What is 4G?
4G is a new type of technology that was introduced to the UK last year. It is also known as LTE (Long Term Evolution) and is capable of allowing speeds of faster internet speeds up to 100Mbps.
In real life though you’re more likely to see less than half of that speed as you would only get 100Mbps in perfect test conditions and if you were the only person in the UK with a 4G phone.To put this into perspective- All networks in the UK have 3G networks that on average support speeds of around 3Mbps up to around 15Mbps. 3G is a good technology but cannot match 4G in terms of download and upload speed. Therefore 4G is a massive leap in technology and will allow you to download/browse/stream up to 5x faster.
You need a 4G ready phone to take advantage of 4G. Obviously as 4G is a new technology, it’s not everywhere just yet. It will take a while to roll out to the whole of the UK and will start rolling out in Major Cities and towns first.
What are the benefits of 4G?
4G will provide customers with faster speeds to allow them to take advantage of a digital lifestyle. 4G will allow you too:
- Watch TV / Stream HD video:
- Upload photo’s faster
- Download movies and games up to 5x quicker
- No more buffering!
- As fast as broadband can be.
Will I get 4G coverage where I live?
At the moment 4G will benefit you if you live in a 4G enabled area. EE are seen as the leader in 4G in the UK. They have over 85% of the UK population covered and that includes some rural areas. If you do live in a rural part of the UK or a non major town/city it may take up to two years for 4G to reach you.
You can look on your operators website to see when you’ll get 4G. The coverage checker page will usually have an option to check for 4G coverage. If you don’t have 4G in your area/work then it’s not for you just yet and not worth the price increase. O2 and Vodafone have over 60% of the UK covered and Three has over 55% of the UK covered. We won’t see 90%+ coverage till towards the end of 2016. All networks are targeting 98% by the end of 2016 at the latest.
Do I need 4G?
That depends. If you read through the benefits above and thought they’d apply to you then go for it. 4G isn’t everywhere just yet but if you’re in a big town or city then you will probably benefit from it and notice a difference. Whilst 4G is still in it’s infancy it’s been a huge benefit in my life and allowed me to stream HD movies and radio on my commute to work which I struggled with on 3G.
So if the price is right for you and you think you’ll benefit then go for it.
How much does 4G cost?
When 4G first launched in the UK it was marketed as a premium by every operator. And it still is to some extent. Vodafone want you to pay £27 on a SIM Only for just 4GB of data. EE want you to pay £22 for 5GB. Some networks like Three, O2 and Tesco have launched initiatives where they aren’t charging extra for 4G. Three for example have their cheapest tariff start from just £7. Tesco from £10 and O2 from £14.
Whilst 4G can be expensive on some networks, it can be fairly cheap on others. Shop around for the best deal.
Which networks have 4G or will have 4G?
EE are leaders for 4G with over 85% UK population coverage.
O2 have over 60% UK population coverage and Tesco Mobile launched 4G on the O2 network as well so coverage will be identical. Lyca Mobile too run their 4G service on O2.
Vodafone have over 60% population coverage as well.
Three have over 55% population coverage.
Virgin Mobile don’t have 4G yet but it shouldn’t be too long before we see them sell 4G tariffs.
Which phones have 4G?
There are now over 1,000 4G phones on sale worldwide. The majority of new phones being released are 4G.
Please check with your manufacturer/network to see if your phone is one of them.