Do we really need 4G networks?

The recent announcement of the UK’s first 4G networks deserves no more than a derisory snort. Whilst the networks are trumpeting broadband speeds and super fast downloads, what they’re not telling you is that the power requirements for 4G handsets are ludicrous. If you are deluded enough to think that existing 3G handsets barely lasting a day is good, and it totally isn’t, then wait till you get a load of 4G; your shiny new handset will be lucky to make it to 12 noon.

However, there are two more obvious points. The first is simply that the UK doesn’t even have blanket 2G coverage let alone trying to launch 4G which begs the question, shouldn’t these scum sucking networks focus on improving existing 2G and 3G coverage first and foremost so you can actually make and receive calls out in the sticks and at least be able to download a small 100k file reliably?

Which leads me nicely onto the second point; just who the hell actually wants to download HD movies and huge 1GB files to their mobile handset? I’d like to meet them and slap them with a wet kipper.

Fair enough if you have a work laptop and need fast access to a corporate network but the reality is that few people, if any, use their mobile as the primary device for downloading massive files. When was the last time anyone seriously thought “hey, I feel like watching a 1080 HD movies on my 4″ mobile screen on this crowded train, I sure wish I had the network speed to download a 1GB file in less than 5 minutes”?

And then there’s a third point that 4G will invariably be far too expensive and restricted. Most existing mobile Internet packages have a fair usage policy so you can imagine how quickly that threshold will be reached if everything downloads quicker. It’ll be like getting the keys to a Ferrari and having permission to drive it as quickly as you want but your monthly petrol allowance only gets you 500 yards.

So 4G networks then; something nobody asked for, nobody needs, comes complete with sub optimal hardware that’ll drain your battery quicker than a sink drains water, and will lock you into a hugely expensive 2 year tariff paying over the odds just so you can download that 1GB file from a single 1m square spot somewhere in London.

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One Response to Do we really need 4G networks?

  1. US Patriot says:

    Shhh! While I completely agree with your thesis here (and in other matters), I would rather you keep this one to yourself. I would be quite happy if everyone moved on to the 3G space for ‘greener pastures.’ This would leave those of us who stay behind unfettered access.

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