Whenever a new technology comes out I’m not always the type of person who will go straight out to the shops and get it (or these days, straight online to buy it). I like to wait and see what the initial feedback is and also wait for any teething problems to iron themselves out. It’s so much less stressful and it avoids disappointment when you might have a high expectation of the product or service. The other major factor that stops me from rushing into buying new tech is the price. We all know that the retailers or other companies are going to drop the price in less than a few weeks after launch. Anyway, I’ve not jumped on the 4G bandwagon yet but the general feeling that I’ve seen from the social networks like Twitter and Facebook and also from friends and family is that it’s pretty awesome. If you’re wondering what 4G is or want to get clued up on the ins and outs then read our guide to 4G here.
A quick look on Twitter and many users are singing it’s praises with plenty of claims that 4G is even faster than their home broadband. This begs the question of whether we will actually need home broadband in years to come. For many, it’s probably something that could be removed from their home right now given the speeds of 4G and the ability to tether data on some mobile networks. It’s also possible, that in the future we will see a new type of mobile data contract that will allow us to use our plans on more than one device without any restrictions. In the meantime you could use a WiFi dongle or MiFi that essentially acts as a wireless base station for you to connect your devices to.
Upload speed on 4G is insane. Just uploaded 600mb in 10min! What’s the point in having broadband at home? Gonna keep my iphone tethered.
— Sebastian Matthes (@manox_net) January 17, 2014
Here are some Tweets from users who are also happy with their 4G speeds:
im satisfied with the speed of my 4G ♥♥ — OVO♥ (@ovoxo_bitcch) January 20, 2014
This particular 4G user tested his connection speed with a very popular app called Ookla. A bit of a strange name but I’ll forgive them! It’s available to download for iOS and Android so you too can test your 3G and 4G mobile data speeds. PaddleScotland managed 30Mbps with his test and that’s one of the fastest I’ve seen in the UK. Results seem to vary widely from as low as 9Mbps to as high as 50Mbps. Even at the lowest speed, 4g is still faster than some home broadband connections and definitely much faster than 3G that has download speeds of between 1.5Mbps to 6Mbps.
Ben Wood, mobile and wireless industry analyst at CCInsight also tweeted his experience with 4G on O2 and he achieved an amazing download speed of 52.56Mbps.
Ben himself had a positive experience of using only 4G when he moved house last year. This was largely due to the downtime of switching broadband providers and their poor service in getting him and his family up and running. Although 4G proved to be a more than capable option in as short term solution in the absence of broadband, he did have the following to say about making the switch permanently:
So why would I even bother with fixed-line broadband? It comes down to unlimited access. 8GB of data from EE costs £26 a month, not much more than the fixed-line access costs.
We’ve been careful up to now, but I know we’d normally break the 8GB limit every month.
If you’d like to find out more about his experience you can read Ben Wood’s full blog post on CCInsights.
Of course, there isn’t all good news without some bad. Your 4G experience may well be hindered by factors such as where you live, the smartphone that you are using and the mobile network that you’re using. For more info the limiting factors of 4G – see here.
— Richard (@richbdd) January 7, 2014
4G will certainly be of great benefit people living in rural areas that have been cut off from digital revolution. There are 4G dongles available that can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot and these are relatively cheap and a reliable source for delivering Internet to places that we may never have thought possible.
At the moment, I don’t think we are quite ready to ditch home broadband though. The main concern is still the value and amount of data that you can get with a 4G package. Most broadband packages will give you unlimited usage and you won’t have to worry about going over a limit or being capped on your speeds. With EE 4G SIM Only plans the data allowances range from 500MB to 20GB, with the latter costing a whopping £61 a month! There are unlimited data packages on 4G, in particular with Three Mobile so there are options but not being able to guarantee a quality connection indoors would be a major concern.
My broadband and 3G SIM Only together cost me £43 (£30 with Virgin and £13 with Three SIM Only) a month and with that I’m getting unlimited data on both. If I can get unlimited 4G data for less than the cost of my current broadband package, coupled with nearly double the speeds then it would certainly be worth considering the switch to 4G only. The savings could be huge too.
Both technologies have the capability to far exceed the current speeds on offer to consumers and will depend on what your personal requirements are.
Have you got 4G already? Will you be ditching your home broadband? Let us know your thoughts below.