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Difference between 3G & 4G

We’re sure you’re familiar with the terms 3G and 4G – and you probably use the technology on a daily basis. But do you know what 3G is? Or what 4G is? And what’s the difference between the two?

The main difference between 3G and 4G is speed – but before we can understand what makes the 4G network so much faster, we first need to be clear on what 3G and 4G are.

The “G” in both of these terms stands for “generation”. The very first version of wireless mobile technology was 1G, which used an analogue network. This was followed in the early 1990s by 2G, or second generation technology, which allowed for the introduction of now-standard mobile features such as SMS text messages.

3G versus 4G

The introduction of 3G, or third generation mobile technology, revolutionised the world of technology by making smartphones feasible. The UK’s first 3G network launched in 2003 and suddenly, everyone had a high speed data service in their pockets, allowing for easy access to emails and the Internet.

So what is 4G, then, and how is it different? Both 3G and 4G are technologies that allow you to access the web on your phone, without the use of Wi-Fi – but 4G is faster. How much faster varies between mobile providers, and is dependent on your area, but 4G speed is usually around 5 times quicker than 3G. Download speeds are usually around 5-7 times faster than making those same downloads on 3G would be.

Benefits of 4G

What does that mean, in terms of how you use your phone on an everyday basis? It means you can load up web pages on your phone almost immediately, and download songs in seconds. It also means you can stream videos without buffering, sharing photographs on social networks is instantaneous, and if you’re lost in the urban jungle, you’ll be able to load up maps right away.

What are the main benefits of 4G?

  • Super-fast download times.
  • 4G is perfect for more demanding services, such as streaming videos and playing games, which require more capacity and faster speeds.
  • More privacy and security than connecting to the Internet through Wi-Fi
  • New possibilities for conducting business – with 4G, your smartphone acts like your mobile office.
  • It won’t cost you any extra to get 4G with Tesco Mobile – most new phones are 4G-ready, including the iPhone 6s and Samsung Galaxy S7.

4G Coverage

What about coverage? Well, 4G is already available across most of the UK, and our network partner O2 is working hard to roll it out over the rest of the country. You can easily find out if it’s available in your area with our 4G coverage map – just pop in your postcode or town.

As 4G networks currently cover a smaller area than 3G, your phone will simply revert back to using 3G if you’re not in range – and because 3G is speedy enough for all the things you normally do on your phone, such as browsing the news and checking Twitter, you get the best of both worlds. Lucky you!