What is 4G?
Until 2012, connecting to the internet on your mobile phone was either done over a wireless connection (wifi) or a 3G connection when out and about. 3G is the paid-for mobile internet service that was offered by mobile phone networks for nearly 10 years. 4G is its faster replacement.
- Surfing the web via 4G can be up to 10 times faster than on 3G.
- Initially, the only UK mobile operator with a 4G licence was Everything Everywhere (a combination of T-mobile and Orange). Following a 'bandwidth' auction in early 2013, five more operators have bought the right to offer 4G services.
- Initially, 4G was available in 10 UK cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.
- A second batch of six cities (Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle and Southampton) got 4G coverage at the end of 2012.
- 4G can offer navigation speeds of 20Mbps, which is similar to fast home broadband.
- Some 4G users in the US have reported top speeds of 47Mbps, around the same as superfast home broadband.
- Operators are now working on 5G mobile broadband so watch this space!