For a lot of people, their mobile phone is more than just a phone – it’s a way to connect to the internet, message their friends and keep them entertained on journeys. If you use your smartphone to watch videos and download apps when you’re on the go, it’s likely that you’ll be looking for a contract with 4G mobile internet.
However, despite 4G being available in the UK for nearly three years now, you still can’t get it everywhere. For rural areas of the country, 3G internet is still the norm and even if you can get 4G, it’s not available from every network provider.
Faster mobile browsing
In case you’re not sure what 4G is, we’ll take you through why it’s better than 3G. It’s a faster mobile network and you’ll be able to use it to watch videos, stream music, download apps and make video calls when you’re out and about. This means you’ll be less likely to have to wait for a TV show or film to buffer – your connection should be much smoother.
As 4G is more efficient than 3G, it should also be able to cope with high customer demand better. So you shouldn’t ever experience a slow connection just because it’s a busy time of day – the 4G connection won’t be affected by lots of users at once.
If you’re on a 4G plan and your phone is unable to connect to the faster mobile internet, it will automatically switch to a 3G connection. Although this is likely to be slower, it at least means you’ll still be able to browse and download as normal. However, it’s a good idea to check that 4G is generally available in your area before you pay for a plan with it – if you’re not using 4G, you don’t want to be paying for it.
Search the providers
You can check the 4G coverage in your area through Ofcom’s Mobile Coverage Checker. This will be able to tell you how well you’ll be able to receive a 4G signal from Vodafone, o2, EE and Three, depending on where you live. The checker will show green if you’re unlikely to have any problems with using 4G services or white if you won’t be able to get a signal.
However, it’s still worth taking a look some of the other networks that don’t show up on the Ofcom signal, as they may offer better deals for you. For example, BT owns EE so BT Mobile should get the same 4G coverage as EE, and Virgin Mobile also shares EE’s network. Carphone Warehouse runs its own network, iD Mobile, which uses Three’s signal so it’s a good idea to check what offers are available with all providers when you’re looking to switch.