Mobile 4G: What it is and is it good?

iPhone 5Mobile technology is moving at an alarming rate; developments in mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets combined with faster connections mean we can consume more information from more places.

But what is the newest development?

What is 4G?

At its simplest 4G is simply shorthand for ‘fourth generation’. More specifically, the fourth generation of mobile network connectivity i.e. what connects your smartphone to the Internet. Currently we’re using 3G to access the Internet from our mobile devices which was launched way back in 2003. Up until now we’ve been quite content with 3G and what it offers – continued developments in technology and cheaper data plans mean that we can watch video, use maps and satnav, download music and email each other through the magic of 3G. But as always the more we’re given, the more we want and the speeds of 3G are not satisfying the public’s need for speed any longer.

4G means speed. The speed at which it downloads and displays the content you want it too whether that’s a website, a song or a YouTube video of a cat pretending to be a DJ. Currently 3G has a connection speed of 7.2Mbps (megabytes per second), now that may mean nothing to you until you compare it against the optimal speed of 4G – which is 300Mbps. That’s a huge leap which will likely lead to a much smooth browsing experience

Awesome! How can I get 4G on my phone?

Hold up there slick! 4G is in its infancy here in theUK. At present there is only one network providing 4G services; EE.

Even if you were to sign up to EE you would also need a 4G LTE enabled phone, which, unless you have a very very new phone, it is unlikely to have.

The good guys over at IT Pro Portal have put together a list of phones which are 4G compatible phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, iPhone 5 & the HTC One XL among a few others.

Wait…who the bloody hell are EE?

You may have seen their shops popping up on the High Street over the last couple of years – but they’ve now decided to launch a new 4G network which is branded as EE –  they are the mega corporation that own Orangeand T-Mobile.

Initial roll out of the network is being confined to a select number of cities. At it’s initial launch coverage is available in London,Manchester,Bristol,Birmingham,Cardiff,Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield,Glasgow and Southampton.

What About the Other Networks?

They’re on the case as we speak – but the likelihood is that you’ll have to wait until 2013 for the other major networks to roll out 4G coverage.

So….How much?

£36 a month – that’s what it’s starting at. At first, £26 a month doesn’t seem that bad with the unlimited text and voice calls, until you realise that you only get 500MB of data for that price. Using you 4G connection to it’s peak performance will destroy 500MB in a matter of days.

If you want something that’ll get you close to the end of the month then you’ll be looking at more dosh. £41 a month gets you 1BG, £46 gets you 3GB, £51 gets you 5GB and £56 a month will get you 5GB. Additionally these are all on a 24 month contract. If you wanted to go down to 12 month then you can add another £10 onto the monthly cost.

The good news is that you can use the data as you want – which means you can tether it to you laptop and use the connection to access the web via your laptop.

You’ll be warned when you consume 80% off your data and then again when you’ve used 100% – which will then stop you using the Internet until the end of the month or if you purchase additional data; which will cost you £3 for 50MB, £6 for 500MB, £15 for 2GB and £20 for 4GB.

If you recently purchased a 4G enabled phone, then you can also get a SIM free contract, which is £15 cheaper than the stated costs above. Furthermore if you’re an existing T-Mobile orOrangecustomer you’ll be able to upgrade to a 4G contract for free. If you recently purchased an iPhone 4S, Sumsang Galaxy S3 or HTC One X in the last six months then you’ll cancel your current contract and upgrade for £99.

So, all in all not a cheap prospect.

Our opinion? There’s still plenty of live left in3G at the minute and unless you’re a super tech savvy geek then you’re best saving your money and taking advantage of current 3G deals.

 

 

 

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