back to article Everything Everywhere's 4G: Why I'm sitting this one out

According to phone network Everything Everywhere, super-fast mobile broadband 4G is "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam". Some members of the Her Majesty's finest press corps agree. "A customer buying a new mobile phone tomorrow would be hard pressed not to find a reason to join the …

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  1. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam".

    Yes, I remember the improvement when planes went from steam to jet engines..............ah..............hang on........

    Ok then, what about when trains went from steam to.............oh..............not that one either.

    So it's the communications equivalent of something that didn't happen then?

    1. wibble001

      Re: "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam".

      That's exactly what I thought when I read that statement too. Have an upvote sir!

    2. squilookle

      Re: "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam".

      Upvote from me as well, sir.

      However, the thought occurs that if you did fit a train with a jet engine, it would probably come flying off the tracks at the first bend. Perhaps this is a suitable analogy for all the problems pointed out by the author.

    3. Andy Howarth

      Re: "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam".

      Sorry to be a pendant but there was one train that used a jet engine. The prototype of the Advanced Passenger Train was powered by a gas turbine. It was a feat of British engineering that tilted round corners 20+ years before the Penadildos entered service but it had enough teething problems that BR scrapped it and stuck with the HST instead.

      Not exactly the staggering mythical success that EE have in mind I think.

      They may of course be thinking warships in which steam has been replaced by gas turbines but again not exactly a commercial success.

      1. Shaun 1

        Re: "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam".

        Andy,

        Sorry to be a pedant, but I think you mean "pedant".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Jet powered locomotives

          A gas turbine is similar to a jet, but there are locomotives that use actual jet engines.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbojet_train

        2. Lallabalalla
          Devil

          Re: "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam".

          Shaun 1

          You fell for it..

      2. keithpeter
        Windows

        Re: "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam".

        Hydrofoil boats were quite popular as ferries for a while, and some are still in service. More expensive to run than your standard waddling diesel tub, so many phased out.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam".

      > So it's the communications equivalent of something that didn't happen then?

      There were such things as steam planes and jet locomotives.

      The comparison is still isn't goof though; both of these technologies were superseded by cheaper, better and more reliable versions....

    5. Steve Evans

      Re: "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam".

      Don't forget that a long haul train journey in the days of steam was generally faster than it is today!

    6. Peter 48

      Re: "the communications equivalent of the change the jet engine made over steam".

      how about this one: http://illianaroad.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/jet-powered-locomotive.jpg

  2. Piro
    FAIL

    Jumping the gun

    Make sure HSDPA coverage is 100% and I'll be impressed. I'm fine with that speed as it is, I don't need faux-4G draining my battery and useful only in a city where I have good HSDPA signal anyway..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jumping the gun

      Didn't you get the memo? The ITU gave in. LTE is considered 4G now.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It'd be nice if 2.5g and 3g worked reliably

    I've been commuting back and forth between along the waterloo - wimbledon line for the past 6 years. There's many points along the journey where I can't get internet access. I'm on T-Mobile. It'd be nice if they got @%$ing 3g working before screwing around with 4g.

    1. HMB

      Re: It'd be nice if 2.5g and 3g worked reliably

      Who is going to invest more in 3G now that 4G is in town?

      "It takes me 3 days to cross the Atlantic by boat, I hope they manage to do something to improve that before they start spending all that money on aeroplanes."

      It would be more sensible to hope that 4G gets better coverage than 3G got.

      Personally I stream Spotify over Three's 3G network while I'm driving along the motorways and I rarely get a blackout.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: It'd be nice if 2.5g and 3g worked reliably

        Lucky you,

        3G on Orange has been pants the previous two phones I've had on contract to use these useless flashy stuff. Have strong 3G signals and yet still feels like 56k.

        1. chr0m4t1c

          @Captain Scarlet

          It seems to be Orange's back-haul that's the problem.

          My personal phone is on Orange & my work phone is on O2, but as both handsets are unlocked I can test each network with each handset, so I've just done that (again).

          O2 gives ~120ms ping, ~4.5Mbps download and ~1Mbps upload with Speedtest on both handsets.

          Orange gives ~90ms ping, ~2.2Mbps download and ~0.3Mbps upload on both handsets.

          So, essentially, no significant difference due to handset, but the "biggest" network is by far the slowest. I've tried these test elsewhere in the country (I travel a lot) and the results are almost in the same vein; Orange is usually half the bandwidth of O2, but has lower latency. I've never had any trouble with connectivity or maintaining a connection, so I'm leaning towards the front end kit being good enough and there being insufficient bandwidth at the back end, but I have no evidence to support that theory.

    2. Jody

      Re: It'd be nice if 2.5g and 3g worked reliably

      Completely agree. My network (Three) also has lots of dead patches on the main rail line into Waterloo and not just in rural stretches - well into the metropolis too. Surely they should have nailed down coverage on those main trunk routes carrying hundreds of thousands of people every day?

