4G, does this mean Three will become Four?

20130206-000209.jpgThat age old issue of bandwidth, as devices got faster the issue was getting worse, then LTE/4G came along, the nirvana? Only if money is no object, and your in the right place at that moment, but it’s changing

If your interested in LTE info I waffled on about this back in November so take a look, this time it’s tariffs up for discussion.

LTE Article (November 2012)

EE, formally Orange and T-Mobile have merged and obtained the licence to initially offer 4G services here in the UK. This was late, the U.S were already wizzing along on the iPads that had shipped 6 months earlier. The offering, needless to say is not the greatest deal you have ever seen, who would give something away on the cheap and especially as they are the only ones at the party.

The Analogue To Digital TV switchover happened and the government auctioned, meanwhile Three managed to buy some spectrum from our friends at EE, everything everywhere, deep joy.

Now would you prefer lots of something slow at a low cost, or a small amount of something fast at a high cost? Quantity or Quality?

Aparantly Steve Jobs said “One Home Run is better than two Doubles”

In this case it’s not true because of all you can eat! This is the best aspect of 3G services, currently only offered by Three here in Blighty, therefore “One Home Run is not better than as many Doubles as you can eat”

Getting onto Tariffs then, EE’s deals are grim IMHO, let me elaborate,

iPhone5 32Gb £36 per month 24month contract.
Upfront device cost £269, compared to £599 Sim Free
Unlimited Texts and Minutes, I see minutes have become pretty valueless, it’s all about data.
500Mb data, yes 500Mb which will last preciously 20 minutes.
For 8Gb is another £20 per month, taking you to £56 per month for 2 years, ouch.

Compared with Three (3G)
iPhone5 £36 per month 24 month contract
Upfront device cost £199, compared to EE £269
5000 Texts, 7000 Minutes and of course All You Can Eat Data, no limits!

I just ran a test and got this result on my Three 3G enabled iPad.

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The latest is Three have announced they will be offering LTE/4G to all their users at No Extra Cost! They have not yet confirmed if the All You Can Eats will continue but at least you get the premium bandwidth sat no extra cost!

Three, voice calls are pretty rubbish in my experience lots of calls failed, but their data network is brilliant, bravo to Three!

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What does LTE bring?

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LTE or Long Term Evolution 4G is now in most tablet and phone specs so time to do some digging, what does it give us, how much is it, and more importantly when can we have it?

As the current version does not meet the spec for 4G yet it has been known as 3.9G, 4G will be able to deliver speeds of up to 1Gbps. How cool is that on a mobile device, well just a fraction of it would be good, and I still cannot make a voice call for more than a couple of minutes on the train journey to the office before it drops.

The 3GPP who are responsible for bringing all of the global bodies together predict 4G to be the first truly global standard. With it already deployed in Japan and Oslo and many other countries busy building a service its exciting times in the world of mobile communications.

LTE Advanced, the next iteration brings 3Gbps download and 1.5Gbps upload capable networks so maybe bandwidth constraints are eventually going to be a thing of the past, although I remember having this same thought in 1991 when I was learning about X.25 and compared to modem dial it was fast.

EE, everything everywhere the partnership between Orange and T-Mobile have released their service,

An entry level iPhone5 16Gb with 3Gb per month allowance is £50 for the device and £46 per month for the service, this raises to £56 per month for 8Gb. With all that bandwidth you need to go steady 50Mb is an extra £3! 2 year contract of course.

That’s £1150 TCO assuming you never roam or spend outside of your plan, ouch!

Choice is limited still with O2 and Vodafone needing to wait for the radio spectrum auction next year and Three acquiring some frequency from EE, with a launch date of 2013.

Sit back chill and wait for the right pricing structure would be my advice.

3GPP, the 3rd generation partnership project 3gpp.org
EE.co.uk, Everything Everywhere