Technology is developing and changing at an alarming pace. Even keeping up to date with new trends can seem like hard work. It seems like it was yesterday when my father would ban me from using the home phone because he was using the dial-up modem to surf the net (at incredibly slow speeds might I add). Then a few years later I was old enough to use the computer. We would constantly get into arguments because in 2002 we had a 3GB (yes three) download limit, which would almost always last less than half the month. Fast forward to today and everything is connected to the internet – and unbelievably fast speeds and more often than not offering generous download limits.
What is the next step? We’ll Australia are rolling out their NBN, the National Broadband Network which is essentially a fiber optic network running at over 100Mbs a second, compared to the current ADSL2 speeds (24Mbs). That’s over 4 times the speeds achievable currently.
It doesn’t stop there. It wasn’t too long ago that 3G technology was introduced to us. I remember when the first “Video Phones” were introduced alongside the introduction of 3G networks. Tiny LCD screens, poor quality cameras and none of the features we are all used to today. Fast forward a decade and now we’re using 4G networks. But is it worth upgrading to a 4G handset and plan? The truth is many ordinary users don’t really care about speed as long as they can stay connected. They care more about coverage and reliability than the internet speed on their phones.
When 3G was released it promised speeds of up to 3.1Mbps – however it was very rare you would achieve that actual speed. There were many variables which affected the download speed – location, time, handset and plan. However, the main idea behind 3G was in developing and improving the voice transmission capacity on the network. The move between 1G to 2G and finally to 3G saw dramatic improvements. The next leap to 4G is more focused on data download speeds.
This is because there has been a dramatic shift in how people use their mobiles. Mobile phones have evolved in such a way that their initial purpose is no longer considered its main feature. The shift from voice calls to messaging has dramatically changed the telecommunication industry. Many people may find they rarely use their phone for voice calls – and are more often using it to text, browse the internet, use social media or stream content – all of which is strongly focused on data transmission. The average 3G network can reach speeds of 600 Kbps to 1.4Mbps. Compare that to 4G which can peak at over 6Mbps – and you will suddenly see why the upgrade is highly recommended by mobile phone users.
There are many reasons as to why someone should upgrade to 4G – however, if you only use your phone for simple phone calls and text messages – you may want to wait until 5G networks are rolled out.