You might have heard quite a bit about 4G network these days, especially when shopping for new smartphones and tablets. However, not everyone knows exactly what 4G is and how it will affect the way they use devices in the future. This is understandable, as there is a lot of jargon and quite a bit of confusion surrounding 4G. This technology is still into a development in lots of parts of the world, and in a few, it is already functional but many people are yet not aware of what all it provides and why one would prefer this one over the previous generations of networks.
To clear things up, here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions about 4G.
What is 4G exactly?
The term 4G is quite simply the name given to the fourth generation of mobile networks. The previous generation was called 3G and so it makes sense that the next will be 4G. There are two standards in the 4G connectivity – The Mobile WiMAX standards, and the Long Term Evolution standards. The ITU-R had set the standards for the speeds to be called a 4G speed, with the high mobility communication having 100 Mbps, while the low mobility communication having 1 Gbps speed.
All you essentially need to know about 4G networks is that they offer speed, and lots of it. 4G is estimated to be around twice as fast as the latest 3G technology, offering high speed data connectivity for users of mobile devices. In various nations around the world, the 4G LTE service is already being offered and the users can enjoy the high speed mobile Internet, but it all based on the location. In the U.S., since 2010 the 4G LTE networks are being deployed and the service is offered and it was MetroPCS who first offered LTE service in 2010.
How will 4G affect how I use my phone or tablet?
The vastly increased speed of 4G will mean that using phones and tablets will be a completely different and more enjoyable experience. When using 4G phones and tablets, you will be able to load websites in the blink of an eye, as well as streaming podcasts and videos without having to hang around for them to buffer. Downloading large email attachments and other content will be speeded right up, apps will be faster and maps will load more quickly and be smoother to interact with. Overall, 4G will revolutionize the way we use our mobile devices.
This won’t be a total advantageous plan for everyone though, as not all the smartphones are compatible to work with the 4G networks and one would have to purchase a compatible smartphone or tablet device if they wanted to experience a better speed of Internet. And the 4G data networking always drains out more battery than the normal 3G or lesser speed networks.
When will I be able to get a 4G device?
You can already buy 4G phones in the UK, but you will need to be in an area where the 4G network has been rolled out to in order to use one. Around 27 towns and cities in the UK already have 4G and by March 2013, a further 15 will be switched on. In the U.S., the 4G network is available almost everywhere and you can visit any of the stores of the network providers, and you would be guided correctly whether the particular locality has got the 4G network available, and which ones are the perfect smartphones with the compatibility. In India, there are very few 4G enabled smartphones available, but at the same time there are no much 4G services available there.
Countries and their 4G Deployment Plans: As of Feb 2013
- Africa – Safaricom initially started working on it, but later the contract was passed to Huawei who was supposedly going to launch the services by the end of the year 2012, but there is no commercial launch seen yet.
- Australia – Telstra has made the 4G LTE service available for the users since the start of the year 2012 in many regions of Australia, especially the capital cities and selected regional centers.
- Canada – Telus and Bell Canada are the companies offering the service in Canada.
- France – On 22 November 2012, Orange launched the first 4G business plan in Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Nantes. Then, on 29 November 2012, SFR launched 4G in Lyon. It was the first 4G commercial launch in France.
- India – Bharti Airtel was the first to announce the services of 4G LTE networking, but there are companies like Reliance working on the same and headed for a launch soon.
- UAE – Etisalat announced the commercial launch of the 4G LTE service and there are several places in the UAE already providing this high speed internet.
- Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel and Dialog Axiata have announced the service and the capital city Colombo already has got the service.
- In the US and UK, there are many network providers providing the 4G service with different plans and pricing, offering even the compatible smartphones making it easier for the users.
About the Author:
This guest post was written by Dudley Rutter, a technology writer who shares knowledge about the mobile networking and communications.