Mint condition iPhones available at Freedom Mobiles
With the release of ‘The New iPad’ (A silly name if you ask us here at Freedom-Mobiles) the idea of a 4G phone connection has crept into the public mindset, many of whom have only just got their heads around 3G. But what is 4G? Many may ask what 3G was all about! Let’s find out.
First a bit of history; the G basically stands for generation and refers to a fundamental shift in the way we use or phones. The ‘first generation’ of phones (1G) refers to a time when all mobile phones were analogue, beginning back in 1981. In 1992 there was a huge shift towards digital mobile phones which was considered the ‘second generation’ (2G) which allowed SMS and email to be used on our phones for the first time. The ‘third generation’ was heralded in in 2001 offering high speed data allowing video calls and true Internet browsing on our phones. This was a late starter, much to the annoyance of the phone companies in the UK who had spent £22 billion on securing licences to use the 3G spectrum plus however much it cost to build the infastructure, even the first iPhone ignored 3G technology. However with data hungry smartphones becoming the norm for everyone 3G is finally becoming important to the masses that are unfortunately afraid to fully use it due to archaic download limits.
So what is 4G and what is the fundamental shift in mobile phone use/technology that we are expecting? Ever since mobile companies began to offer data services phones have used two technologies: packet switched nodes for data services and circuit switched nodes for voice calls. With 4G circuit switched nodes are abandoned and voice calls are made with packet switched nodes. Basically the phone will be a 100% Internet device with calls being made using the data connection like you might do on your home computer with Skype. Also the speed in which the data is transmitted will be significantly increased, with speeds of up to 1Gbit demanded by the 4G standard
This shift in technology has already began in many parts of the world with two technologies competing to be the fore-runner for 4G standards: WiMAX and LTE, although these are considered to be stop-gap solutions or 3.9G technology until WiMAX 2 and LTE Advanced are deployed due to the fact that they do not offer the high speeds required by 4G standards, but they are 4G in other respects. Eventually this will mean high quality audio calls, HD video calls, it may even be the final nail in the coffin for home landlines as 4G data dongles will connect our homes to high speed Internet much like our broadband connections ‘try’ to do. Hopefully download limits won’t stifle our transcendence to a new generation.
In the UK 4G is not yet available. Many experts believe this is because the major mobile phone companies do not want to be rushed into a bidding war like they did with 3G (which as mentioned previously, cost them a huge sum of money). The spectrum that will be used is the same spectrum used to transmit analogue TV, which will finally be shut off this year in the last remaining pockets of the country, a fitting rebirth for the carrier of ‘1G’ television. OFCOM will then auction this off making billions for the government which will no doubt be put towards the NHS or cutting taxes… you can only dream!
3, Orange and T-Mobile have all announced plans for a release some time this year. One important point, that fancy new 4G iPad you just bought won’t work on whatever 4G the UK implements due to differing spectrums. Hopefully Apple will bring out a UK compliant one once the 4G picture is painted in the UK. It will however still work on the older 2G and 3G networks.
So what about 5G? This has yet to be standardised but the main feature expected will be the ability to connect to many different wireless access technologies such as 2G, 2.5G 3G, 4G, 5G all at the same time. At the moment you can only connect to one which may be a huge annoyance to many especially when you are in a poor 3G area but would be able to get a good 2G signal to make a phone call, your phone automatically connects to the poor 3G signal giving you a phone call with poor audio quality and a high chance of dropping. With 5G you would be connected to both meaning you’d have a decent phone call! Another expected feature that stands out is wearable devices with AI capabilities; not quite sure what this entails but it sounds pretty amazing, maybe it is to do with augmented reality; I may go into this another time. But at the moment this is all hearsay.