What is 4G?
What is 4G LTE?
4G stands for 'Forth Generation of Cellular Communications' and is the next step up in the evolution of how our mobile data is handled from the previous 3G and before that 2G.
What are the benefits of 4G to me?
Just like the introduction of 3G brought about speed increases to accessing data on our mobile devices so too will 4G - its natural successor.
In theory it should allow mobile users to gain speeds of 100 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload but in reality it will likely be much lower however it will still be much faster than we experience now offering real broadband on allowing us to stream our favourite films and TV for example. Some versions of 3G are actually capable of similar speeds but the enhanced latency on 4G offers users a far more responsive service.
4G ultimately will bring about real world broadband on our mobile devices.
When will 4G LTE be available?
Currently it is not available in the UK although it is already available and has been for some time in other countries such as the United States to the frustration of many UK consumers who desperate to unleash the potential for many applications.
Everything Everywhere who are responsible for Orange and T-Mobile want to roll out 4G LTE services late 2012 but it is likely we won't see it until early 2013 across UK networks. Just like 3G it will likely only be available in major urban areas at first as it is rolled out.
What are 4G phones?
4G phones are setup to be able to run on the frequencies that 4G operate. Each country can have varying 4G frequencies. For example 4G phones in the US are setup to run on 700 MHz and 2100 MHz whilst in the UK when 4G launches we are expected to be using 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz frequencies.
Are all devices compatible with UK 4G LTE?
No - in simple terms. Take for example the Apple iPad 4G version available in the United States and Canada including other phones from manufacturers such as Nokia. Although it is available as a 4G option they use different frequencies (as described above) to that of what the UK will be using to provide 4G LTE services. Any devices bought will need to be specifically made with the UK market in mind if you wish to take advantage of 4G here.
Are there any 4G tariff plans in the UK yet?
Yes, currently EE is the only network offering 4G tariffs to the UK market with other networks Vodafone, O2 and Three offering 4G ready tariffs for when they shortly offer it as well.