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Published on December 19th, 2012 | by John I.

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4G vs 3G Mobile Networks Go Head to Head

General Overview

There are various terms used widely and frequently in technology marketing that unfortunately average customers do not understand. Some of the most commonly heard technical terms are 3G and 4G. The words are spoken and heard in almost any discussion concerning mobile devices such as tablets and phones. In nearly all cases, consumers will always like the higher number. Usually, higher number reflects an up-to-date development over the smaller one; however, it can be either true or false. The following passages deliver further explanations about 3G and 4G, so consumers can wisely pick the best one to purchase.

An Overview of 3G and 4G

The letter “G” stands for “Generation of mobile technology”; this term is used in mobile devices and cellular networks. Basically, 3G is used for 3rd generation of mobile device, while 4G is for the 4th. In 2003, 3G technology was introduced in U.S.; the most prominent feature is its Internet speed that reaches at least 144Kbps. Many people regard such speed as Mobile Broadband. As the technology grows, the more modern 3G is able to reach a minimum mobile Internet speed of 400Kbps to a maximum of 4000Kbps. Logically, the next generation of mobile devices promise faster speed, more Internet data capacity, and many other better attributes.

The 4G-equipped mobile devices should be better in all aspects compared with the predecessor; unfortunately, this is not always correct. There are various technologies attributed with 4G; moreover, people find many different methods to implement them. The standard for wireless high-speed data communication for mobile phones should include HSPA+ 21/42, LTE, WiMAX, etc. Actually, the detail minimum requirements for 4G mobile technology have already been set by The International Telecommunications Union. However, the standard requirements were ignored by some (if not all) carriers and ITU eventually could not fight back. The good thing is that every new mobile technology generation from the same carrier will always offer faster Internet access than the previous generation.

Is It Time to Switch to 4G?

In terms of speed, most 4G-based mobile phones indeed provide faster Internet access; a simple surfing or video streaming will be handled impressively by 4G system. In general, 4G system functions very well for transferring large amounts of data. Although some carriers have been implementing 4G system for quite a while, most carriers are still using the 3G-based network; some carriers are in the process of switching to the better system.

Main Differences Between 3G and 4G

As mentioned earlier, 4G system has been existing for quite a while now, but most major carriers from all around the world still implement the 3G system. The predecessor is very fast in terms of voice call and data transfer, but 4G is even better; however, the latest system is only used by a small portion of the world’s population. The fact also suggests that the biggest difference between 3G and 4G is availability factor. Most people are comfortable using 3G service for various purposes such as video conference, Internet surfing, GPS, and other. The cost for subscribing to 3G is fairly expensive, so is will be only comfortably accessible by some fortunate people.

Unlike 3G, the 4G system usually offers some payment options, so it can be more affordable. The only greatest downside is its availability; the new system is still in expansion process and only available in small parts of the world.

Positive and Negative Sides of 3G:

  • Data transfer up to 2Mbps
  • Useful for GPS
  • Expensive subscription

Positive and Negative Sides of 4G:

  • Impressive for movie or video streaming
  • Good connection stability
  • Available only in small parts of the world



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About the Author

John I.

Is an IT professional who loves writing about the latest technology news.



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