    3. Alex C

      Re: It'd be nice if 2.5g and 3g worked reliably

      I'm with you there and (while not taking the quite same train) I notice the same phenomenon - mostly between Barnes and Chiswick. I have to say it improved greatly when I moved away from Vodafone to Giffgaff but there are still patches of mobile blackspot there too.

    4. CCCP
      Unhappy

      Re: It'd be nice if 2.5g and 3g worked reliably

      @AC 12:10

      That line sucks and it gets worse further out. I head towards Guildford and there's a patch of 3G at Woking, but mostly nothing the rest of the time. Zilch, nada. Not even 2G.

      This must be one of the most mobile device dense train lines in the country. You can't move for iPads and smart phones. It's the bleeding stockbroker belt ffs. Sort it out Vodafone.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It'd be nice if 2.5g and 3g worked reliably

      I get the the same train (Waterloo and Wimbledon). O2 is exactly the same..

  4. Captain Underpants

    I agree with the sentiment of your argument overall, because by default I don't like paying to be a betatester early adopter. The argument's not limited to 4G, though, it's the starting point for any non-trivial tech change.

    Of course, if the next iPhone (or some other suitably shiny bauble) happens to introduce 4G support as it's defined around here, then you may well have a whole punch of people who love to splash cash to be early adopters. Will be interesting to see if EE have set up a deal with Apple along these lines.

    Personally, my reasoning for not going for it have more to do with wanting nowt to do with either t-mobile or Orange, both of whom have been sufficiently crap at customer service to make them unappealing regardless of amazing technical stuff on offer...

    1. HMB

      Crap Customer Service

      Isn't this standard in the UK?

      Sorry, I know it sounds very stereotypical to bitch about such a thing, but I've heard bad stories from every mobile provider.

      1. toadwarrior

        Re: Crap Customer Service

        I don't think any of them can claim to have great service but Orange has consistently been the worst by far for me. I've left the country supposedly with roaming on (got confirmation) only to land in the country with nothing. I call them and they're all like "you didn't enable it" and the second time it happened they obviously reenabled it while I was out of the country because as I landed in London I get another confirmation text.

        While trying to leave them, they fucked up the whole process leaving me have to join up again for a month and just generally anything I've asked for, they don't do and they won't confirm anything via email obviously to reduce the chances of being caught out.

        I despise them and I'm not happy tmobile merged with them. So far tmobile hasn't got worse but I'm not sure if I should stay or not. So my next phone I'll probably buy outright since I'm out of contract so I can leave asap if needed.

  5. bofh80
    Thumb Up

    part 2

    nice work.

    which phones work atm?

    when will tmobile / orange EE actually be selling 4g, still nothing on their website

    how will this affect three, who have boldy gone into the 'unlimited' but not 'tethered'(£5 add on) data arena.

    From literally £10 a month, (100 mins, some texts) you get unlimited internet. Which is good.

    note i'm on voda, have been for years, and am about to switch to three.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: part 2

      I did switch, was worth it, apart from the bad coverage in the countryside

    2. Test Man
      Stop

      Re: part 2

      T-Mobile and Orange will not be selling 4G services. EE (Everything Everywhere's third subsidiary/brand) will.

      Go to ee.co.uk for more info.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    goodbye home broadband

    If LTE from EE is available at a cost anything like on a par with the One Plan from Three then getting an account is a total no brainer for anyone who lives by themselves and uses the internet a lot. (like me). If it's competitive on cost and doesn't have a horrible bandwidth cap then it's bye bye ADSL for me (and hello shiny new phone) .

    This said if the situation in the USA is anything to go by I might be hoping against hope here. I saw that the LTE Kindle FIre is going to be available with a package providing 250 mb a month of data. I use my current Android phone as a wifi hotspot on Three and I can get through 3x that in a day.

    Put simply, if LTE is available without big bandwidth caps then I'll be standing outside my local EE shop begging them to take my money, if not I'm going to stick with 3.

  7. Bristol Dave
    FAIL

    Do you really really need that extra speed?

    With the ridiculously paltry data allowances that mobile networks currently offer?

    No.

  8. Sean Foreman
    Unhappy

    don't forget data caps..

    until the networks drop the extortionate charges for data and caps there's absolutely no point in the phone that will simply chew up your allowance 10x quicker..

    1. D@v3
      WTF?

      Re: don't forget data caps..

      I have a bit of an issue with this argument of "will simply chew up your allowance 10x quicker.." surely, it's not going to start downloading data quicker than you can use it.

