What are the differences between 3G, 4G, and LTE?
When buying a new smartphone, there are many different variables that will affect your choice; What brand, what color, memory size and most importantly, data network type. If you have seen a commercial for a smartphone in the past several years, surely you have heard the terms 3G, 4G, and LTE. Most cell phone companies will advertise having “the fastest 3G/4G/LTE network.” yet many people do not know what these terms actually mean. We will try to help clear that up!
What is 3G?
3G refers to the third generation of network technology and is the oldest of the three networks. All major cellular providers offer 3G coverage across most of the United States. There are two different types of 3G technology: CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global System for Mobiles.) Certain carriers use the GSM technology and other carriers use CDMA technology. These technologies do not work together, so you will usually have to use a carrier’s phone on their specific network. More Explained here.
What are 4G and LTE?
4G refers to fourth generation technology that came after 3G. 4G is broken up into two different categories: 4G, also known as High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA), and 4G LTE, also known as Long Term Evolution. 4G is much faster than 3G but is not as fast as 4G LTE. 4G LTE is up to 10 times faster than 3G. This means that surfing the web, downloading videos and songs over your cellular network will be a breeze. 4G LTE is usually used when you are trying to transfer data to and from a cell tower, but it is also used for Voice Over LTE, commonly known as VOLTE.
4G LTE is a newer technology so providers are still building their networks so their coverage may not include the whole country.
When should you get a 3G or 4G LTE phone?
The first thing to remember when purchasing a phone is whether you are going to use your phone mainly for voice calls with no data use, or to surf the web and download music and videos. If your main focus is voice calls then a 3G enabled phone will serve that purpose well. You will also save battery life by not streaming 4G data. On the other hand, if you are wanting to use your phone to stay connected online with friends on social media, browse videos on Youtube or upload pictures to Instagram, you will need a 4G LTE enabled smartphone.
What does the future hold?
If 4G LTE speeds are simply not fast enough to fit your needs, you may soon have an opportunity to utilize the fastest speeds ever seen on a cellular network. Cellphone carriers are now diving into developing the fifth generation of cellular technology known as 5G. To learn more about 5G and the benefits from this lightning-fast data service, click here.