If you have a 3G phone and are thinking about upgrading to a 4G phone, you may be wondering if it’s really worth it. Is 4G that much better than its predecessor? The answer to that depends on a number of factors, which include where you live, your mobile broadband provider, and what you usually do when you connect. There are many different mobile broadband providers out there which offer competitive rates on both 3G and 4G mobile broadband – but which one is right for you.
3G vs. 4G
First things first, what is 3G and what is 4G? The ‘G’ stands for generation, where each new generation improves to provide more speed and more features. We had the first and second generations of mobile technology (1G and 2G), and now we have the third and fourth generations (3G and 4G).
One of the biggest noticeable differences between 3G and 4G is speed. 4G should be faster than 3G. However, that does come with a caveat. 3G on some networks can be faster than 4G on other networks. While there is a standard for 3G and 4G, the speeds received on both can vary widely according to the provider.
The speeds received on 3G and 4G depend on the number of network towers in the area, the number of other users connecting to each tower, and the bandwidth available to each provider on these towers.
If you want to upgrade to 4G, it’s a good idea to check 4G coverage in your area. There’s no point paying for a shiny new phone with the sole purpose of connecting to 4G if you can’t get a 4G connection.
What are you doing?
Whether you need to upgrade to 4G will largely depend on what you do when you connect. If you just send a few emails and check Facebook, the upgrade to 4G won’t really affect you. While it will make web browsing faster, the change is not going to be life-altering.
On the other hand, if you use Skype or video chat, if you stream video online, or even if you play online games, that 4G connection should make a big difference. Basically, anything data-heavy will benefit from a 4G connection and you should see a major change.
Where are you connecting?
As we said before, the benefits of upgrading to 4G will only be available if you live in a 4G area. If you live out in the country (or even just out of a major city), you may not have 4G coverage. This will also depend on your provider. Some providers offer 4G coverage where other providers do not.
However, this coverage issue should become less of a problem over time. Most providers are working on improving their network to provide 4G coverage to more areas throughout the country.
What device are you using?
If you are thinking of upgrading phones, you will already know that you need a 4G-compatible device to allow you connect to 4G. Newer devices are designed to be backward-compatible (so 4G devices can connect to 3G or even 2G), however 3G-only devices will not be able connect to a 4G network.
If you have checked the coverage in your area, and you know that upgrading to 4G would be beneficial, find a 4G-compatible device that suits your needs, and a provider that offers 4G coverage and a data plan that suits you.