By the end of 2016, at least 17 million mobile phones will be using 4G services in Australia with the spontaneous growth of smartphones and other mobile devices using this kind of network. That means within four years, almost half of all mobile connections in the country will be on 4G LTE.
About 80 per cent of mobile devices in the market such as smartphones, tablets, and hybrids are going to use intensive data services for communications and Internet, ITWire reports.
4G offers higher data speed than 3G network which is still commonly used in other countries and although one Southeast Asian country is currently developing one city to be under 4G service.
In mobile telephony, wireless technology is being used by radio signals to transmit information to and from services such as short messaging, multimedia messaging, Internet browsing, voice and video calls.
This wireless technology used in mobile services is categorised by generations. Currently, four generations are known and have or are still being used worldwide.
First Generation 1G and Second Generation 2G
The first generation or IG was introduced in 1980s as analog telecommunications standards which was replaced by 2G digital telecommunications later. The difference between the first and second generation is analog versus digital.
Both systems use digital signals connected to radio towers from the handsets to the rest of the telephone system. 1G speed ranges from 28Kbps to 56Kbps with comparative download speed of 2.9Kbps to 5.6Kbps, considered now as very slow and almost cannot evade congestion for any Internet connection.
SMS or text messages and data services began to exist with 2G wireless technology. The main benefit of this generation from the previous one is that phone conversations are digitally encrypted and more efficient on allowing far greater mobile phone penetration levels.
Good conditions make 2G handsets sound better than analog models. During bad conditions, 2G phones suffer occasional dropouts while 1G units experience static. If the conditions worsen, 2G will start to fail completely by dropping calls while 1G hold calls longer but only few words are still possible to be delivered.
2.5G or GPRS
A GSM evolution to 3G came with the launch of General Packet Radio Service or GPRS. It has speed rates from 56Kbps up to 115Kbps and can be used for Wireless Application Protocol or WAP, MMS, email, and Internet browsing. The highest peak data speed is 153.6Kbps.
2.75 or EDGE
The E sign located near the signal bar on the screen of their mobile phones defined the connection under EDGE or Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution. It was the standard 3GPP for GSM family which upgraded the networks threefold in capacity than the previous one.
Third Generation or 3G
Also called Tri-band, 3G can be used for applications such as wireless voice telephony, mobile Internet access, video call and mobile TV. Its features include:
- Higher transmission rate of at least 2Mbps in stationary users and 384 Kbps in a moving vehicle.
- Higher security than 2G predecessors
- Applications available for mobile phone users like mobile TV, video on demand, video conferencing, location-based services and GPS
3.9G or Pre-4G is an extension 3G standard that has almost 4G advancement. Its bandwidth speed is around 1Gbps when stationary and 100Mbps when in motion.
Fourth Generation or 4G
4G provides ultra-broadband internet access for laptops with USB wireless modems, smartphones, tablets computers and other mobile devices. It can support gaming services and HD or 3D mobile TV. 4G is deployed commercially as Mobile WiMAX and Long Term Evolution or LTE.
- LTE Advanced: 1Gbps peak download, 500Mbps peak upload
- WirelessMan Advanced: 1Gbps peak download, 100Mbps peak upload
- 3GPP LTE: 100Mbps peak download, 50Mbps peak upload
- Mobile WiMax: 128Mbps peak download, 56Mbps peak upload
- HSPA+: 672Mbps peak download, 168Mbps peak upload
Fifth Generation or 5G
Some research papers and projects are using the term 5G to refer to the next phase of mobile telecommunications standards even as the current 4G is still in progress and development.
Research firm Telsyte estimates that there are about one million 4G mobile devices in Australia but their number will grow to 17 million within the next four years as phone manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung and Apple flood the market with 4G handsets.
The first 4G phone is Australia is the HTC Velocity which was reviewed in the following YouTube video.