BBC reports on the battle for 4G.

A number of companies at the Mobile World Congress are demonstrating hardware they think will make up so-called fourth generation or 4G solutions to succeed the current 3G technology.

The explosion of interest in mobile broadband – and consumers’ insatiable craving for faster connections – means that this more forward-looking part of the industry is filled with contenders.

In the UK, the highest mobile broadband speed available is 7.2 megabits per second (Mbps), and Vodafone has successfully trialled a 3G network in Spain providing 20Mbps.

It makes for interesting reading, and also makes you realise how far we have come in the last five years and how far we will probably go in the next five years.

When I first used 3G back in 2004, it was a £100 a month and I got 0.3Mbps (as in 384Kbps). Today I pay £10 per month and get (rarely) 7.2Mbps, though on average it is about 3Mbps. Ten times the speed for one tenth of the price.

If we go back to 2001, I was then using GPRS and getting about 40Kbps.

Personally for me, having a 3G connection makes my life and my job so much easier. I can do things and stuff at events and conferences, on visits to other institutions, in coffee shops and on the train. It allows me to get information, entertainment and to communicate whilst I am mobile. If our learners have 3G this makes it even easier to allow their learning not just to take place anywhere, but with 3G they can communicate and collaborate with other learners without the constraints of geography and time.

So though LTE quotes 100Mbps, I do expect in five years to see 30Mbps mobile internet connections. The question you do have to ask though is will it cost only a £1 per month?


Photo source.

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