What are the advantages of 4G over 3G?
Standard 4G, which is also known as 4G LTE (long term evolution), is about five to seven times faster than 3G.
Speed in all internet related matters is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). While 4G in theoretical terms is capable of much faster speeds, in reality download speeds of 80Mbps are possible - that’s right up there with fibre optic broadband.
To put that into some sort of perspective for you, if you were to download a 2GB sized HD film over a 3G network, you’d have a wait of close to half an hour on your hands. If you do the same thing on a 4G network you’d be watching the film inside three and a half minutes. That’s quite a difference.
Unfortunately 4G coverage isn’t available over the whole of the UK.
Latency is the delay that you feel between requesting a response from a network and actually receiving it.
Latency on a 3G network averages around 120 milliseconds. On 4G this halved to 60 milliseconds. We know that both sound like they’re really quick so you might think it makes no difference.
However, the reality when using the network is that you’ll certainly feel and notice a big difference. This is even more marked if you’re using streaming services or playing games online.
- Improvements in “voice over” calls
We’re not talking about mobile phone calls here; we’re referring to so called “Voice over LTE” or VoLTE. This is similar technology to that used by Skype for example.
Over 4G the technology is able to produce crystal clear voice and video chat over your mobile phone. Such an application could of course mean it’s possible to eliminate the need for traditional phone calls all together.
Currently only the Three network uses VoLTE technology, with other providers still using lower quality 3G connections - even for customers on 4G. Other providers are catching up though, with EE and Vodafone both trialing VoLTE. That means it’s likely that the technology will be available to more users very soon.