Everything you need to know about 4G

You may have heard about the 4G connectivity that is being rolled out throughout the UK, to provide consumers with considerably faster internet connectivity on any 4G enabled devices. This guide will outline everything you need to know about 4G and how it will affect the businesses and consumers alike.

4G is slowly being introduced throughout the UK and according to Ofcom is “expected to extend coverage to at least 98% of the UK population” This will mean that the 4G coverage for both indoor and outdoor environments should be a significant improvement over its 3G predecessor. EE is currently the only network to offer 4G coverage to the UK. It has had permission from Ofcom to use its existing 3G bandwidth for 4G, allowing it to have a system in place much quicker than its rivals. This deal was under the condition that they sold off a section of their 1800MHz spectrum which was quickly bought by the rival company Three.

How Fast Is It?

One of the most common questions surrounding 4G is. How fast is it? Due to its relative infancy it’s not possible to determine how fast 4G will be once everyone’s devices are connected to it. The preliminary devices using 4G however are certainly boasting impressive speeds. The speeds EE handsets typically produce are around five times faster than the current 3G network.  The EE official site reports that on average your download speeds are likely to be between 8-10Mbit/s with the highest speed ranging around 40Mbit/s. The upload speed users can expect is around 5-6Mbit/s with possible occurrences of 15Mbit/s.  The latency on 4G is likely to improve over 3G by around half to around 60-70 milliseconds. This speed difference should make downloading and uploading data significantly faster than previous 3G networks.

Currently with only one company providing a 4G service the prices will remain relatively high compared to 3G networks. The prices of the 4G service should begin to drop once other rival companies are able to provide a 4G service to their customers. Ofcom are aiming to allow four national wholesalers to provide the 4G service to encourage healthy competition between the companies and provide a range of 4G options to consumers.

The introduction of 4G is likely to have an impact on the way we use our mobile devices moving forward. The ability to access the Cloud from mobile devices will allow businesses to take full advantage of the Cloud utilising features such as document sharing, video conferencing and streaming all made easier by using 4G connectivity. BT is working with EE to provide more BT Wi-Fi hotspots. They are also aiming to provide Wi-Fi access to the London Underground at no further cost to consumers. This will increase the productivity of employees wh
ile commuting and provide more stable coverage regardless of location.

4G Impacts

4G is also likely to have an impact on the way regular consumers use their everyday mobile devices. As consumers require access to rich media such as audio and video streaming services the demands required from the 3G networks are struggling to provide the necessary bandwidth. Once 4G is rolled out across the UK, users will have access to a much faster connection at anytime. This will allow for almost instant video and audio streaming without buffering. The improved latency of the service will allow for web pages to be loaded faster making for a better web experience for consumers. Other possibilities include the ability to live-stream a video directly through streaming sites without the need for a constant Wi-Fi connection. This would also give consumers the option to upload to services like YouTube while on the move. With 4G it removes the limits of consumer Smartphone’s allowing for users to get the same experience they would while connected to Wi-Fi.

It is yet to be seen if 4G will have as large an impact as expected as the service is in its infancy in the UK. Once the service is common place we will likely start to see the true benefits of the service.

Andy Morley is an author and experienced business owner, currently working for an awardwinning telecoms and business mobiles company based in Alfreton, Derby. Follow Andy on Google+.

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Digital Poet at BurnWorld Inc.

I am the Team Leader here at BurnWorld. I am an audio/video enthusiast and have been in this industry for over 10 years. I love testing DVD/Blu-Ray and Video software.

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