Another brand disconnect from Verizon and AT&T

You’ve probably seen the ads for something called 4G LTE. They are hard to miss.

Do you have any idea what 4G LTE is? More to the point, do AT&T and Verizon care that you don’t?

That last question is rhetorical: of course they don’t, or they wouldn’t be using these obscure initialisms.

In spite of the revolution sweeping the telecommunications industry it is startling just how customer unfriendly the big telecom providers continue to be with their branding practices.

In telecommunications parlance, 4G is simply the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards and, logically, a successor to the 3G and 2G families of standards.

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, and what that is is anyone’s guess.  Something is presumably in the process of evolving over the long-term. As far as I can sensibly ascertain, LTE is a mobile broadband technology that allows people to stream music and watch videos on their smart phones and iPads anywhere, and download it quicker. So LTE is basically the same as 4G, and 4G LTE is saying the same thing twice.

In the world of telecommunications the future is undeniably digital. While high-quality wireless access has become a critical competitive necessity for cable, satellite TV, telecommunications and Internet service providers it is hard to understand what a company like Verizon is thinking with its inscrutable techno-babble acronyms. Educating people to be loyal to incremental generations of technology is very shortsighted. Today’s breakthrough is tomorrow’s obsolete technology, as 1-800 Flowers, Tower Records, Hollywood Video and American Telephone & Telegraph evidence.

If they are to have any differentiating relevance in the future, telecom companies have to get the engineers out of the marketing department, put few more marketers in the c-suite, move beyond the technology acronyms and discover a different, deeper way to connect with people.

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