4Mbps HSPA and possibly 21Mbps.





TOTAL_COMMENTS Comments
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  1. imNat-imadouche 07/12, 07:55pm

    illustrates how stupid Apple consumers are.

    It will be interesting to see how many Apple computer owners think they have a 'real' computer.

  1. JuanGuapo 07/12, 07:56pm

    There isn't really anything on the market right now that is technically-speaking "4G."

    100Mbps or higher only.

  1. global.philosopher 07/12, 08:09pm

    Such as imNat-imadouche and wrench and Jonathan-Tanya and Facebook_Clarence.
    Oh for where art thou Wrenchy.

  1. global.philosopher 07/12, 08:16pm

    I doubt most Android owners even know they have Android. android is the new generic brand replacing Symbian. This is why it has taken off. There of course serious Android users who know what they are purchasing similar to iOS buyers but I would guess that most handset buyers are after a cheap phone that can make calls and SMS. Most probably have ever downloaded an App which is why the carriers love Android, they preload with bloatware and active wallpapers with pop up Ads and the owner will never go beyond what is preloaded.

  1. Makosuke 07/12, 08:23pm

    I'm not particularly surprised that a third of iPhone users have no idea what cell technology they're using. A full quarter of Blackberry users also are confused (since there are no 4G Blackberry devices, either), and I seriously doubt that anywhere near 1/3 of the Android handsets currently in use are 4G, either. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if you told me that 5% of Android owners thought they WERE using an iPhone.

    This is actually a really good illustration of why the iPhone, iPad, and Android handhelds are doing so well versus "traditional" computers for the home user--the average person is utterly clueless about technology, and just wants it to work and be easy to use. Which iOS and Android are, far more than Windows or the MacOS.

  1. wrenchy 07/12, 10:28pm


    Many tech sites but more so consumers were calling the iPhone 4 "The iPhone 4G" when it released. Funny how a single letter can cause such confusion.

  1. thebiggfrogg 07/13, 12:12am

    7 little letters can cause so much retching:
    Give me a:
    W-R-E-N-C-H-Y!
    What does it spell? Asshat!
    Zoinks!

  1. wrenchy 07/13, 12:57am


    is 6 letters you asshat.

  1. thebiggfrogg 07/13, 11:16am

    7 letters YOU asshat!
    I TRIED to spell it out for you. Better get to a doctor to fix those scraped knuckles. Concrete is a b****!

  1. dliup 07/13, 11:30am

    Study: 87.5% of Android users think they bought an iPhone. ;p

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