A new study from the Retrevo.com blog claims consumer confusion could impeded the rate at which customers adopt 4G. In their recent study, they found that less than 25% of smartphone users plan to upgrade to 4G in the near future. Furthermore, it appears that one of the biggest problems isn't just that consumers think that 4G service is too pricey. Apparently, many smartphone users, especially iPhone users, mistakenly believe that they already have 4G service when they don't. Almost comically, 34% of survey respondents that use the iPhone believe they have 4G service, despite the fact that Apple doesn't even make a phone with 4G yet. Additionally, RIM users are falling for the same assumption as well. Twenty-four percent of RIM users are under the delusion that they have 4G service, although RIM also doesn't offer a 4G phone. Interestingly, 29% of Android users believe the same thing, although it is entirely possible that many of them actually do have 4G service, since it is available on several Android phones.

The study also shared that between 19-30% of users across RIM, Android, and Apple believe that 4G is simply too expensive at this time. *cough - Verizon tiered data plans - cough* This too could hinder early adoption of the technology. In fact, between the pricing confusion and general confusion over just what the technology is, there is actually legislation making its way through congress right now, that would require service providers to be more clear about the technology. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo has introduced a bill called the "Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act" that means to force broadband service providers to fully disclose the particulars of 4G service, and clearly spell out the quality of these services and the fees associated with them.

Obviously, 4G technology will probably be fully implemented and available in the eventual future. The various carriers that are rapidly deploying 4G networks globally are banking on it. Unfortunately, it appears that the speed at which customers actually dive into the service will likely be slowed in the interim by industry wide confusion and expensive pricing. It remains to be seen what the various carriers will do to address these issues, and how quickly it makes a difference. Who knows, if the technology isn't adopted quickly enough, it could be "leap-frogged" by newer faster technology like the 600-900Mbps Advanced LTE being tested in Sweden and South Korea right now.

Here's the description of the Retrevo Study:
The Retrevo Gadgetology Report is an ongoing study of people and electronics from the consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo.com. The data for this report came from a study of online individuals conducted exclusively for Retrevo in June of 2011, by an independent panel. The sample size was over 1,000 distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States. Most responses have a confidence interval of 4% at a 95% confidence level.
Source: BGR and Retrevo.com