3G Vs. 4G – Do You Really Know the Difference?

If you are in the market for a new Smartphone, you may not really understand whether or not you should choose a phone that operates on the 3G technology or the 4G technology.  When you are first starting out to buy a phone, you likely won’t know too much about the difference between the two, but once you start comparing phones, you will want to know more about it. Lets take a closer look at a side by side comparison of the two- 3G vs 4G.

Understanding What ‘G’ Stands For

The first thing that you need to understand is the meaning of ‘G,’ which is what both 3G and 4G have in common. ‘G’ simply stands for generation, or the mobile technology generation. This technology is found in the cell phone device itself, as well as the cell phone towers. It started out with 1G, then 2G, and now we have 3G and 4G, which both offer mobile broadband services. This is the type of service that it takes to power the latest Smartphones- including the iPhone and Android phones, along with Windows Mobile phones.

The Speed Difference

One of the biggest questions that people have is regarding the speed when comparing 3G vs 4G. You would think that the later technology found in the 4G phones would help the internet speed to be faster, but is that really the case? It isn’t really always going to be faster. This depends on your cell phone carrier, because some carriers will not offer 4G services. This is due to the cost involved with upgrading the technology for the carrier, which can be very costly.

Types of 4G Technology

3G technology is pretty simple, there are not really individual classifications of this type of technology- except for the CDMA 3G and the HSPA 3G. The CDMA towers work for CDMA networks, while the other towers work for GSM systems. . 4G is a bit different, with three different technologies, including WiMAX, HSPA+ 21/42, and the LTE. The one you see the most often with carriers is the LTE service. This may all be foreign language to you, so lets take a closer look at a few other aspects.


To consumers, 3G and 4G technologies won’t have too much of a price difference. This is because the 4G service runs on compatible phones, and other people with 3G compatible phones will continue to run off of the 3G service. With that in mind, the actual cost difference will actually be paid by the cell phone carrier, so this isn’t too much of a concern for most people. Now, when it comes down to buying a certain cell phone, that is where the general public will notice a difference in the price. A 4G compatible phone will likely cost you a bit more than a 3G phone.

When 3G is Best

Now, lets figure out when 3G service is going to be the best option. First, you need to realize that the older model Apple iPhones will not offer 4G services, which makes you limited- and you don’t have much of an option. Another factor to consider is whether or not your current geographical location offers 4G service, or if they are limited to 3G. If you are limited to 3G, then you really won’t want to pay the extra money for a 4G phone. After all, you won’t be able to use it.

When 4G is Best

Finally, we will consider when 4G service is ideal. 4G networks that offer 4G coverage in your area give you a lot more option when it comes to your cell phone service. If you like to download files and stream content online, then 4G can really be a blessing. It can help your service run faster, at times- but don’t count on it all the time. You never know when you may fall out of the 4G service range, and have to be dependent on other technology generations. That doesn’t mean, however, that a 4G phone won’t be idea for you. Most of the national carriers offer 4G service, so it may be worth considering if you want to take advantage of their offerings.

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