      Unless the argument is that with higher speeds, people will become reckless and go, "ooh, I now get 100mb downloads, so im going to stream myself some HD film of netflix, crap, i've hit my cap"

      If i found that my speeds suddenly doubled, it wouldn't mean I'm going to start using twice as much data, only that what i do use, will be served up in a timely manner, such as less waiting for emails to download, or web pages to open. I'll still be doing the same amount of consuming as I do now, just less slowly.

      1. Andrew Jones 2
        Facepalm

        Re: don't forget data caps..

        TL;DR - As access speeds increase, data consumption increases.

        Actually - it does mean exactly that - it's a proven fact that as speeds increase - people consume more.

        Unless you are claiming that you use the internet in EXACTLY the same way on broadband as you did when you had dial-up... then your usage probably increased as the speeds increased.

        EG - you are more likely to download (legal) content like music or watch streaming video services - when they are quick enough that it doesn't buffer every 30 seconds. You are also far more likely to utilise cloud services when they operate at speeds fast enough that there is no distinction between the latency of accessing off device storage as opposed to on device storage.

        In short - new services are created as speeds increase, people use the new services because the speed at which they can access them has increased. BBC iPlayer is a prime example of this - people use it because the speed their internet runs at allows it - however people with poor broadband speeds - do not use it. I have set up broadband connections for many of my friends - and they always say the same thing - "I only want it to do emails and do home shopping, 10GB will be more than enough for me" then within a month - they discover Skype and BBC iPlayer, a 1 hour episode of Planet Earth uses an extraordinary amount of bandwidth. Even having Facebook open for an hour uses much more data than people actually realise.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: D@v3

        You forget, most streaming services detect your connection speed, and set the SD/HD content as required. Plus, who is going to stream HD video on a 2.5G connection? Who is with a 4G connection? Don't blame the customer for USING THE PRODUCT AS ADVERTISED!

  9. dotdavid
    Meh

    Main Reason

    EE is a monopoly. When there are a couple of competing 4G suppliers not charging the early-adopter's tax, then I'll have a look at it.

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Re: Main Reason

      That'll be some time around 2020 if the pattern of 3G deployment & pricing is anything to go by.

  10. EvilGav 1
    Holmes

    It's even simpler than that.

    I live and work in central Edinburgh, yet I cannot guarantee a 3G signal everywhere I am in the city, in some places I cant even get the HSDPA (?) signal, so why jump to a new standard that's going to have even less coverage and contain more problems than what we currently (don't) have??

    I guess this is still a knock-on from the astronomical sums the mobile tel-cos paid for the 3G licences and haven't been able to recoup the money on.

  11. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Yup

    This'll make steam powered aeroplanes obsolete, no question.

  12. NXM

    NXM

    You've missed something.

    I'm in a rural 4G test area. Here, we get 2MHz broadband on a good day, and some people I know get nothing at all - even dial-up doesn't work very well. 4G offers us a fast connection over the air without all that faff with fibres and stuff, which we're never going to get out here anyway because we're miles from the exchange and there's no compulsion on the fixed line providers to put those fibres in.

    The situation is completely different to that in a city because a 4G provider, any 4G provider, is a much better prospect than nothing at all because we're not particularly going to use it as a mobile service, rather as a replacement for non-existant fixed line service.

    Another thing you've missed is that the likes of BT could have, if they wanted, put in fibre to everyone a long time ago rather than waiting for 4G licenses. But they choose not to invest that kind of money.

    1. Tim Walker
      Unhappy

      It's not just rural areas

      I've had a bellyache on here before (indulge me), about the fact we live in a new estate on the edge of a supposedly high-tech town in southern England, a mile down the road from a fibred-up exchange, but we can barely get 2Mbps broadband because the cables to the houses are copper (or overcooked noodles, or wet string, or take your pick).

      Perhaps I should get onto BT and give them a (polite) earful about when they're going to get around to upgrading our street. Otherwise, if Virgin Media (or even one of the wireless telcos) provides >2Mbps connectivity to our street before BT "get their fingers out", I'd be looking at leaving Marcus Brigstocke's least-beloved telephone service provider...

  13. Stuart Elliott
    Flame

    Cry more

    Wah wah wah, my city isn't getting 4G, therefore it's crap..

    Cry me a river ffs.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why were EE allowed to get a head start on 4G?

    It seems very dodgy that their competitors aren't allowed to compete yet.

    Anyway, as I only live in the 19th biggest UK city and have a 3G phone which is perfectly fit for purpose, it'll be a lonnnnnnng time before I use 4G.

    1. HMB

      Re: Why were EE allowed to get a head start on 4G?

      Because Ofcom kept trying to arrange auctions, then the mobile companies who weren't getting what they wanted kept threatening to take Ofcom to court. This caused Ofcom to keep running off and crying until finally the government sat up (after realising the UK was quickly becoming last in the race) and told Ofcom to stop being such a pussy and give EE the ok to use it's existing spectrrum.

