5G is almost here, but mobile networks haven’t given up on 4G in the meantime. EE has announced that it’s repurposing much of its existing 3G spectrum as 4G, in order to make more capacity for the network that people are actually using these days.
4G has been around since 2012, so it’s hardly a new piece of technology, but it still shares the airwaves with 3G, and the two can’t exactly share it between them.
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However with fewer and fewer people actually making use of 3G, EE has decided to repurpose its 2100MHz spectrum for 4G.
That means that — in total — EE will have five ‘carriers’ of 4G in the UK, which should result in a nice speed boost as devices will have more spectrum to share between them.
Previously, network coverage and technological limitations meant that mobile operators had more reason to prioritise 3G, but as EE moves towards covering 91% of the UK’s landmass and new technologies like VoLTE supersede 3G, there’s less need to keep the old network running at peak capacity.
EE will be making the upgrade over the next six months on over 500 mobile towers focused around hotspots in city centres including London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh.
The race to 5G
Of course, pretty soon 4G is going to look about as ancient as 3G looks to us today. New technologies will massively increase both speed and latency, meaning that you’ll be able to play fast-paced online games on your mobile as though you were on home Wi-Fi.
But 5G is unlikely to launch in a state that reaches this full potential. Coverage is likely to be limited at first, and 5G devices are going to be thin on the ground.
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Instead, you’re likely to be far better served by 4G for the time being. It’s a mature network, it covers almost all of the UK, and it’s seen continuous development since it was first rolled out in 2012 which means it’s currently the fastest it’s ever been.
When do you think you’ll be making the jump to 5G? Let us know @TrustedReviews.