People throughout Great Britain as well as the rest of the world have likely become familiar with the term ‘3G.’ However, 4G has been the latest innovation that is intended to take smart phones and the associated technology to another level. The UK will finally be able to enjoy 4G on multiple networks and not just controlled solely by the EE (Everything Everywhere) network in 2013 however before that, what is 4G LTE? Let’s get to know 3G’s latest sibling.
So What is 4G?
Basically, 4G is the fourth generation of mobile communications standards. 4G technology provides high speed internet access to mobile phones, tablets, and laptops that use a USB wireless modem. There are a number of potential applications for 4G including IP telephony (the ability to make phone calls through an Internet portal from a smart phone, which bypasses the phone’s internal calling features), gaming services, HD mobile TV, video conferencing, and mobile internet access.
4G also brings a faster upload and download rate to users of this technology. 4G technology has been in existence in different countries around the world since 2006, though those facts are arguable among close followers of the technology. For example, it is disputed that these early releases (in Korea in 2006, for example) can even be considered 4G as they don’t fit the new technical definition of the term.
So, what is the Technical Definition of 4G?
In 2008, a specific set of standards was defined for 4G technology by the International Telecommunications Union-Radio (ITU-R) commission. This was labeled as the IMT-A specification (International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced) and established that peak speed requirements for 4G classification be 100 megabits per second for high mobility communications, such as transit vehicles and cars.
It also declared that 1 gigabit per second speed was required for stationary or low mobility users, such as pedestrians and stationary individuals.
The Limitations in the United Kingdom
While 4G has been enjoyed by vast numbers of smart phone users in other parts of the world for years however in the UK this capability has been limited to one network -EE (Everything Everywhere). The agreement that had led to this monopoly was set to end in December 2013, but a new agreement has been announced and other networks will be able to offer their customers 4G technology up to six months earlier. Here is our blog post on EE 4G, everything you need to know.
That means that the rest of England and the UK will be able to start enjoying the benefits of 4G accessibility starting in the summer of 2013.
Because 4G offers such an advantage over 3G networks, many of the phones that are designed to operate with 4G have not been available to customers of network providers other than Everything Everywhere.
However, there are a few complications to this scenario and customers of other networks, such as O2, Three, and Vodafone should be aware of them. 4G requires more bandwidth than previous versions and only EE has enough spectrum space to launch this year. Other provider networks will have to sit back and wait for the government to auction more space from digital TV signals.
For several years, there has been animosity and hostility by some of the major network providers with regard to 4G technology, but a peace treaty of sorts was finally reached because the positive nationwide economic impact outweighed their individual interests.
The auction that will broaden 4G availability will be moved from March to January 2013. This will allow these other network providers to set up and begin testing their service signals, and offer their services to customers next summer.
But more rural or highland areas will have to wait a little longer for 4G, probably until the end of 2013.
How Will 4G Alter the Smart Phone World?
When smart phones have access to the 4G network more features and options are available including real-time updates from websites, mobile banking and other mobile applications that help to make life easier.
Historically the United Kingdom has been one of the pioneers of mobile technology, but in recent years other nations have overtaken the UK in the field of 4G. hampering the UK’s ability to remain on the leading edge of this important technology.
Any further delays would have been detrimental to the future of broadband services, but thankfully there is light at the end of the tunnel. When UK citizens finally have access to 4G and take advantage of this increased speed, the long road to reach this point will have been worth the effort.
This article was written by A Hagarty a self confessed tech geek with a passion for app development and a maven of new technologies. The article was sponsored by http://www.johnlewis.com/PS: Digging this story, news or review? Let us know! Comments open.
About Jakk: Jakk Ogden is a professional self-employed blogger and the founder / owner of Technology Blogged. 22, with a love for good writing, you'll find me playing 'Drag Racing' on my HTC One X and rocking a pair of Grado headphones. If you love technology, be sure to subscribe to my feed for unique editorials. Find me on Google+. View author profile.