      The network operators have no one to blame but themselves. I have no sympathy at all.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why were EE allowed to get a head start on 4G?

      Because EE got a licence variation on their existing 1800MHz spectrum - and as someone said the constant auction delays by all networks is to blame too. It's ridiculous that just about every other European country is already doing LTE or has well advanced plans, and we're still bickering.

      I especially like O2's stance.

      They got their own market-distorting licence variation, in the form of being allowed to do 3G on 900MHz (so all those £billion pound 3G licences are quite devalued).

      They then complain because someone got their own market-distorting licence variation that was better.

      Now, if you read elsewhere, O2 is trying to do all it can to push the auction forward. You can't make it up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why were EE (ILLEGALLY) allowed to get a head start on 4G?

        Firstly EE also got the same allowance to do 3G on their 1800MHz spectrum, so that blows away your argument about it being market distorting.

        Secondly when TMUK and OUK applied to become EE, the European Commission agreed with one proviso: That they sell 15MHz of 1800 Spectrum - to 3 as it now turns out - <<specifically to avoid consumers being ripped off by a monopoly>>. THAT is why the other operators cried foul.

        ""..... the OFT was concerned about the concentration of spectrum on the 1800MHz band that the parties will jointly hold after the creation of the JV. This could affect the future offering of services over the new, fourth generation (4G)........ the JV might result in just one mobile network operator offering this type of services in the UK, thereby resulting in a significant impediment to effective competition in mobile broadband and higher prices for consumers.

        ..

        In order to remove the possible concern as regards the spectrum holding of the JV following the proposed transaction in the UK market, France Télécom and Deutsche Telekom committed to divest, either by way of a private sale or in the OFCOM auction (see paragraph 115 above), 2x15 MHz of the JV’s 1800 MHz spectrum band (the "Divestment Spectrum"). ""

        http://ec.europa.eu/competition/mergers/cases/decisions/M5650_20100301_20212_247214_EN.pdf

  15. Dave's Jubblies
    WTF?

    it's snowing in hell...

    It must be chilly there, cos I'm agreeing with Orlowski...

    I've wondered for a while now just WHY we need higher speeds on a PHONE than a decent 3g HSPDA connection can provide, heck, even a half decent one!

    I'd rather my phone could last a proper, full day of heavy use, with out worrying whether it'll get me home, than have it provide 15mbps downloads that'll save me 3/4 of a second ....

    1. Brian Morrison
      Boffin

      Re: it's snowing in hell...

      Well actually it's like the reason to try to move from WiFi to UltraWideBand, by increasing the speed by a factor of (at the time) 10, the power consumption would be about 1.5 times higher and so a given amount of data could be transferred using much less power per bit.

      The problem with phones is that the data needs to do something useful, and running the processor(s) at high speed and keeping the display lit up are the reasons that the batteries run out so soon, the radio parts are not using that much more when active it's just that our human need to keep looking at them makes the utilisation higher and you're into battery death spiral territory.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: it's snowing in hell...

      I do agree with Orlowski too, but still somebody has to be first, and even if that was not true, somebody tend to be first. Also is this 4g all about cell phones or could it be something good for a laptop with a dongle. Not living in the UK, so just asking.

  16. Lusty Silver badge

    Speed?

    I thought 4g was initially just a protocol change and wasn't in fact going to deliver more speed until more bandwidth is available?

    Either way though, most of the slowness is latency and that will never be fixed. For most normal users there is minimal difference in the experience between 3g and GPRS unless they watch a video.

    1. HMB

      Re: Speed?

      Have you never tried loading a webpage on GPRS ever? You can't have, you simply can't have. It's almost not worth trying.

      The latency comment just shows how little you know about LTE, which has been designed from the ground up to give the lowest latency they could reasonably manage. Go to youtube and look up speedtests. Latency is on a par with fixed line.

      1. Lusty Silver badge

        Re: Speed?

        I doubt it given the massive extra distances the signal has to travel. Home broadband doesn't do nearly as much mucking about. And yes, I've used GPRS quite a lot and it's exactly the same for normal web sites. Your problem is that you're mostly looking at YouTube which as I said actually needs more bandwidth.

        1. leexgx

          Re: Speed?

          lol that comment is funny if your using Opera mini set to Low image quality then the page mite load within 10-30 seconds depending on content, on 3g most pages load within good time LTE just offers a lot more speed (100/150mb [mobile/tablet]is most likely going to be the max in the UK until LTE-Adv comes) and Lower latency

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really?

    I own the pro version of Juicedefender, and simply don't install it these days, the power management of my Android 4 device works just fine without it (and it trips fewer things up than JD). I get a couple of days on a charge, with a lot of music and some light browsing etc..

    It certainly used to be handy, in the Android 2.1 era, of course.

  18. skipper
    Thumb Down

    More than that...

