Differences Between 3G and 4G

You might be asking yourself what’s so special about 4G? Why is it better than the 3G you already have? You might have heard that it’s a bit faster, but is that all there is to it? Don’t worry, we’ll explain…

Last updated: 17th Mar 2021 at 4:20pm

What Is 4G?

2G gave mobile phone owners the ability to call and text and 3G enabled made mobile broadband and data usage possible. 4G is the 4th Generation of mobile technology first introduced to the UK in 2010 that brings you increased data speeds, 10 times faster than the previous 3G network.

To check if you are covered by 4G use our coverage checker.

Has 4G Improved Mobile Technology?

Faster Speeds: 4G is roughly 10 times faster than 3G. This means that if you’re browsing the web pages will load much quicker, and if you’re downloading small files or streaming, they will download faster. Gone are the days where you would wait hours for your old Nokia 3310 to download a song you like. Mobile internet is about to get even faster too with the introduction of 5G in 2019.

Voice Calls: Speed isn't the only advantage of the fourth-generation network. Enabling 4G also enables VoLTE which stands for Voice over LTE (the ability to make calls over 4G), this leads to much higher quality phone calls. This also means that video calls are less patchy as long as you have an adequate signal.

Standard Cost: Mobile networks using 4G technology work at much higher speeds and therefore use more advanced processes than previous mobile generations. When fourth-generation mobile first came out, one of the downsides was higher costs. While you were getting faster data, you were paying more for it. Now that 4G has become the norm you can get yourself a great bundle with fourth-generation internet for the same cost as 3G.

Compatibility: Not all phones support 4th generation technology; for instance cheaper or older phones built before 2010. Before getting a 4G contract you might want to check if your handset is compatible first. Essentially, if you want better download speeds for streaming videos and music you might need to update your phone.

You don’t need the most brand-spanking-new handset, but you will need a 4G mobile capable of taking advantage of the best 4G speeds, otherwise, you might as well stick with 3G.

4G Network Coverage: Unfortunately, fourth-generation mobile isn't available everywhere, there are still rural areas within the UK that don’t have a signal. Many of the major cities in the UK are covered, however, some regions of Scotland and Wales have blind spots and only offer a 3G service. To check if you are covered by 4G use our coverage checker.

So there you have it: our digestible guide to the differences between 3G and 4G. We hope you’re now a little bit more confident about the differences. 

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