The time of 4G is now upon us in Britain, and while in the meantime it’s only confined to those on mobile phone network EE, such news will undoubtedly have British tech consumers beaming with joy. Or will it? Is this early demonstration of 4G by EE worth all the hype or will consumers be more intelligent to wait for some of the bigger and better known mobile phone companies to market 4G networks? All will be answered here.
Money makes the world go round and so we’ll start with price. Unfortunately, things aren’t so good on this front and EE certainly don’t seem to be showing us consumers any mercy in this recession. The cheapest tariff is £36 per month and this comes with a shocking 500MB data cap!
With such fast data consumption it doesn’t take a genius to work out that EE’s 500MB data cap is ridiculously low. Even their £41 per month 1GB limit isn’t enough for consumers.
The first 4G release in Britain was never going to be cheap however and so we can cut EE a tiny bit of slack for their high prices and tough data cap. As long as the performance of 4G is incredible, I’m sure they’ll be forgiven, for the time being.
If money makes the world go round then speed is what makes the tech world spin. Running on an average of 21Mbits/sec for downloads and just over 10Mbit/sec for uploads (according to the Speedtest.net app) the pace of 4G is very impressive. In fact, many throughout Britain would contest that such speeds are faster than their home broadband.
Furthermore, in a world where network providers constantly lie and exaggerate the speed of their internet speeds, EE’s actual speeds actually outstrip the 8-10Mbits/sec advertised by the company.
In essence 4G is good enough to replace your home broadband connection; at least when it comes to general web browsing, with the majority of web pages loading quickly, regardless of how complex they are.
Large content including Android apps can be downloaded on the road in seconds, which is brilliant, considering we’d usually have to wait till we’re in range of Wi-Fi to reach such speeds.
Streaming large HD videos on the road isn’t as sweet however, and while initially you may receive a smooth feed with no buffering, you may be booted out by the service every now and again due to a lack of bandwidth.
The biggest problem with 4G at the moment is the one we all expected: a lack of coverage. With so few places one can actively connect to the 4G, there is little point of having the service. This is certainly how it felt for me, while roaming around on my 4G HTC One XL LTE.
While cruising throughout London, there were a lot of instances in which I received no or terribly insufficient network coverage.
An EE coverage map is available on their website, however I found that the so-called ‘moderate’ connection areas were in fact unreliable.
The data cap and high price of the service is annoying; as is the patchy coverage. However, once our own infrastructure develops to support 4G and more companies market the service to bring prices down considerably, 4G will be everything we imagined it to be.