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What 4G Might Mean for You

What 4G Might Mean for You

In July 2014, Optus and Telstra announced trials of its new 4G 700 MHz network. For now, these new services will be available in Darwin, Esperance, Fremantle, Griffith, Mildura, Perth and Mt. Isa.

According to Managing Director of Optus Networks, Vic McClelland, "We're expanding our superfast 4G network to more Australians this year, with plans to reach 90% of the Australian population by March 2015."

To start, Optus and Telstra customers with compatible devices will have access to the new network in a few areas. Then the service will become widespread by January 2015.

But what does this mean for you?

4G Means Better Coverage for Many Devices

If you have the latest mobile device, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3 or the HTC One (M8), you'll enjoy faster, smoother internet connections.

Some estimate 4G is nearly 20 times faster than 3G in cities, though 4G can drop down a bit outside of metropolitan areas. These faster speeds are available because there haven't been too many users to bog down the network.

Vic McClelland states, "Using 700 MHZ, we'll be able to improve the indoor experience for our customers around the country." With faster speeds, you'll be able to upload and download content with ease, making 4G ideal if you like to surf the internet.

Why Is 4G Better than 3G?

4G stands for the fourth generation in mobile technology. Each "G" requires you to get a new phone, and it requires networks to make additional upgrades. The first generation consisted of analog mobile phones, and the second generation upgraded to digital.

Third-generation mobile networks, or 3G, have internet speeds of at least 144 Kbps. 3G networks from most providers have since evolved to include Internet speeds from 400 Kbps and higher.

If you like to stream video or upload photos, faster 4G networks will give you a huge boost in transferring large amounts of data.

Are There Downsides to 4G?

Australia doesn't have a lot of 4G networks, so 4G networks have a short range. If you live outside of a metropolitan area, your 4G connection might drop down to a 3G connection. The further out you go, the weaker your 3G network becomes, until it drops out completely and your mobile is only left with voice capabilities.

Additionally, upgrading to 4G may mean that you'll have to upgrade your mobile device. Although advances in technology make upgrades more affordable than ever, the latest generations are always more expensive than their predecessors. 

When to Upgrade Your Mobile Device

If you primarily use your mobile device for talking, then you have no need 3G or 4G data. Additionally, upgrading your mobile to 4G won't do you any good if you live in an area without 4G coverage. In fact, your device may have battery issues because it will be searching for a non-existent signal. When you're strapped for cash, opt for a more affordable 3G network. The internet speed might not be as fast, but it will still get the job done.

However, if you use your phone for playing games, streaming live content and uploading photos, 4G might be worth the extra investment. Providers who offer 4G networks likely won't charge more for the upgrade. Often, 4G and 3G should fall under the same data plan.

4G networks are becoming mainstream around the world. While networks are currently limited in Australia, they'll undoubtedly spread to provide better coverage and better data plans. By upgrading to 4G, you can stay ahead of new technology and ensure that your phone will be up to date for a few more years.