4G: Everything you need to know

With 4G being rapidly rolled out across the UK, we take a look at the potential benefits and problems that come with it

Where is 4G headed next?

Now that all four networks are offering 4G services to their customers, the burning question is where do we go from here?

The first things to happen, as history tells us, is that consumer confidence will rise, prices will drop and the technology will grow over the next couple of years. Previous predictions suggested 4G coverage in the UK would reach 98 per cent by the end of 2014 but, with data usage rising all of the time, will what the networks are offering be enough?

Whether it's streaming a movie from home or taking advantage of 4G at work, the demand is already threatening to overtake the reality. As such, it's easy to imagine a time when users are demanding even faster, more reliable and ever-present internet speeds.

So how long until 5G is introduced? It's taken the better part of a decade for 3G to get an upgrade, but will it take as long for the life-span of 4G to run its course?

When discussing the development of mobile data offerings for the future, Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: "The demands for mobile data will only increase as millions more wireless devices connect to the internet and each other.

"We're looking at ways to use spectrum more efficiently and consider future releases of prime spectrum. By doing so, we can help to meet the significant demands placed on our wireless infrastructure and develop one of the world's leading digital economies."

The regulator also claimed the new spectrum could raise mobile data capacity by 25 times before 2030. This will likely help to support M2M communications and the development of the Internet of Things.

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