Technically, 4G refers to an ITU-R requirements specification called IMT-Advanced (International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced). The document specifies the peak speed requirements for high mobility communications (such as from cars and trains) at 100Mbits/s and 1Gbits/s for low mobility communications.
However, throughout the telecommunications industry, 4G simply represents the 4th generation of mobile phone and mobile communications technology – i.e. the stuff that came after 3G! Basically, 4G is about mobile broadband technology that provides a great Internet experience on our mobile devices. 4G is a big topic – covering networks and infrastructure, mobile devices, spectrum and a whole bunch of other product and technical topics plus new usage models that 4G enables such as Cloud Computing, M2M and remote sensing. 4G topics also include intelligent networks, carrier monetization strategies, QoS and security vs privacy issues.
The theme of the upcoming 4G World 2012 Conference and Exhibition (Oct 29-Nov 1, McCormick Place, Chicago) is Profiting From Mobile Broadband Innovation. The main conference tracks are 1) 4G Network Evolution, 2) 4G World Device Strategies, 3) Backhaul, 4) Monetization Mechanisms and Managing the 4G Experience. In addition, the pre-conference day features 3 ‘summit’ programs – Small Cell, Mobile Cloud and Spectrum. As you can see, a BIG show.