The 4G footprint is noticeably smaller than 3G, especially in rural areas of the country.
3G vs. 4G: What's the Difference?
Optus' 4G Plus network, for instance, covers That might not seem like a significant difference, but it amounts to around half a million Aussies living outside the reach of 4G. Hardware is another limiting factor for accessing the 4G network. Devices must be explicitly 4G-compatible to work with the faster network, meaning older smartphones and even some newer feature phones simply cannot connect to it.
Compatibility isn't the only concern, either, as different 4G-friendly devices have different maximum network speeds denoted by their network category rating. This can lead to some phones experiencing a slower connection even in areas of strong 4G reception. While the benefits of 4G are relatively clear-cut on paper, in reality 4G performance in Australia can vary significantly from provider to provider. Telcos like to throw around high numbers for their respective 4G networks, but it's important to take those claims with a grain of salt since they typically represent the maximum theoretical performance rather than a practical average.
These figures are often reached under optimal conditions in a laboratory or when there are no competing signals in the vicinity. Real life doesn't work like that, so you'll want to temper your expectations when comparing 4G speed claims. You'll note how the maximum speeds there change, but the floor remains constant. Issues such as network access, Internet congestion and interference can make wireless access a highly variable experience. In theory, 4G networks should be faster than 3G, but if you're on the 3G bands and one of the few users in a particular network location, you could get better speeds than those on a crowded 4G cell.
However, the upper limit on 3G performance is still present. The other factor to bear in mind for 4G data services is that they're asynchronous, which means you'll get much higher download speeds than upload speeds.
If all you're doing is streaming video or downloading large files that might not matter so much, but if you're filming that video yourself and hoping to upload it to YouTube, you'll likely notice the lower upload speeds. Telstra operates both 3G and 4G networks in Australia, as well as what it calls "4GX", although rather like the "NextG" branding it applies to its 3G network, it's purely a marketing term.
In the 3G space, it operates networks that operate at the Mhz and 2,Mhz bands. In terms of 4G, it has networks that operate at MHz, 1,MHz and 2,MHz frequencies, as well as Mhz — that's the faster 4GX network — and some minor 2,Mhz frequency holdings, although so far there's no consumer-facing network using 2,Mhz. Telstra claims the widest network penetration of any Australian mobile network.
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You can check your precise location against Telstra's network map. Telstra's Mhz 4GX network is a little more restricted. No network actually covers every square kilometre of Australia, but Telstra's regional coverage is a little wider than its competitors once you take its 3G networks into account. Vodafone's claim is that it covers more than 22 million Australians with its 4G network, but again that means most of its network is concentrated on the country's population centres. You can check Vodafone's coverage relative to where you live or work using Vodafone's coverage tool.
Optus' 3G networks operate at Mhz and 2,Mhz, but in the 4G space it presents a very complex picture.
Optus' claim is that it covers Back in , TPG announced it would be rolling out its own 4G mobile network to rival the big three sometime in , but there's been little in the way of news on that front since. In the meantime, you don't have to buy a 4G mobile plan directly through Optus, Telstra or Vodafone if you don't want to.
All three companies also sell wholesale access to their networks to other companies that operate as mobile virtual network operators MVNOs. Also included in many plans are some interesting perks and entertainment packages. However, these larger companies sell wholesale access to both their 3G and 4G networks to other companies, who operate as mobile virtual network operators MVNOs. This results in much the same network in metro areas, and likely with more data at a slightly lower cost.
3G vs 4G | What's The Difference Between 3G and 4G? - Canstar Blue
As data demands grow, so too does the need for a faster and even more reliable connection. Most users experience speeds of Mbps with 3G. Most websites are rich in videos and other multimedia, and streaming services like Netflix have increased consumer demands exponentially. Despite its obvious speed superiority, 4G is not completely necessary.
For smaller downloads, such as messages, videos and image uploads, 3G is sufficient, and the slower speeds may not even be noticeable. As such, many providers have started offering huge plans with cheap, 3G only data. However, 3G is set to become an even older generation, like Baby Boomers. There are other factors to consider when deciding on a phone plan, like price, inclusions and other perks.
These make up the most important aspects when buying a mobile phone plan.
When to go with 3G
To get the full use of a smartphone you pretty much need to have a mobile data connection. Share this article. Thanks for signing up! Good things are coming your way. Related Articles How much do iPhones cost? February 13th