4G: Everything you need to know


Several monumental things are happening at once right now, with the shift towards ubiquitous data coverage, the Internet of Things and wearable technology all paving the way for a future that has us more connected to each other and our surroundings than ever before.

Right now, 4G appears to be the answer, giving us much faster data speeds and a widespread internet connection that far outstrips the capabilities of 3G.

EE's head start also gives us a reliable picture of where the other three major mobile companies are headed, while also alerting us to some concerns and limitations that may become much bigger issues down the road.

Security is a big one, with the increased vulnerability a sizeable stumbling block for an otherwise attractive option for businesses looking to improve efficiency and productivity. The rising use of phones and tablets for work, cloud storage and remote working have brought about many privacy concerns, and 4G's capacity to add more could provide a significant barrier to its success for enterprise customers.

Pricing is another factor that is consistently evolving to fit with what is out there, what competitors are offering and what customers are willing to pay. Though EE was in the unique position of being able to charge a premium, the increasingly competitive offerings of Vodafone, O2 and Three make this no longer the case.

Speaking about 4G data plans, research analyst at Parks Associates, Jennifer Kent, said: "Deciphering optimal mobile data pricing schemes is an important piece of operators' monetisation efforts, and many are experimenting with their mobile data pricing plans."

The potential for 4G business use is significant, however, and fits in with many other changes in the enterprise and beyond. 4G might have struggled to gain a foothold in the UK as of yet, but it has the next few years to really prove its worth.

This article was originally published in August 2014, and has been updated numerous times and most recently on 9 June 2015.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at caroline.preece@futurenet.com.