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4G mobile communications technology

4G refers to the fourth generation of cell phone mobile telecommunications technology after previous generations like the 3G and 2.5G standards. 4G offers ultra-broadband mobile internet access to other mobile devices like laptops through wireless modems and smartphones. Applications of 4G systems include high-definition mobile television, gaming services, video conferencing and 3D television.

4G systems

Two 4G standard systems are commercially in use: the Long term evolution (LTE) standard and the Mobile WiMAX standard. The Mobile WiMAX standard was first commercially deployed in South Korea in 2006. It offers peak data rates of 128 Mbit per second downlink and 56 Mbit per second uplink over 20 MHz wide band channels.

The Long term evolution (LTE), on the other hand, is currently the leading 4G mobile communication technology and the most powerful, as of 2012. LTE-Advanced, for example, gives 100 Mb per second data rates to mobile users and peak data rates of up to 1 Gbit per second fixed speeds.

It is worth noting that 4G devises made for different continents or countries are not always compatible with 4G networks in other countries. This is because differences in 4G network band frequencies exist in different countries. For example, the new apple iPad uses 4G networks with band frequencies of 700MHz or 2.1GHz, which means it is not compatible with 4G networks in the UK.

4G in the UK

The Mobile WiMAX 4G standard is currently not yet available in Europe, as of 2012. However, the LTE standard is available in UK. On 31 August, 2012 the Orange and T-Mobile telecommunications groups which merged in 2009 to form Everything Everywhere (EE) was given the green light to launch 4G in UK by the UK's Telecom regulator Ofcom. Soon after the go-ahead was given, EE switched on the UK LTE services in several areas in UK on 11 September, 2012.

Ofcom Chief Executive Olaf Swantee projects EE will provide 4G coverage for 20 million people in Britain alone before the end of 2012 and grow on from there. EE is capable of launching 4G across the UK because of its massive 1800 bandwidth spectrum holding. Rival network operators will have to wait for subsequent spectrum auctions to acquire enough bandwidth that allows them to launch their own 4G services.

4G reception

Consumer reception of the 4G technology is anticipated to be good across Europe as the technology is already growing in popularity elsewhere around the world. The popularity of 4G among consumers in places where it has already been deployed is mainly because with it consumers enjoy many times faster data transportation speeds than is offered by 3G networks.

For example, EE is promising UK consumers data transfer speeds five times faster than those offered on 3G networks on a par with home broadband and good Wi-Fi connections. So, if you own a smartphone you can expect to make video calls, watch mobile television and perform other networking functions with greater ease and enjoyment on 4G networks.

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