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4G: What is it & what effect will it have on the average user?

News headlines coming from the world of tech recently have been informing us of how 4G is finally being rolled out around the UK. The latest news being that network provider Everything Everywhere has been given permission to launch the technology later this year, ahead of the official Ofcom auction to sell off the spectrum.

What is 4G?

The bottom line is that the G simply stands for generation and the number symbolises the latest version. To someone interested in exactly what the latest version is, then it is a form of internet using a different frequency on the radio wave spectrum, with the result being a faster connection.

4G is for mobile broadband such as mobile phones, enabled tablets or other portable internet devices and the spectrum was previously used for terrestrial TV in the UK.

However, other companies are already bemoaning that this gives EE an unfair advantage, as they will be the first to market 4G and therefore are in danger of having a monopoly. This is all well and good but is it of interest? I suspect the questions on many peoples lips are what is 4G and exactly what will it do for me.

Whether it will affect you or not will come down to how much time you spend on the internet at work or for leisure and precisely what you use the mobile internet for. If you just occasionally check Facebook or login once a week to see the latest weather forecast, then I shouldn’t worry about it, you’re unlikely to need it.

However, if like more and more people, the mobile internet is becoming an increasingly large part of your life, then it may be of interest. The advantages to business users can be very valuable. If you are constantly on the move then email will work quicker, file sharing will be easier and using cloud services such as Hosted Desktops will allow you to access your work files wherever you are, just as if you were at your desk.

For those who are interested for personal reasons, there are plenty of advantages with 4G. Live streaming television shows, football or watching BBC iPlayer, ITV Player or 4oD will all be easier and smoother as you do it on the move. Downloading movies and music will be quicker and if you like online gaming, then it’s sure to be of use in that department as well.

However, this isn’t justification for everyone to get too excited just yet. Despite the news that some cities will have it by the end of the year, it may be a good bit longer before it’s available across the UK. The aim is to have 98% coverage by 2015. Reading in between the lines, this means if your home is nearer Land’s End or John O’Groats, then you could be waiting for ever and even if you are in a reasonably sized town, it could still be a couple of years before you see it.

4G enabled devices will be backwardly compatible though, so if you live in an area that has 4G and you go elsewhere, then you will still have 3G to fall back on. As we live in an increasingly connected world, 4G is great and technology will continue to forge ahead, but for the moment, don’t get too excited unless you’re an EE customer and live in the initial rollout cities.

Kerry Butters writes this article on behalf Broadband Genie, a UK based broadband comparison website. For more information on 4G, follow this link to the Broadband Genie website.

Featured image: Copyright bigstockphoto.com, used with permission.

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Kerry Butters
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