4G is a mobile technology that has been around for a while now and is the predecessor of 5G, which is the most current mobile technology. Although 5G is becoming more accessible, not every mobile or network offers 5G as standard. This means 4G is still very important and is still used by many.

If you have an older mobile phone or tablet, you may only be able to use 4G. To know what network you are using, you can check on the top of your mobile device. A ‘4G’ symbol means you are connected to a 4G network. Below we discuss 4G in more detail, the benefits of using a 4G network, and whether it is still used across the UK.

What Does 4G Mean?

4G is a mobile communication that allows people to gain internet access wirelessly to any device, at great speeds. 4G stands for fourth generation communications system and is an upgrade of communication systems, which technology experts have named the 4th generation. 4G has been a long time in the making, with 2G launching back in the 1990s.

Back then, 2G was an amazing achievement in technological advances and allowed mobile phone users to send text messages and phone calls. Internet on mobiles was not possible at this point but was introduced in 2003, which was the launching of 3G. When 3G was introduced, people could use their mobile devices to make video calls, browse the internet, send pictures and images through texts, and even download videos and music, without being connected to a Wi-Fi network.

This was a big move for mobile technology and the tech giants didn’t stop there. 4G was soon brought into the market and was first introduced in 2009 by Stockholm and Oslo. 4G is an improvement on 3G, allowing us to do everything it could do before, but much faster. Of course, we also have 5G now and this is faster still. 5G is becoming more available, yet there are still parts of the UK where 5G is not available.

Some devices cannot handle 5G and some SIM plans are 4G only. Despite this, 4G offers everything you need for a smooth mobile experience, meaning it is still very useful for mobile users. There is also a faster version of 4G available in some parts of the UK, which is known as 4G+, 4G LTE-Advanced, or LTE-A.

4G LTE-Advanced is available in many large cities, such as Liverpool, Birmingham, London, and Manchester. This will depend on the mobile network provider you are with and which cities they offer 4G+. If you are not sure whether you are connected to 4G or 4G+, simply check the bar at the top of your phone. If your provider offers 4G+ in your area and it’s included in your contract, you will have a 4G+ symbol.

What is 4G?

4G can be compared to a highly advanced radio system. It works similarly to radio signals, except it provides a mobile connection for users to call, text, and use the internet. As you drive down a motorway, you may notice masts running through fields and across the landscape, as far as the eye can see. These broadcast the necessary signals for mobile devices to connect to 4G.

Coders and engineers must use these masts to provide data for the masses. Mobile networks then use these masts to provide a network for their mobile users. If a mast goes down, you may notice a drop in your internet capacity and speeds.

Every mobile network as standard offers 4G, whilst 5G may only be offered on some networks in a higher-paid contract. This is because the technology is still new and is rather a luxury than a necessity. When 3G was first brought out, mobile providers offered it for a high price. Luckily, 4G is now the norm, and whatever mobile plan you choose, you will have access to 4G, without having to pay any premiums.

How Does 4G Work?

4G works by sending and receiving packets of data. To understand 4G and how it works, you also need to know what internet protocols are. Internet protocols, known as IP, are a set of rules and standards that govern how data is transmitted over the Internet. This is a common language for computers and mobile devices to communicate and connect, which enables different devices to exchange information, such as text messages.

Unlike its predecessors, 4G is solely IP based. This means that 4G uses IP for all data, including voice data. There are many benefits of using IP for 4G, such as fewer chances of data becoming scrambled as it’s transferred from one device to another. So, when someone sends you a text, or you have a video call with someone, data is constantly being relayed from your mobile device, to one of the masts nearby, and back again.

Is 4G Still Used?

Yes, 4G is still widely used and is likely to be available for at least another decade. Whilst 5G is being made available across the country, it will take some time to create the masts needed to provide 5G to everyone, especially those in rural areas.

5G is also an ever-changing technology and will likely be improved over the coming years for better speeds and lower latency than ever before. This means it could take a long time to get 5G fully ready for rollout across all parts of the UK.

4G is, therefore, a great option, so you do not need to worry if your mobile device doesn’t support 5G, as depending on your location you may not even be able to access it yet. If you do have a mobile that can support 5G, you can use both 4G and 5G, depending on where you are in the UK and what network and plan you are on.

If you are not sure whether 4G or 5G is available in your area, you can check online. Many mobile providers have a ‘coverage checker’, where you can input your postcode to find out what coverage is available. You should also check for both indoor and outdoor coverage, as this could change based on your location. 4G and 5G are most prominent in large cities, although many rural areas have access to 4G.

What Are the Benefits of 4G?

4G still has many benefits over 2G and 3G, including:

  • An improved network capacity: 4G has a greater capacity for users, which is great news for anyone that owns a mobile device. 4G can handle more users and devices simultaneously, which can help to reduce network congestion and provides a reliable connection for everyone.
  • Faster speeds: 4G is a fast network and for many, it is enough to complete daily tasks such as video calls, streaming Netflix, or browsing web pages. 4G allows users to download and upload large files quickly and stream high-quality audio and video, usually without buffering. Users of 4G can still have a seamless online experience without the use of 5G.
  • Improved security: Unlike previous network generations, 4G is much safer and has stronger security features. This helps users to protect their privacy and data.
  • Lower latency: Latency is the delay between sending something and receiving it, such as sending a photo over WhatsApp. 4G has lower latency, which means that the data you send is transmitted quicker than in previous network generations, and with less of a delay. This is particularly important for those who use video conferencing tools or enjoy online gaming on their mobile device, as these both require a reliable and fast connection.
  • Cheaper: 4G is still fast and efficient enough for most mobile users, making it a more affordable option for those who don’t want to pay for 5G. If you work from home and use your Wi-Fi a lot, paying for 5G may not be necessary, unless it already comes included in your mobile contract. Unless you could benefit from an even faster network, 4G has everything you need, for now.

Overall, the benefits of 4G make it an essential piece of technology for anyone who requires a mobile network for business, communication, or entertainment.

4G: A Very Useful Networking Tool

4G uses upload packets and high-speed download to allow you to listen to music, video call your best friend, or send a video of a dog to your family’s group chat. 4G is much like Wi-Fi, except instead of just in your home, you can use it anywhere.

The Government has a target in place for 2030 which will ensure that 4G mobile coverage is available nationwide, which is great news for those in very rural areas of the UK. They have also stated that by 2030, most of the population will have access to a 5G signal, which means 4G will be very much prominent for at least another 10 years, if not longer.