    Having LTE / 4G access to EE's network probably isn't going to deliver the amazing speeds anyway. I quite often have a high strength 3G signal, but very slow (or no) internet access, presumadly because of congestion in the Orange/T-Mobile network.

    Having 4G access to a lacking core network is pretty pointless.

    1. BigAndos
      Thumb Up

      Re: More than that...

      I agree! There is only so much capacity on the backend pipes that base stations use to transmit data. For all their noise about rolling out 4G masts, I don't hear anything about upgrading those same pipes. I imagine it will end up like being anywhere in central London - 5 bars 3G and unable to even load a modest mobile-optmisised website!

    2. leexgx

      Re: More than that...

      to many on the local mast can get very poor speeds (tends to be more an issue in events or places where there is lots of users in one spot)

  19. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    More importantly - are we actually getting what we could out of 3G.

    I'm still stuck on a 500Mb / month plan. I'm still waiting to get anywhere near the 28Mbit/s (or even up to 48Mbits) that are capable on deployed, real-world, 3G networks elsewhere.

    Like 100Mb fibre broadband, until I have a need to use it, why would I pay for it? As the IT Manager in my workplace, I have slower broadband at home than most of the staff because although by the numbers it's less, I actually get more done over it due to lower contentions and better use of the bandwidth available (i.e. decent caching and no huge Windows Updates and things checking in all the time) and so even end up with gaming pings that few can rival (and, no, I don't have expensive networking junk at home or "killer" network cards - just a nice, silent, stable network). My downloads are timed, scheduled, managed and thus I actually deliberately let them take longer so that I don't interfere with things that are actually important (e.g. SSH sessions, etc.)

    So when we get this 4G, AND I have coverage in all my usual haunts, AND I upgrade my phone, AND presumably my contract, AND I get unlimited downloads (or some useful figure that can't be measured easily in CD's/month), AND I find a use for it on my phone rather than my home network, AND it's a reasonable price, then maybe I'll look into it.

    Of course, that's not their target market - their target market is people who make a point of telling you "I've got the latest iPad" or whatever. To which my reply is normally "Really? I've could have bought 5 cheap or two decent Android tablets for the same price and still have change."

    Personally, 3G is more than good enough. Hell, I've streamed TV on it and the only reason that wouldn't work is because of artificial bandwidth limits, artificial "QoS" and just plain ignorance on the part of the telcos.

    Don't give me 4G. Let me use Skype without having to fight against you. Let me download things so long as I don't max out the connection all day long. Or sod all that - let me actually have coverage in those places in the UK where you STILL can't get even GSM.

  20. HMB

    Yes, but no, but yes and don't forget rural ADSL

    I'm not keen on 4G LTE being "poo-pooed" as I think we need to embrace this new technology with enthusiasm, but it's hard to argue with a well written and persuasive article like this.

    However I'm going to agree and disagree simultaneously.

    In normal use my phone wont be guzzling loads more data. The data is requests will simply get there faster.

    Where I really crave LTE is for tethering, in that scenario my phone is often on charge anyway. It makes LTE super compelling.

    Sure the technology wont launch at it's best and efficiencies and better coverage will take time, but I've had to wait so long that I AM excited about LTE.

    Also, if you're stuck on a lame ass BT (or BT wholesale) ADSL connection, the prospect of LTE changing the game for you with a dongle or router is quite an exciting one.

  21. dogged

    Well, quite

    Another issue for the Telegraph is that historically, many of its readers live in rural ares which won't get LTE coverage anyway. Hell, a lot of the rural SouthWest doesn't get GSM let alone anything quicker from EE (or Orange/T-Mobile, whichever). You can sometimes scrape a low-speed 2G connection from O2 or Vodafone but anything on EE frequencies is basically reserved for urbanites.

    And personally, there is absolutely no way I'd consider supporting a monopoly operator.

    Note - I do not work for any mobile operator and have not done so since 1996.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, quite

      Very rural Southwestite here.

      I get a reasonable 2G signal from Orange/T-Mobile, and an exemplary 3G signal from 3/T-Mobile/Orange (exemplary as compared to Vodafone and O2 who obviously haven't invested at all).

      Vodafone and O2's 2G coverage is marginally better though.

      There's a long history of Orange usage in the family, dating back to Orange's launch, because it was felt that both Cellnet and Vodafone were a bit pants.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Battery Drain

    That happens when you are actually downloading stuff. (Which just happens to be at high speed). In the meantime, for regular use, no more than the usual drain.

    I think 4G dongles will become very popular now for laptops AND also to replace landline broadband, IF the speeds are achieved (where available). Look forward to that day, when we do not have to pay BT tax just so to get BB at home.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been using 4G on work trips to Asia

    And it's great! Hire an LG Android phone at the airport with unlimited data, wireless tether or USB to laptop. Very fast (most of the time), up to 50Mbits think where I was. Battery lasted half a day or more permanently connected. Of course, its easy enough to plug in when on the customer site (USB connection to laptop works fine to keep phone up to charge- just need to plug laptop in!)

