If you’ve been holding out on moving to 4G now might be the time, as there are numerous advantages to the newer technology and fewer and fewer reasons not to upgrade. So if you’re on the fence or wondering what the advantages of upgrading would be keep on reading, because we’ve got you covered with the top ten reasons to switch to 4G.
Cost used to be one of the main reasons not to upgrade to 4G, but now it’s almost levelled out with 3G pricing. In fact most networks now don’t differentiate the two and give you 4G as standard.
So while it’s not cheaper than 3G it needn’t be any more expensive either and if you’re already on a network which offers 4G as standard then there’s next to no reason not to make use of it.
This is an obvious one, but 4G is fast, very fast. With standard 4G you’ll be looking at typical downloads of 14Mbps, compared to just 3Mbps on standard 3G and it’s only getting faster, with EE and Vodafone already rolling out LTE-A in some locations, bringing typical download speeds up to around 42Mbps.
The extra speed that 4G gives you means it no longer feels slow to use mobile data. You can comfortably web browse, email, stream music and video, download files and even work or play online games all over a 4G connection.
As we say, 4G is getting faster as more advanced infrastructure is deployed and that’s set to continue. Other benefits are also starting to emerge, such as VoLTE (detailed below). 3G has hit its peak but you can look at 4G as an investment that’s going to get better over time.
Most mobile networks now support 4G so if you want 4G you’re not particularly limited in your choice of network. If anything it’s now 3G which limits you, as EE for example, which is now one of the most impressive networks around, was built from the ground up with 4G in mind, so while you could get an EE contract and stick to 3G data it would seem a waste.
Three meanwhile has contracts with unlimited 4G data and again only using 3G on them would seem like a missed opportunity.
And as highlighted above in many cases networks don’t even charge you extra for 4G anymore, so there really is very little reason to cling on to 3G.
5. Extra benefits
Depending on which 4G network you choose there are all sorts of extra benefits available. Vodafone for example gives 4G customers a free subscription to Netflix, Spotify Premium, Sky Sports Mobile or Now TV.
Three gives you free calls to 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers and EE gives customers discounts and exclusive offers. Many of the networks also allow for tethering, which can be done with 3G as well but is far more useful with 4G, especially if you’re using your mobile data on a laptop where desktop versions of sites are used and faster data is required as a result.
VoLTE (or Voice over LTE) has arrived on Three as 4G Super-Voice and it will be coming to other networks soon. It allows you to make voice calls over 4G and offers far superior voice quality, so you can more easily hear what the person at the other end of the line is saying, along with their tone and their actual voice. In future you could also use it to make video calls and it could even lead to new features like video voicemail.
7. Reduced latency
As well as extra speed, 4G also delivers reduced latency, meaning that devices will get quicker responses to requests than when connected over 3G, reduced from 120 milliseconds on 3G to just 60 milliseconds on 4G.
Most of the time that’s a difference that you may not notice, but when online gaming for example or even when streaming video a reduced latency can make a big difference and lead to a smoother experience.
Ok, 3G coverage is still better than 4G. But 4G coverage has reached the point where it’s now useable in much of the UK, especially if you opt for EE, which has now brought 4G coverage to more than 94% of the UK population and aims to have 98% coverage by the end of 2015.
So chances are you can now get 4G where you live and work as well as in many other places you’re likely to go. If you end up somewhere which doesn’t currently have 4G coverage all that will happen is you’ll get 3G speeds instead, so you won’t be any worse off than you are now.
9. Compatible phones
There was a time not so long ago when only a handful of handsets were 4G compatible, limiting your choice of phone if you wanted superfast data, and it didn’t help that most of those handsets were rather expensive.
Now though almost all recent smartphones support 4G, including many entry-level ones, so you have a wide selection of phones to choose from and should easily be able to find one which suits your needs and budget.
In fact if you’ve upgraded your phone in the last year or two there’s a good chance that you already have a 4G handset anyway.
10. Going abroad
If you’re on EE then you can even take advantage of 4G when abroad in select locations (though you will have to buy an add-on). So you can enjoy superfast mobile data even when on holiday or on a business trip.
Three meanwhile doesn’t let you use 4G abroad but it does let you use 3G abroad in numerous locations at no extra cost. That might sound like a 3G benefit but it’s basically a 4G network now, so if you’re on Three there’s little reason not to be using 4G.