June 21, 2012 at 7:12 PM ET
Despite conflicting and confusing definitions of what exactly constitutes "4G," it seems that users of high-speed wireless services are happy enough with them that they're considering replacing their home broadband connections with it. That may not be possible for everyone just yet, but it looks like the demand is there.
The research by Nielsen showed major growth in 4G adoption, even though a majority of their survey respondents couldn't name one device or service that used the technology. This reflects both the newness of the technology and confusion around the term "4G," which is used differently by different companies and carriers.
If 4G is loosely defined as mobile broadband significantly faster than 3G, though, it appears that purchasers of the tech are quite happy with it — though many reported trouble with battery life. The high-power radios and processors required to use 4G tend to suck power faster than the last generation of phones, and so uptime is affected.
Perhaps most interestingly, current users of 4G services were found to be five times as likely to consider 4G as a replacement for a wired home broadband connection. It makes sense: the people who were interested in the tech in the first place, and who have tried it and found that it works, would be the likeliest to consider migrating more of their devices onto it.
4G devices such as the Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S are gradually trickling down to the mainstream, after being sold initially as luxury devices; adoption over the next year should pick up, as should understanding of the term itself.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.