    Total hire cost for two weeks, about £45. Now, not that cheap, but that's the hire cost....

    When it get to that sort of level in the UK - I see no reason NOT to use it.

    1. squilookle

      Re: Been using 4G on work trips to Asia

      "Battery lasted half a day or more permanently connected."

      That really supports the authors argument IMO. Half a day isn't long enough. My current phone gets a day and a half of moderate usage and will see me till after I have left work with heavy usage (i.e. playing spotify all day at work, browsing the internet at lunch and maybe a phone call or two during the day).

      I'll stick with 3G for now.

      1. leexgx

        Re: Been using 4G on work trips to Asia

        2000mha battery is still to small why i am selling my HTC one X and getting the Razor Maxx as i want something that does not resemble an iPlug (plug it in 2-3 times an day to top it up) as the Maxx has close to 2 day use or 1 day if you go mad on it

        LTE Plus small battery (2000 or lower) you be charging it 2-3 times an day, 4g and 3g off same as before you get 1-2 days use out of it on 2g

  24. Dave 15

    will I get a signal?

    Still can't with 3g, in fact, since they abandoned 2g coverage because of the improved 3g system I now get NO mobile phone coverage at home (except for between 3am and 4am in the back spare bedroom) and nothing at all for 80% of my journey home (no real point in having a no mobile phone use law really).

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3g versus 4g comparison

    I find 3g about the same speed as 4g, though the 4g is a bit easier on the legs when slide tackling.

  26. Kris Kirkbride
    Mushroom

    Oh Emm Gee

    HOW fast will Facebook load on 4G?

    That covers the question 98% of the UK would ask.

  27. Steve Button
    FAIL

    stream Spotify over Three's 3G network while I'm driving along the motorways

    Yeah, it's pretty good on *most* of the motorways, although there are still quite a few where you can only get GPRS or nothing at all.

    But on the TRAINS or out in the COUNTRYSIDE, forget it!! Especially inside a building if you live in the country, like I do (yes a building, and in the country) forget about getting any signal at all, unless you have a bandwidth hogging femtocell.

    I guess there's much more money to be made in cities and on the motorways, but I really wish they would sort out filling in the coverage.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    anything, anywhere, as long as it's not BT

    If it's a BT-independent, competitively priced internet access, I'm all for it. Now I pay those ****s (that's you, BT), line rental for the phone line, to carry my internet traffic. I pay those ****s (that's you, BT), for _processing_ the payment for the phone line I don't use, for which purpose they created a... payment processing company, under the BT umbrella. And very recently, those ****s (that's you, BT) have introduced a "low-use fee" for the line rental for those punters who don't use the phone line enough, because they don't want to to pay for their overcharged phone calls.

    And so what that my ISP service itself is great, it's not viable with BT fat ass on top. So I'm dying to be able to say: **** you very much, BT! And yeah, some one's gotta fix them lines, someone's gotta pay for them fixers. All very well, but it pisses me off to pay 14 quid for an internet, and then get a 60 - 70 quid bill from BT on top of that, to carry the traffic for this 14 quid ISP service.

    So why not sky or virgin as an alternative? Well, because

    a) they don't have their cables in my area (happens to be central-ish London, by the way)

    b) they would come with hundreds of channels of shit (aka television).

    That said, realistically, the ee-whatever "generous" offer will lock me up for two years, with a phone I don't need and can't unlock and flog, 'cause I use my mobile to, wait for this, phone calls, not watching a HD movie on a 4 inch screen. They will charge 80 quid per month for this next-generation speed bullshit (with "up to" speed being, in reality, 1/5 of a next-generation), and with a "fair use policy cap" of their "all you can eat" data package of staggering 5 Gb per month. If I'm lucky :(

    Well, we will see, perhaps a dongle will come cheaper than a nokia, just.

  29. El Presidente
    Windows

    First World Problems !

    .... tiny violin

  30. bjr

    4G is great, just get a big battery

    I have a Galaxy Nexus running on Verizon. 4G makes a huge difference in the user experience, browsing the web is joy, it was painful on my old 3G phone. The battery problem is trivially solved as long as you don't buy a phone from an arrogant fruit flavored company that doesn't allow you remove the battery. The battery that the Galaxy Nexus came with was inadequate but there are lots of aftermarket batteries available that do the job. I have a 3800ma battery in my phone that cost me $20. The phone is not as svelte as it was with the 1850ma battery that it came with but I'm not as thin as I was either. The aftermarket batteries for the newer SIII are 4000ma so that's even better.

