What is 4G and Do I Need it?

New 4GIn short, 4G is the fourth generation of mobile phone wireless communication. The 4th generation of mobile phone communication has evolved to provide ‘mobile ultra broadband’ Internet access, primarily to smartphones and laptops via a mobile broadband dongle.

The long and short of it is, as consumer demand for data on-the-go increases, the networks have to keep up, and 4G has been developed to cope with data hungry applications such as high definition mobile TV, video conferencing, VOIP telephony such as Skype and even 3D television. Recent statistics indicated that there was a 250% year on year growth in data usage.

How Does 4G Compare to 3G?

When 4G is fully rolled out 4G will be noticeably faster browsing the Internet on your mobile phone. High data rates are expected to be in excess of 100 Mbps which is 4 to 6 times faster that 3G.

Do I Need it?

Everyone will eventually have access to the 4G network but currently 4G phones are more expensive so will come with higher up front fee or line rental, so choosing between a 3G and 4G capability phone will be important.

If you are someone that already spends a lot of time browsing the Internet, watching the TV or gaming online, then moving to 4G should suit you and will help to ‘future proof’ your next mobile phone purchase, albeit until 5G! If you make a lot of international calls then 4G could also be helpful for you as calling over the Internet will be vastly improved from 3G. Business people will also benefit hugely from the increased speed when it comes to downloading documents and e-mails on a regular basis, as well as video conferencing and VOIP.

If you mainly use your phone for calling and texting then you will not see much improvement with a 4G phone and may not be thhe best option for you based on the cost of the handset and contract.

Which Mobile Phones Can Currently Use 4G?

In the UK, the most high profile and recent addition to the 4G phone stable is the new Apple iPhone 5. But they are not along in the UK market. The Samsung Galaxy S3 offers a great alternative to the iPhone 5 as well as the HTC One XL.

If you plan on buying an iPhone 5 for it’s compatibility, read on as your network choice is going to be important as despite the iPhone 5 being ready, some networks are not.

Do all Networks Offer 4G?

At the time of writing, you can’t currently get 4G in the UK but you can prepare for the 4G revolution with the above phones. If you want to be one of the first to use 4G in the UK Everything Everywhere (EE), or T-Mobile and Orange to most people, have the lead on the race to 4G launch. They have been given permission to use their existing spectrum to launch a 4G service. The launch date has not yet been specified but it is expected to be in the latter part of 2012, with November 2012 launch mentioned. Everything Everywhere have said they will offer 4G i 16 cities by the end of the year.

O2 and Vodafone will not be able to offer 4G for some time with O2 Chief Executive being hopeful of a 4G launch in the summer of 2013. Three Mobile is expected to take over part of EE’s 4G spectrum but is not due to release it’s 4G service until September 2013.

So 4G or not 4G, that is the question! If you think 4G is right for you checkout the latest deals with 4G handsets here