Buying a new mobile phone is a hefty investment for most people. With top of the range devices going for well over five hundred pounds, you may wonder whether they’re worth it or not. Newly released phone models tend to be upgraded, with better features and newer technology. But not everyone needs all the bells and whistles that come on a top end device. And why pay so much for features that you’re not going to use? Knowing whether or not new features are worth going for can be complicated, and it depends on what you use your phone for. Today we’re talking about one of the hottest new features on top end phones: 4G. If you want to know whether it’s worth getting a 4G enabled phone or not, then read on to learn all about this new tech and what it can do for you.
What are 4G Phones?
4G phones are capable of using 4G internet technology, rather than the older 3G networks that we’ve all been using for so long. 4G is the newest revolution in mobile internet technology and does promise a lot of benefits to users, as long as they can get access to a 4G network. All you need to know is that 4G phones connect to the internet in the same way as 3G phones do, but use a different kind of network.
What are the Benefits of 4G?
The main benefit of a 4G network is that it’s far, far faster than a 3G network. A 3G network gets top internet speeds of around 14.4 Mbps for downloading, and uploading speeds are far slower than that, hovering around the 1 Mbps range. But that’s only on top end phones in areas that have excellent coverage. In reality, 3G users see downloading speeds of around 3Mbps. This is pretty good for most internet tasks, but for higher-end tasks like video streaming or accessing high definition pictures, you’ll notice a definite lag in services. 4G, on the other hand, gets maximum downloading speeds of 300 Mbps and uploading speeds of around 75 Mbps. It’s hard to say what speeds are like, since there aren’t too many 4G networks around right now, but it looks like most users get speeds of about 30 to 40 Mbps, which is ten times faster than you would get on a 3G connections. This means things like streaming video and high-end playing games are a lot faster over a 4G connection. In fact, you’re getting internet speeds that are probably even faster than your home broadband speeds.
What are the Disadvantages of 4G?
There are a couple of downsides. Firstly, there aren’t many 4G networks in the UK right now, meaning that quite a lot of people don’t have access to 4G services, even if they have a 4G capable phone. Many mobile service providers don’t offer 4G packages, and lack of competition means that prices are high with those providers who do have 4G deals. There’s little point in having a 4G capable phone if you’re not actually in the position to use the connectivity. However, one consideration is that 4G networks are growing by the month. And they’re growing fast. Estimates say that within the next eighteen months to two years the majority of UK customers will have access to 4G.
Buying a top end mobile tends to be a fairly long-term decision, and if you’re probably going to have the same phone a year and a half from now, you might want to consider getting the 4G option for when it becomes an available possibility to you. The other major disadvantage has to do with speed. We quoted you a realistically expected speed of 30 to 40 Mbps, which is true right now. However, as more and more customers start to use 4G networks and those networks start to get busy and clogged, there’s a good chance that the expected realistic speed of connections is going to drop. The same thing happened to 3G, and the reason that so many people get mobile internet speeds so far below the maximum available speed on a 3G network is simply that so many people are using the same networks. This is serious cause for concern, and the 4G speeds that we see right now aren’t necessarily to 4G speeds that we’ll be seeing in the future.
Mobile Service Provider Options
To get a good 4G service on your new mobile, your only real choice of mobile providers right now is EE. EE have poured a massive amount of money into building 4G networks to become the UK’s first 4G mobile internet provider. The downside of this is that they’re pretty eager to get all the money they invested back, so plans are expensive. Rates go from £36 per month for the smallest data plan. And those data plans are small. The basic plan gives you only 500 Mb of data a month, and even the biggest plan (that’s priced at £56 per month) gets you only 8 GB, there are no unlimited data options. 4G connections are fast, which means they use a lot of data very quickly, and those low data caps are extremely easy to go over, lumping you with expensive extra charges. However, if you want real 4G speeds, you’re not going to have a choice right now, you’ll have to sign up with EE. On the bright side, all of their 4G plans do include unlimited text messaging and calling.
What Are My Phone Options?
4G is becoming extremely common on newly launched models. The top end new releases like the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One are all 4G capable. The iPhone 5 is also a 4G phone. Some mid-range models are starting to be 4G capable as well. Samsung even went back and added 4G to the otherwise 3G Galaxy S III. Any phone with the suffix LTE is going to be a 4G phone.
A friend of Phil Turner’s was keen to know more about 4G phones. All the main providers are listed on uSwitch, and a good deal is just a quick search away.