3G vs. 4G: Which Should I Go For?

The vast majority of people nowadays own smart phones. A smart phone lets you do pretty much anything that you want, from traditional calling and texting to emailing, web browsing and high end mobile gaming. However, as a smart phone your device does need an internet connection to make the most of the many features you have in the palm of your hand. One of the biggest developments in mobile technology recently has been 4G internet connectivity. Today we’re looking at that 4G connection in comparison to older 3G tech, and telling you all you need to know about which service is right for you. So if you want the truth about 3G and 4G mobile internet connections, then read on to find out more.
A 4G or 3G Internet Phone?
Deciding whether to go for a 4G or 3G internet phone really does depend on whether you feel that you’re going to take full advantage of that 4G technology. 4G isn’t fully available yet, but many people choose to go with a 4G internet phone just in case they need it later. You will pay more for a 4G device though, so it’s important to keep that extra cost in mind while you’re deciding.
3G vs. 4G: The Good…
The major benefit of a 4G phone is quite simply that you get a faster internet connection. Traditional 3G technology has maximum internet speeds of around 14.4 Mbps for downloading and around 1 Mbps for uploading. That maximum speed is based on ideal conditions though, and in reality very few people get anywhere close to that. The realistic speed of a 3G connection is more like 3 Mbps. 4G on the other hand gets huge speeds of up to 300 Mbps for downloading and 75 Mbps for uploading. Again, those speeds are under ideal conditions, and realistically customers are getting speeds of about 30 Mbps right now. Still, that’s a good ten times faster than a 3G connection. 3G speeds are fine for casual web browsing, but they fail miserably when it comes to video streaming or downloading high resolution photos. 4G, on the other hand, gives great streaming of movies and TV and completes downloads in a fraction of the time it would take on an older 3G connection.
3G vs. 4G: The Bad…
However, there are a few concerns about 4G internet connectivity. The first is that it’s still not widely available across the UK, there are plenty of people who couldn’t access a 4G network even if they wanted to. This is set to change, as 4G networks are growing by the month. In fact, some estimates say that eighty per cent of the UK will have 4G networks within the next two years. Also, many mobile phone operators just don’t have 4G packages, so even if you do have access to a network you still won’t be able to use it with your current provider. 4G plans tend to be extremely expensive too. Finally, there’s the question of speed. One of the main reasons that 3G customers get nowhere near the maximum speed that the network is capable of is because the 3G network is extremely crowded, too many people are using it which slows down the service for everyone. 4G customers are getting great speeds right now, but not many people are using 4G connections. It’s perfectly possible that connection speeds will drop as more people start using 4G.
Which Mobile Provider Can I Use?
Right now you have one choice, and one choice only, for a decent 4G connection, and that’s with EE. EE built the UK’s first 4G network, and they’ve invested a lot of money to be the first on the market. This means that packages are expensive, as EE tries to recoup their losses. The basic 4G package with EE costs £36 per month and has a tiny 500 Mb data cap, which is really nothing. Even the biggest package that EE offers only has an 8 GB data cap. Because 4G connections are so fast they can use a lot of data very quickly, and it’s exceptionally easy to go over the limits set by your provider and get huge extra charges for using extra services. There are currently no unlimited data plans available for 4G connections. EE 4G plans do include unlimited calling minutes and texting, but still, their prices are around double what you would pay for a contract with a 3G network.
Is It Right For Me?
Internet addicts are going to be thrilled with 4G mobile service, simply because it gets you what you want so fast. But for the reset of us? There probably isn’t much benefit in getting an expensive 4G plan if all you’re going to use it for is sending emails and getting directions. 4G enabled mobiles don’t come cheap, and right now 4G is probably a feature that you can live without. If you are interested in getting 4G, then the first thing you’re going to need to do is check out EE’s coverage map on their web site to find out if you actually have access to the network or not. And if you’re not a current EE customer, then you’re going to have to change your mobile operator and get a new calling plan. If you’re able to change contracts, live in an area that gets service, can pay the price for the service and have a 4G capable phone, then, yes, go ahead and sign up. For regular users, it’s probably a much better idea to wait and see. Other mobile providers are working on 4G networks right now, meaning more people are gaining access to 4G. And as other companies invest money and there’s more competition, the price of 4G plans is sure to fall dramatically. Right now, 4G is a high end service that comes at a premium price. For a normal mobile customer, the conditions just aren’t right for signing up. Hold off and wait till next year, you’ll have more options then.

Sam Jones was looking for a great internet phone.  By making use of the online search on uSwitch, the best deals and providers quickly became obvious.

 

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