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The need for speed

Source: Phoenix UX, 19 November 2012

When I look back down the route of mobile phones and where we are today| it has taken great strides in revolutionizing what we do ‘on the go’. To think not long ago, we only used our mobile phones to call or send text messages and play basic games which was the ‘norm'.

Now with the ever-growing amount of Internet related activities that can be performed on smartphones, the current network infrastructure can't keep up with our demands of 'speed' and volume. Customers are engaging in online activities on their phones more, such as updating their Twitter/Facebook account, downloading music, watching videos etc. Customers obviously notice when their connection is slow or is lagging.

More than 40 countries have rolled out 4G, such as USA, Russia, Japan who have had 4G for a while now, even the smaller countries such as Angola, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania have 4G, Sweden had rolled out 4G over 4 years ago

With the arrival of 4G in the UK this should be reduced. I had wondered what took the UK so long to get 4G and keep up to date with other countries that are already reaping the benefits of faster mobile networks. I did some research into this and it seems as if the mobile operators were the cause of the delay not Ofcom or the government.

There was a long dispute ranging back to 2006 between T-mobile and O2, later on Vodafone, EE, and BT threatened to sue at different times as they thought the auction was unfair to their rivals.

Mobile network providers T-Mobile and Orange have joined forces and will be the first to release 4G on their network known as EE (Everything Everywhere). My question is what about the other UK carriers like O2 and Vodafone, when will they get 4G? Will customers move over to EE because 4G is already here or wait until their providers have it? Customers who do not have a 4G ready phone could find it expensive to not only purchase the phone but the price plans they can expect on EE for the current phones which are 4G ready.

I was reading an article about O2 and Vodafone reactions that EE was granted permission and they were 'angry' and were threatening to launch legal actions claiming the permission to use this spectrum for 4G services was improper and that Everything Everywhere was being given an unfair advantage.

I can understand their frustration as I have had discussions with family and friends and the majority whose mobile phone contracts are coming to an end or are on a sim only plan are all saying that they will switch to EE simply because 4G is ready and those who are on contracts feel they will 'fall behind' with their current providers.

EE has indicated that their plans are to get this new service out to 16 different UK cities by the end of the year and 98% of the UK by 2014, where does this leave the other providers as EE has a major head start? This could lead to many customers leaving their current providers and moving to EE because of the uncertainty of when 4G will eventually be coming on all providers but the  question is will you wait until your provider has it or will you move?

What will 4G do for us?

The 4th Generation of cellular communication will be upwards of 10 times quicker than the current 3G networks speeds which will mean more faster and reliable mobile connectivity. Therefore you will be able to watch TV, video call, shop online, and access social media, entertainment and information on the go more easily. Additionally, customers will be able to get the most from mobile devices and apps that deliver best performances on 4G networks.

Businesses who require connectivity will also benefit from a faster and more reliable data service when sending/receiving emails and opening/downloading attachments thus improving efficiency and productivity.
With the introduction of the 4G service on the 30th October, experts believe 4G will play a large part in stimulating customers by creating a 21st Century digital infrastructure to serve them, and also boost businesses and t he economy for the future.

We believe 4G is the next step in the evolution of mobile network technology and I personally believe we will be enjoying speeds on our smartphones that will make Virgin's cable speed look slow!