There are many ways in which 4G, the new network standard for mobile phones, will be able to benefit your business. 4G is the next generation of Internet use for phones, and promises to be significantly faster and more stable than existing 3G connections. It’s worth reviewing, then, what we can expect from 4G, when networks will be available (and at what cost), and how using the network could be a great investment for businesses of different sizes, with small businesses particularly expected to get a lot out of the technology.
What is 4G?
4G is the upgraded standard from 3G wireless networks for mobile phones. Previous 1G and 2G generations were distinguished by movements from analogue to digital connections, with 3G taking phones into data transfers and online access. 3G offered, at its best, Internet speeds of about 5Mbps to 20Mbps, although many users would have experienced a lot of variety on that. Anyone with 3G who has to travel will have seen their speed and connectivity change depending on where they are in the country. 4G will improve this by enhancing the existing cellular network through Long Term Evolution technology, and by multiplexing existing signals. The expected speeds for 4G are likely to be anywhere from 30Mbps up to 100Mbps for download rates, making it a major step up from what we’ve been used to from 3G.
Users of 4G will receive faster downloads and uploads, as well as a more secure connection. This means that more data can be transferred and stored, while HD videos and high quality music can be streamed and downloaded. For businesses, it’ll be easier to maintain connections and make calls on the go, while voice calls over Skype will become much more stable, making it easier to save money on international business calls. VoIP protocols for 4G over 3G similarly mean that any voice calls should be a lot safer.
Faster video streaming speeds also mean s there are a lot more marketing opportunities especially when it comes to videos. More and more companies are using viral ads as a way to get millions of potential customers to view their brand and this becomes easier with 4G as it allows more people to view, share and comment on videos on the move. 4G also allows for companies to ensure that more people see their latest news and updates, whether it be on Twitter, Facebook or on their own website – higher connection speed and reliability results in more views and more business.
The higher data rates associated with 4G should also mean that businesses can share more information via the cloud, or transfer larger files. The current leader in 4G for the UK is the T Mobile and Orange partnership Everything Everywhere (EE), whose first network launched on October 30th. High data limits of 128GB are available, with businesses paying a starting price for a 4G connection of around £3 a month. The speed of 4G could mean that businesses with a dongle and Wi-Fi can use the network as a faster alternative for network slowdowns or power outages. Workers on the go and travelling abroad will also be able to access the Internet faster and communicate more efficiently.
Rural and small businesses that have been limited in terms of online access could particularly benefit, as will anyone who is self employed and travelling around the country. Remote working will become easier, as will maintaining contact with clients on the go. Recent 4G trials in Cumbria resulted in a stable 20 Mbps mobile connection for businesses, and this speed is set to increase.
When Can We Expect It?
EE’s 4G network was launched on October 30th 2012, but will only be available in large UK cities like Manchester, London, Bristol, and Edinburgh. Other networks and providers will follow in early 2013, with delays having been caused by disputes over access to a radio spectrum. Businesses investing in 4G connections will also have to factor in having to upgrade to handsets with 4G compatibility - phones currently include the new iPhone 5, the Nokia Lumia 920, and the Samsung Galaxy SIII. Battery life will also be affected by the amount of energy needed to run the network. Businesses should do well to wait to see how the network runs from November, and whether competitive prices will emerge from other providers in the New Year.
About the Author: Liam Ohm writes about the latest updates in the technology industry. He highly recommends you keep on top of your ever-changing electrical goods by using pressmaster crimp tools that allow you to repair the latest gadgets.