With everyone bandying terms like 4G, EE and superfast connection speeds, it’s understandable that very few people actually understand what it’s all about. So what is 4G? And do you really need it? Here we aim to answer all of your 4G questions…
What is 4G?
4G is short for ‘fourth generation’ and in simple terms relates to internet connection speeds. Back in the day we used to have 2G, which was then upgraded to 3G, which today’s users are more familiar with. 3G (as well as 4G) is the connection which allows you to gain access to the internet when you’re not hooked up to a wireless connection.
The main difference between 3G vs 4G is that 4G is essentially faster! And with mobile phone network EE having doubled its internet speeds in recent weeks, 4G can enable users to watch movies, access apps and Tweet to your heart’s content without having to wait for things to download.
To find out more, take a look at our article about 4G, 3G vs 4G and 4G mobile phones here.
Currently 4G is only supplied by network operator EE. However, that is all set to change with o2 launching their own 4G service across the UK at the end of August.
EE’s 4G covers most major cities and town in Britain, including:
To see a full coverage map of which areas are covered by 4G, visit EE’s coverage checker here. [no follow]
Because 4G offers superfast internet connection speeds, it is therefore slightly more expensive than traditional 3G deals. However, because mobile phone deals differ in price according to the package of minutes, texts and data, as well as the handset included, it is difficult to say exactly how much 4G costs.
That said, with o2 and Vodafone joining EE in on the 4G action, the cost of 4G packages is being made easier to compare.
For example, a SIM-Only contract offering unlimited texts, unlimited minutes and 8GB of data can be found for:
Also, whilst a 1GB 4G data bundle would set you back £26 on EE and o2, 2GB can be bought for the same price with Vodafone.
It goes to show, then, that with o2 and Vodafone joining the 4G bandwagon, competition is driving down the price of 4G for consumers, which can only be a good thing.
Data usage- how much data do you need?
The biggest conundrum when considering 4G (and in many ways 3G for that matter) is how much data do I need?
There is no simple answer to this question, as everyone uses their phones in completely different ways.
For instance, if you only use your smartphone to browse Facebook and Twitter each day, you might be able to get away with a 4G data bundle of between 500MB and 1GB a month.
However, you might be an avid television watcher, addicted to catching up with the latest episode of TOWIE or Geordie Shore. If that’s the case, a deal offering at least 1GB, but ideally the 2 or 3GB mark would ensure that you don’t go over your monthly allowance.
To help work out how much data you use, take a look at our mobile phone data usage calculator.