Does 4G Belong To AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile + Sprint?

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Have you ever wondered who owns 4G technology? People are saying that 4G belongs to four American companies – AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.

We take a look at that claim, and find out who owns 4G technology!


4G Belongs To AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile + Sprint?

As the US-Chinese trade tensions drag out, lots of fake stories about both sides are circulating online. One of them is the claim that 4G belongs to AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, and countries are forced to pay them trillions of dollars every year.

Does 4G Belong To AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile + Sprint?

4G belongs to United States’ AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. The world’s countries pay more than 10,000 trillion yuan in copyright fees to the four companies in the United States. China’s 4G pays US$100 million in annual copyright fees to US companies.

If the countries around the world switch to Huawei 5G, the United States will lose more than 10,000 billion yuan of foreign exchange each year, which is set at 20% of the annual GDP of the United States.

Therefore, the United States will not allow 5G in the world.

the United States will destroy Huawei to protect the interests of the United States;

i.e. stopping the loss of at least 20% of USA’s GDP.

What a big bully !!!.

Let the world know the true & ulterior reason for USA’s insistence on bringing down Huawei.

Is that true? Let’s find out!


4G Does Not Belong To American Telcos

First of all, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint are telecommunications companies that operate mobile networks in the United States.

4G Cell Tower

They may own the equipment (like the cell tower above) that power those 4G LTE networks, but they do NOT own the 4G technologies those equipment were built around.

They are like any other mobile telcos around the world. They provide the 4G LTE service your mobile phones use to make calls and provide mobile Internet connectivity.


So Who REALLY Owns 4G?

4G technology is not owned by any particular company, but is protected by about 1,400 patents owned by a multitude of companies worldwide.

In 2011, an analyst Peter Misek crawled through all of those patents to find out who known how many of those patents, and he summarised his findings in this pie chart :

4G LTE Patent Ownership

The top 3 owners of 4G patents, in order of patent numbers (not importance or value), are :

  • LG Electronics
  • Qualcomm
  • Motorola (now owned by Lenovo, although most of its patents are owned by Google)

Notice how there are no telcos in the pie chart? That’s because telcos do NOT develop mobile technologies… they don’t even make the equipment based on these mobile technologies!


How Much Is Paid For 4G Technology?

The other part of the claim is that the world pays about US$1,450 trillion per year in 4G licensing fees per year, with China paying US$100 million per year.


Analysts estimate that about 15-16% of a 4G smartphone’s PROFIT margin goes towards licensing fees.

In 2018, the global smartphone sales was US$522 billion, and smartphone profit margins are roughly 65% on average. That would mean about US$51 billion would have been paid in 4G licensing fees in 2018.

Obviously, US$51 billion is a tremendous amount of money, but it is far less than what the fake story claims – US$1,450 trillion.

Smartphone Sales

In China

In 2017, China sold US$152.3 billion worth of smartphones. That would mean smartphones sold in China (including those made by Apple) would have contributed about US$15 billion in 4G licensing fees.

That is far more than the fake claim of US$100 million per year…



This is yet another piece of spurious Chinese propaganda, probably coined by China’s so-called 50 Cent Army.

Crudely-written with nonsensical numbers, it has nevertheless spread on social media, which is why we are spending the time and effort to debunk it.


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