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What Is 4G

What Is 4G

4G mobile broadband Internet at its fastest…

With all next-gen smartphones promising hi-speed mobile connectivity via new 4G networks, anyone would believe that your not so old 3G phone is nearing the end of its lifespan. This is in essence very true, and while it may take a few years for that happen, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with 4G’s coverage and data plans, as it’s very likely that your next handset will connect using this technology, if it doesn’t do so already.

4G Network Speeds

The true speed of 4G varies between networks. The official specification from Europe’s International Telecommunication Union states only that 4G is a network capable of downloading speeds of 100 megabits per second. However at the end of last year the union decided that WiMAX, LTE and HSPA should all be classified as 4G, even though not all currently provide speeds of 100 Mbps.

There are several 4G providers in the U.S. including:

  • Sprint – WiMAX
  • T-Mobile – HSPA+
  • Verizon – LTE
  • MetroPCS – LTE
  • AT&T – LTE
popular 4g smartphones

4G Smartphones

3G vs 4G Comparison

Here’s a quick look at the differing speeds between 3 and 4G networks.

3G EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized). Works on CDMA and TDMA networks. Carriers; Sprint, Verizon. Max data speeds of up to 3.1 Mbps.

3G UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication System) and HSDPA (High-Speed Download Packet Access). GSM-based networks all over the world. Carriers; AT&T, T-Mobile. Max data speeds of 14.4 Mbps.

4G HSPA+. T-Moble’s version of 4G. Available on select T-Mobile prepaid phones and in 100 cites across U.S. Max data speeds of up to 42-Mbps.

4G WiMAX. Available in 71 cites across U.S.. Carriers; Sprint, Nextel. Mac data speeds of 128 Mbps down-link and 56 Mbps up-link.

4G LTE (Long Term Evolution). Carriers; MetroPCS (in nine markets), Verizon (40 cities), AT&T. Sprint also announced that it plans to roll out 4G LTE in the near future. Max data speeds of 100 Mbps in the down-link mode and 50 Mbps for up-links.

4G networks are improving all the time both in data speeds and coverage. If you’re not located in place supporting 4G networks contact your current carrier and ask when they plan to roll it out, if the answer isn’t any time in the near future, contact other carriers an ask when they aim to provide your area with 4G.

Popular 4G Smartphones

  • iPhone 4S
  • Motorola Droid Bionic (Verizon Wireless)
  • HTC Thunderbolt (Verizon Wireless)
  • Samsung Droid Charge (Verizon Wireless)
  • Motorola Photon (Sprint)
  • HTC EVO 4G (Sprint)
  • Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint)
  • T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide
  • Samsung Galaxy S 4G (T-Mobile)
  • Samsung Infuse 4G SGH-I997 (AT&T)
  • Samsung Galaxy S II (Unlocked)

Related Posts:


  1. Kent german: Comparing 4G coverage. Cnet, 09/12/2010.
  2. Gary Krakow: How Fast Are 4G Phones, Really? The Street , 12/31/2010.
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