If you read my previous post about the 4G/LTE network coming to the UK, you would’ve felt how excited I was about it, and so did apparently many people. You can’t blame us though, the promise of having a superfast connection via our mobile phone for an Internet junky like me is just too much to bear.
This week, that day has came, 4G/LTE is finally here, courtesy of EverythingEverywhere’s 4GEE.
Checkout the video of their launch party on the 2nd of November below where they used the very latest ‘4D’ technology to project a light show onto the entire 8K Square Meter facade of the iconic London Battersea Power Station. The projection showed hundreds of animated light particles, representing the superfast EE network, being created inside the power station. At the same time people from around the UK took part in the event after being invited to send a tweet to the X Factor judge, Nicole Scherzinger’s dress (you heard that right), who joined the celebration wearing, apparently the first ever Twitter Dress in the UK :)[Sponsored video by ebuzzing]
So, how fast is Superfast, really?!
Well, as I wrote in my previous post, theoretically you can reach as fast as 300 Mbit/s. According to Apple, the iPhone 5 should be able to go as fast as 100 Mbit/s!
Now, what about 4GEE? According to their website, the average 4G download speeds is likely to be between 8 and 10 MBit/s (that is about 4 to 5 times faster than normal 3G speed), with possible instances of up to 40 MBit/s, where typical upload speeds should reach between 5 to 6 Mbit/s, with possible instances of up to 15 Mbit/s! EE added also that the 4GEE network latency should amount for only 60-70 ms, quicker than 100-125 ms that 3G network normally has, this will help for example when we flick through web pages in our browser.
So, it’s not the 100 Mbit/s lightning speed as we expected previously, but it is still comparable to the average Home ADSL broadband people has these days.
Next question is, what’s the ‘damage’? Well … evidently a lot :) Admittedly I didn’t expect that it would come cheap or even moderately cheap, but looking at the list of Tariff EE has in their page, I am not sure if I want to trade my Unlimited 3G Data tariff I currently have!
For comparison, if I want still to pay the same monthly tariff (£36) on the same length of contract (24 months) I will ONLY get 500Mb of data! I can tell you now, even with 1Gb data allowance that I used to get I kept going over it often, let alone half that amount! There is no Tariff with Unlimited Data on offer, the highest one you can get is 8Gb, but for this privilege you will need to fork £56 a month.
EE official said that these allowances are more than enough for typical users, well I don’t really agree with that. Just think about this, you are given an Internet speed that is as quick as your home broadband (for some people it’s actually quicker!), what are you going to do with it? Of course you are going to use it almost ‘constantly’! Especially with the latest ‘multimedia’ smartphone that we have these days, you will certainly use your newly given speed to watch Youtube video, stream BBC iPlayer shows, listen to your Spotify playlist, play online gaming, upload photos and browse your Instagrams/Pinterests, not to mention Twitter and Facebook,to … your … heart … content. Guess what? 500Mb ain’t gonna be enough, not even close!
So the argument that the allowance is enough for typical users is just won’t stand, because people as the speed increase users will use the internet even more than before!
In some respect, this is all good for all of us in general, the increased speed will push inovation, new things will emerge that could’ve not happened before due to network speed restriction. And those prices, will eventually going down, they always do. But for now, the new 4G seems to exist as a proof of concept and only the real hardcores, early adopters would be willing to pay the premium price. The rest of us (that includes me) would be happy to wait when it becomes more ‘reasonable’.
One last note, I seemed to make a mistake when previously I thought that only T-Mobile and Orange customers would get 4G/LTE, since the two operators are own by EE. In truth, as we’ve already witnessed, everybody can actually get it! Old T-Mobile and Orange might get some discount if they upgrade to the latest 4G Tariff, but that is all.