The Benefits of 4G
High speed 4G mobile internet services are becoming more and more available across the globe but with most network operators charging a significant price premium for 4G over more established 3G data plans what are the benefits of 4G and is the service worth the extra cost? The main advantage of 4G is a significantly faster mobile data connection but this in itself is not necessarily that interesting, it’s what you can do with that faster internet access that matters. This article looks at a few of the benefits of high speed 4G top help you understand if making the move to this next generation technology makes sense for you.
- Much faster web browsing
4G offers theoretical data speeds of up to 100 MBps (megabits per second) compared to 7.2MBps for 3G and 21MBps for more advanced 3.5G networks. Obviously that translates through to much faster web browsing and a significantly better experience. We’ve all sat impatiently waiting for a web page to load on our mobile or seen our browser time out and with 4G, as long as you are in an area with good mobile coverage, this should be a thing of the past.
- Video streaming
That faster data connection makes video streaming over 4G a much better proposition that over older technologies. Whilst 3G connections could just about cope with streaming You Tube! videos and the like, 4G is comparable to, or even better than, most home broadband connections and streaming high definition tv, full length movies or other video content is not only possible but a fast and enjoyable experience. This makes using apps like Net Flix and You Tube! a much more pleasant experience and many users may find they are even better off using their 4G connection than their broadband connection to stream at home.
- Internet calls and voice over IP (VOIP)
An obvious benefit of a better quality data connection is that using your data connection to make calls, whether video calls over an app like Face Time or Skype or more traditional VOIP solutions will lead to a better overall experience – with clearer call quality and a greatly reduced risk of dropping a call due to poor coverage.
As more and more of us are using our smartphones as our main portable music player, a good quality data connection is becoming increasingly important for both downloading music on the go and streaming tracks over the likes of Spotify or Apple’s new iTunes Radio. Tracks download in seconds over 4G and streaming is a breeze which is leading some network operators such as Vodafone to offer premium content such as free access to Spotify Premium included in their 4G data plans.
- Maps and Sat Nav
4G not only offers faster Internet access, a 4G mast also covers a wider area than older technologies meaning that a further benefit should be wider data coverage. This is particularly important for those of us that use GPS on our phones on apps like Google Maps or Apple Maps which download the maps on the fly. It’s no fun following a map then finding yourself lost and out of coverage and4G should make this a thing of the past as well as offering quicker access to directions for cars, pedestrian and public transport.
- Photo sharing
Another benefit of 4G is that you can upload higher resolution photos to apps like Instagram, Facebook and Flickr or sync your photos to the Cloud in real time in their full resolution. With smartphones now featuring better and better cameras the file size of our photos is ever increasing and older data connections can’t cope with sharing those photos in their original resolution.
- Email and attachments
Older 3G connections are perfectly capable of handling basic email traffic but many of us will have had the frustrating experience of wanting to download attachments such as photos, Word documents or other files and either not having sufficient bandwidth to do so at all or waiting impatiently for our phone to slowly download something in the background. With 4G this is history as attachments download in seconds and the whole experience is vastly improved.
- Mobile hotspots
One of the most exciting things 4G offers is the ability to create a high speed mobile hotspot from your smartphone that other devices such as laptops or tablet computers can access. Whilst this is possible on older technologies the reality is usually a slow and barely usable connection. With 4G mobile hotspots are just like being connected to a high speed wifi network at home and the difference is huge.
- Video sharing
Anyone who has tried to share videos on apps like Whatsapp or Vine on older technology will know that the experience can be slow and frustrating. With 4G your videos will upload in seconds or less and it’s easy to share on the fly immediately after you film the video.
- Downloading apps
The final benefit is the speed with which you can download new apps and updates from the likes of Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Previously large apps could take tens of minutes to download or in some cases only be downloaded over a wifi connection but with 4G you can download and be using your new app in a matter of seconds.
Whilst 4G is generally a little more expensive than older data plans, for most smartphone users the benefits are enormous. With data speeds 10x or more faster than 3G and fast data coverage over wider areas 4G really does transform the way you think about and use the mobile internet and is at least a large a leap forward over 3G as 3G was over GPRS. For basic feature phone users who do little more than call or text the extra cost may not be worth it but for anyone with a smartphone the advantages are so great that it’s hard not to recommend 4G to everyone.