The discussion below talks about the complexities/confusion surrounding LTE and its variation or earlier and later versions, and because of the slight deception, whether intentional or marketing strategy, adds up to the puzzlement.
I think Axelei was able to explain it real good...though I'm still at a lost and suffering nosebleed. Read on.
"Let’s make this clear since you are spreading wrong information in your podcast and blogs.Actually anything between HSPA and the original WiMax is called 3G Transitional and it pertains to all 3.5G, 3.75G, and 3.9G. It doesn’t matter which one you pick, its an unofficial name that didn’t get certified.
HSPA+ is 3.75G, the current LTE of Smart and Globe is 3.9G and LTE Advanced is the real 4G based on the final spec.
Please read up on your topic before making any comments."
However, companies (including Globe), called it 4G as most of US did when they didn’t have the real 4G spec.
Today, you have LTE (advanced), as you say and that’s the official spec 4G.
Whichever the case, anything that isn’t LTE is considered 3.9g or lower.
"What is funny is that you keep on referring to HSPA+ as 3.9G. I don’t know where you got that information. Please, if you have to criticize the telco, be properly informed beforehand."
Here you go then:
LTE in Context
3GPP LTE is one of five major wireless standards sometimes referred to as “3.9G.” The other so-called 3.9G standards are: 3GPP HSPA+, 3GPP EDGE Evolution, 3GPP2 ultra-mobile broadband (UMB), and Mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e), which encompasses the earlier WiBro developed by the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) in Korea.
There’s this too:
This reality, though, hasn’t stopped those carriers from marketing LTE, WiMAX (a 3G technology, by the way, according to the ITU), and even HSPA and HSPA+ as 4G. Such is not entirely unfair, as performance for each of these can easily exceed the two Mbps of the ITU’s 3G definition. Other unofficial designations, including 3.5G, 3.75G, and 3.9G have consequently been used to describe these technologies.
And then there’s Wikipedia:
(3.5G, 3.75G, 3.9G)
HSPA HSPA+ LTE (E-UTRA)
CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Revision A (TIA/EIA/IS-856-A)
EV-DO Revision B (TIA/EIA/IS-856-B) DO Advanced
Mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e) Flash-OFDM IEEE 802.20
Of course in official ITU terms 3.9G should stand for LTE (non Advanced). However, everybody has been using the terms loosely – just like when WiFi N was still in draft form. You should also look at how Globe was marketing their HSPA+ as “4G”. Shouldn’t they be calling it 3.5G? I don’t know.
Perhaps the telcos have to clearly define their standards better and not confuse its users before we should start really using their official names.
*credits to thetechnoclast.com