Practical Technology

for practical people.

4G mobile broadband and you: Coverage, cost, and, yes, caveats


Who doesn’t want a faster Internet connection? What with Netflix, Hulu, and other Internet video rising in popularity, everyone wants more and more bandwidth. If your phone company and cable provider can’t provide it, maybe your mobile phone company can instead with 4G technology.

After years of slow deployments, all the major wireless telecomms — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all rolling out nationwide 4G data communication plans. Now, you can argue whether any of the technologies behind these rollouts are actually 4G, but whether you call it 3G+, 3.5G, or 4G, the bottom line is that in ideal conditions users can expect to see from 4Mbps (Megabits per second) to 23.5Mbps. Compared to what a lot of people are getting from their DSL or cable connections, no matter what the technology is called, you can see why some folks are considering considering dumping their landlines not just for voice phones but for their data needs as well.

Whether they’ll actually be able to do that is another matter entirely though. You see, 4G in 2011 still comes with many caveats.

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