4G is the fourth generation of mobile communication standards, the successor of 3G (third generation) standards. This will provide high-speed mobile broadband internet access to 4G Mobile Phones, Laptops and PCs connected to a USB wireless modem and a host of 4G enabled mobile devices.
Of the two standards that have been part of 4G – LTE and WiMAX, LTE seems to have taken over as the lead contender. 4G have provided cited download speeds over 100Mbps and upload speeds above 50Mbps. With these internet speeds in mind, future LTE 4G mobile devices could get up to 5x the performance of 3G with HSPA.
When is the UK going to get 4G?
Many countries have already rolled out their 4G platforms over the last few years. Ofcom, the regulator for the UK Communications Industries, have said the UK-wide 4G Spectrum will be auctioned off after the Digital Television Switchover. This has now been put back until late 2012, seemingly due to the main Mobile Operators in the UK bickering about who gets what and when. Whatever happens, it is highly unlikely the UK will see 4G until 2013 so don’t be ordering your new 4G Mobile Phone just yet!
4G Mobile Broadband Trials
There are currently a number of 4G Mobile Broadband trials running in the UK, the first, started by Everything Everywhere (T-Mobile & Orange) & BT is located in Cornwall, whilst O2 has been testing in Slough since 2009.
On February 29th 2012, UK Broadband switched on an LTE network in the London Borough of Southwark, which it says is the first commercial 4G deployment in the UK. Mobile operators such as Vodafone and O2 will be offering its mobile customers the chance use this new high speed network. These customers however will need LTE compatible 4G Mobile Phones to take advantage of this 4G network.