    1. Chummy
      Thumb Up

      Re: 4G is great, just get a big battery

      Exactly! Please, listen to some of us who actually *have* LTE and use it before you decide it's not worth it. Here are the problems:

      1. Problem: Power draw/battery life. Solution: bigger battery. I have a Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX (yes, Motorola marketing has the CAPS LOCK on) with a 3800mAh battery, and easilly get a day out of it in almost all situations. Only under extremely heavy use have I not made it a day. Make sure you are voting with your money and telling your vendor you're willing to gain a few mm thickness and mg weight for the ability to go a whole day.

      2. Problem: Limited service. Solution: All providers are going to move to LTE, start building out their networks using LTE equipment instead of 3G or earlier. Verizon (in the US) is being very aggressive with their build-out, now that they have a nationwide frequency license. The sooner they can get LTE to cover the nation, the sooner they can switch to LTE voice, turn off their old equipment, and sell that (equipment, spectrum) to someone else. This should also improve battery life, as phones won't have to be on LTE for data and CDMA for voice, so they can turn off the CDMA radio.

      3. Problem: Using up data caps quicker. Solution: None. Unfortunately, the competition isn't there, yet, so you can't pay $20/month and get unlimited 4G service. Hopefully, it will come someday, but I wouldn't hold my breath. If you're lucky enough (like me) to have an "unlimited" plan, make sure to include it in your will. ;-)

      4. Problem: Bottleneck at the tower. Solution: I have a friend who does contract work for Verizon, and he says they require fiber to each tower when putting in LTE, so that data can be fast from the tower. Hopefully your vendor will learn from this and build similarly, but they might try to cut corners.

      Benefits:

      1. Coverage: As one commenter mentioned, rural places that don't have high-speed cables in the ground are much more likely to see high-speed LTE.

      2. Speed: Have you ever *used* LTE?!? I can tether my notebook or my tablet to my phone via WiFi, and Internet access is just as fast as or faster than any I've ever used.

      Yeah, the first few months the service might be spotty. But, it will get better. Don't be scared just because it's only offered in once place today. It is the future, and coverage will expand. The providers do have a financial incentive to do so.

  31. Tom Mason

    4g makes sense for dongles

    4g probably doesn't make much sense for a phone right now, but it might well make loads of sense for a USB dongle or portable wifi hotspot, perhaps even a tablet

  32. Steve Evans

    4G? I barely use 3G!

    My phone is currently set to 2G... In fact that's how it spends 90% of its life.

    If I really need some data I switch it to 3G, then curse the crap signal, hang out of the window, grab the data, and then go back to 2G.

    That's when I don't have access to wifi, which isn't many places to be honest. Home and work are covered and I'm on all my friend's APs. The pub and local high street are all covered by the cloud, and having a BT internet connection at home gives me access to all their wifi points too.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: 4G? I barely use 3G!

      Same here, not to mention, with a 500Mb/month data cap there's added incentive to NOT use any data when away from wireless.

  33. Chris007
    Trollface

    everybody who likes new and shiny move to 4G ASAP please

    That way you'll leave the HSPDA+ bandwidth for the rest of us who know it'll be more than adequate for what we need.

  34. Bob H
    Go

    My boss sited the best reason for 4G after going to Nevada on business earlier this year. He was in a meeting room with a group of colleagues and they needed connectivity, so one of them pulled out a 4G access point, everyone was now able to use high speed internet (meeting productivity probably nosedived).

    Personally I am looking at 4G from a mobile internet perspective rather than a mobile phone service. I already turn off 3G on my phone if I don't need it, my battery life usually doubles as a result. I am debating getting myself a dongle or phone, both seem good for my travelling nature.

  35. Tony Green
    Thumb Up

    The sooner the better

    I only live a few hundred metres from my local exchange, with all its mobile antenna on the roof in line of site from my house. I currently pay BT shitloads of cash every month for a 'phone line that I only need so I can get broadband. So as soon as 4G's available here I'm getting a 4G broadband router and dumping the 'phone line. Reckon the cost of the router will be paid back in six months of not paying BT.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    4G..3G..Edge.....Pah!

    Im with Vodaphone, and only a couple of miles outside a major town (in another town). Never mind 3G, I cant even get edge.

    Fix that crap first.

  37. damonlab

    You finally get 4G and then you complain about it?

    I live in the states and have had a 4G android phone through Verizon Wireless for about a year. It is awesome. I am never going back to a 3G phone again.

  38. Medium Aardvark
    Go

    I'm looking forward to it

    Well, I can get just over 1MB/s ADSL or upto 8MB/s Three 3G right now here on the verges of civilization with the M4 on one side and the main rail line to the west on the other. So "mobile" comms win already.

    EE have planing permission for a new tower just the far side of the railway so Three will be losing a customer when that gets 4G if they don't have it by then. I guess BT infinity might reach here one of these decades but I wouldn't bet on it.

