Tuesday 19 November 2013

3g vs. 4g: Is the Upgrade Worth It?

Claims have been thrown around that 4g speeds in the UK are up to 10 times higher than the old 3g that we’re used to, or possibly even more if there aren’t a lot of other people in your location competing for fast internet. While EE was the first to offer 4g at large to the UK’s public mobile phone owners, Vodafone and O2 have not lost time jumping on board the money making wagon. The purchase of a 4g ready mobile from one of these three providers guarantees you the fastest wireless data connection that has ever existed, that is, depending on how many people in your current location you’re competing with for decent speed.
4g speed - although we know that it will certainly be 5-10 times faster than the third generation of wireless at all times - will vary quite heavily based on where you are. In the city of London, for example, you may find yourself able to get about 10MB per second, while in a smaller city like Manchester your speeds might be up to 30-40MB per second. EE' 4g offering, 4GEE will cover 98% of the UK’s population by the end of next year with their double-speed service, though at the moment they only cover 20 major cities. They advertise that it will take only three minutes to download a movie that might have taken 20 or more in the past.
Those who will find the upgrade to 4g most useful are those who are heavy users of video chats, live streaming apps, large downloads, and long sessions surfing the web. 4g with a good signal and a ready device will speed these activities up remarkably so that your communication and productivity is never again broken by a wireless connection that’s chugging along at snail’s pace. But for those who use their phone primarily for calls and texts and who tend to use their home computer as more of a browsing and downloading device than their smart phone, 4g isn’t bound to make much of a noticeable difference in your life. The upgrade to 4g is typically costing a few extra pounds a month, not to mention the fee if you need to trade-in your old 3g phone for a 4g compatible phone.
The Nokia Lumia 625 is a good choice of value phone that is capable of running 4g and has a decent, all-round performance and tile based interface. At less than half the cost of many phones of its capability, the Lumia is the handset for 4g hunters on a budget, and can be had through O2 for around £17 on contract, or £240 up front. But beware that the mobile is not exactly future-proof, and struggles with its app offerings as it runs Windows Phone 8, a platform for which many apps are still unavailable.
Three is the next provider on the run to get 4g out to its customers, but is now kindly promising to give the upgrade away for free to its users, as long as you are a current phone owner through Three. Some providers are offering discounted handset prices as long as you purchase them with 4g wireless, and there are deals a plenty buzzing around the mobile smartphone world, as 4g is one of the most exciting worldwide releases this year. And with Three offering the highly sought after iPhone 5s for only £99 with a subsidized plan, their deal of free 4g is a very good one indeed. Their 4g LTE network, however, will not be fully functional until December, so if you don’t want to wait you’ll have to choose from EE, O2, or Vodafone instead.

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