The rollout of 4G mobile broadband across the UK continues to attract hype and excitement, but many people are left asking the question:
“Why should I switch to a 4G network? What’s in it for me?”
3G allows us to enjoy high quality wireless sound, TV-on-the-go and global roaming, so how exactly will you benefit from a 4G phone? And is it worth the hype? To find out more, we take a look at the stats as the two networks go toe-to-toe. 3G vs. 4G - who will win?
4G is the new, fourth generation data-only mobile service, set to supercede 3G in a gradual roll-out across the UK. While 2G allowed us to make calls and send text messages, 3G enabled the widespread use of the internet from our mobile phones. The latest development - 4G - is set to enhance our ability to use online services, in a world where our use of all things digital, from phone apps to video streaming and social networking sites.
One of the major benefits of the new 4G network is its speed. According to Ofcom, 4G will boast download speeds between five and seven times faster than 3G, of up to 20MB. This is considerably faster than the 3G network, particularly in rural areas. But what does this mean in real terms? How do megabytes translate to minutes and seconds?
Pitched against 3G, 4G can load your Facebook news feed 2.9 seconds faster, and takes just 4.5 seconds to buffer an HD video on Vimeo. While the 3G network will take 7 minutes 46 seconds to upload 100 photos to online gallery Flickr, 4G comes in at more than three minutes less, at 4 minutes 45 seconds. As a result, you’ll spend less time waiting, and more time enjoying web applications and consuming online data.
Currently, 3G is readily available across the country. 4G is still in its rollout phase, with the breadth of coverage dependent entirely on your network provider.
The first on the scene was EE, who introduced 4G to the UK by launching in eleven cities: London, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff. Since then, more network providers have implemented 4G.
Vodafone are aiming for an impressive 98% coverage by 2015, O2 launched their 4G in August 2013 in London, Leeds and Bradford, and Three has just announced its rollout plans.
To check the availability of 4G, visit your network provider’s website where you will be able to check by entering your postcode or checking on a coverage map.
4G is all about data consumption - allowing you to digest information quickly, and easily.
Currently, this can come at a premium. Your handset will need to be 4G-ready and a typical contract with 500MB of data starts from around £30 a month. But if your list of ‘must-haves’ includes the ability to enjoy high quality games, hold mobile video conferences, enjoy on demand video and even to control household appliances remotely, then 4G will likely be worth the small extra cost.
If your handset is already 4G-ready, you can save money by purchasing a SIM only 4G contract. With a SIM only contract, you can enjoy all the benefits of 4G mobile broadband without the costly bills. With EE the monthly 4G SIM only packages start from as little as £16 per month with a 12 month 4G contract. For more great SIM only deal, see New SIM Card today.