4G Technology - Why It’s Premature

October 15, 2012|  

4G has increasingly become popular in recent years but by no means is it a standard – at least, not yet. People are yet to adapt to this shift in technology. It only feels like yesterday when 3G became a standard and 4G is already aiming to replace it in several parts of the globe. 

4G Technology - Mobile
Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
3G is no slow-poke when it comes to internet connectivity but it fell short of our expectations. It often took time to load websites when connected to 3G, especially when located in an area with poor signals. So in addition to making 3G-enabled devices, manufacturers had to create faster processors and advanced radios for improved website loading times and user experience. For users, this meant having to pay more. Meanwhile, developers were tasked to make 3G-optimized internet browsers on mobile and PC. Even though they’re faster than regular browsers, they lack functionality such as support for videos, high-quality images, and Flash content. 

4G technology takes a load off everyone’s shoulders. Device manufacturers and developers alike no longer have to put much effort to ensure that consumers enjoy fast internet. In spite of its benefits, the new technology poses many challenges for businesses, network providers, and average users. 

What are the advantages of 4G? 

4G data offers 10 times more speed than its predecessor. Actual speed depends on a provider’s resources and the device on hand but it’s definitely a clear boost from 3G. The increased speed has many implications. It means that you can browse the internet at a quicker pace and stream media such as music and videos without delay. Video chat, instant messaging, and voice chat are also more fluid with 4G. 

Does 4G have disadvantages? 

Users will have to upgrade their devices so they can use 4G but they tend to have steeper prices than 3G-only variants. Additionally, faster internet comes at the expense of poorer battery life amongst mobile users. Smartphones and tablets still have problems delivering optimal battery life when connected to 3G and with the emergence of 4G they have yet to keep up with the pace. 

Device makers aren’t the only ones required to keep up with this technology. Providers must also upgrade their current cell towers to provide 4G connectivity to users. In exchange, users have to pay more to use their 4G networks. 4G data plans are more expensive than existing 3G plans. 

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of 4G is that it lacks a common universal ground. The technology currently has three variations which limit the compatibility of a device. In the United States alone, there are three types of 4G networks – LTE, WiMax, and HSPA+. So if you decide to switch providers later on, this might render your device useless with other 4G networks. 


It may be faster than 3G and a more effective means of mobile connectivity but 4G is still a premature technology at this stage. But give it a few years and it will be where 3G currently is. By then, 4G will be a standard and more widely used throughout the world. It will be a more accessible technology than it is today. 

About the Guest Author: Rich Martinez is an internet specialist who writes articles about the impacts of technology on users and businesses. She currently works at Broadband Expert, a consultation firm that helps home owners and businesses find internet companies which suit their needs.