    4G is the only hope if you are even slightly outside a town.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ultimately the situation will be, do you want a porsche or do you just need a ford?

    The more idiotphone users (and lets face it, they are the prime target here) who move to 4G (by purchasing their 6th handset), the better the 3G service will become.

    Very few could justify the need for a very fast connection to a mobile, streaming.downloding whatever.

    (Oh and the whole can't stream on a plane means your not organised enough in your own head to plan ahead. Scarily stupid)

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A customer buying a new mobile phone tomorrow would be hard pressed not to find a reason to join the network"

    -- yes and every reason NOT to join. According to Orange customer support, their rollout of 4G is the very reason why I now have very patchy 2G and 3G coverage and frequent dropped calls.

  41. Nigel R
    WTF?

    can anyone ediucate me on if/why 4g power consumption is symetrical for transmit and receive?

    Its something that been niggle me for a while now. I have started to listen to internet radio in the car using 3, getting more than adequate, nearly dropout free service on my commute through rural low population parts of the South East.

    Now, on a radio set, receiving uses little power as there's no need to transmit at the same time.

    With internet radio and IP traffic, you always need to have a 2 way link going of course. Hence the high power consumption when listening to streams...

    BUT the vast majority of traffic is incoming, not outgoing, packets. Was not 3g designed to be cleverly asymmetric, and only use power in proportion to packets being sent? OK perhaps not.

    But 4g surely HAS been designed this way in the light of experience, and the tremendous advantage that low power consumption can have?

  42. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down

    Sucky coverage

    My parents live in a cul de sac called Iwade near Sittingbourne. Whenever I visit I get no signal if I am downstairs. Even out in the garden. I have to go to the next floor up to get 1 or 2 bars. I complained to Three but it was pretty pointless. They don't plan on fixing coverage for 2G let alone 3G in that area at all. Much like broadband it seems they are only interested in largely populated areas.

  43. Abyss
    IT Angle

    I am going with this 4G and iPhone 5..

    I mostly agree with the article. But I have a But coming in! We are tech lovers on here, and with our wisdom and experience (some of us) we know to air on the side of caution with new tech.

    Lets face it, we love it, we jump on it, and if we don't, (some of us at least) how can we expect this technology to be fuelled if the consumers are too scared to join in?

    I may regret these words, but for now, I am going to jump on this one and get in on the band wagon.

    - I am upgrading from a early 32Gb iPhone 3GS, which I have smashed to bits and repaired several million times my self,,I think I am owed this upgrade, even if it doesn't work so well on 4G, I can still utilise the 3G for now.

  44. Kevin7
    FAIL

    Data limits

    Frankly when you have data limits of 1Gb per month the whole idea of ultra fast mobile broadband is moot.

  45. Chris Collins 1
    Thumb Down

    leics lags again

    surprise surprise leics behind again on rollouts.

    at edge of digital tv coverage

    very late FTTC rollout

    and now lagging behind other cities on 4G, the only upside is I expect 4G to be a massively dissapointing technology like 3G is.

    1. Hyphen
      Trollface

      Re: leics lags again

      Three of the many reasons to not live in Leicester!

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CDMA ?

    I cannot believe that the author of this article would not have known - or even bothered to look up - what the CDMA system is and the few areas where it may still be in use. The original digital mobile system was GSM, developed in France but quickly adopted in Europe and most of the free world. CDMA was developed in the USA and was plagued with problems but continued to be used simply because it was a "home-grown" product. Over the recent years those few companies who did adopt it have been moving to GSM/UMTS networks.

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: CDMA ?

      Not sure why a discussion about battery life of 4G phones merits a dive into CDMA.

      PS. Andrew has written plenty about CDMA.

    2. Beaver6813

      Re: CDMA ?

      " 4G (OFDM) and 3G (CDMA) drains the battery, just as switching between 3G and 2G (GSM) "

      Andrew could have been referring to WCDMA (UMTS/European) or CDMA2000 (American) or just the multiplexing method CDMA. Its pretty ambiguous as he uses the terms interchangeably but in any case, he's still correct.

      I think what's key is that the operators get a grip on when to allow the device to connect to LTE and when its better to keep it on 3G. For example receiving a lot of text messages/calls (at say around once every few minutes) will kill the battery unless the network utilizes an efficient timer (on when the device is next allowed to search for a faster/higher priority technology). Of course that'll be somewhat alleviated when they finally get around to using VOLTE (Voice over LTE) or similar.

  47. Horrgakx

    You HAVE to be kidding.

    Getting an incoming call, outgoing call, txt message or data would be welcome on our saturated network here. They need to concentrate on getting a usable network instead of faster speeds.

  48. The FunkeyGibbon
    FAIL

    Coverage will be the killer for me. 3G is fine for now, I'd rather better coverage of that and better prices on data than a faster tech that I can't get because I don't live in London.

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