4G explainer from 7 On Your Side

4G is sold as faster mobile service on the latest iPhone and Android devices. But if you listen to the ads, everyone claims to have faster service. So exactly what is 4G?

“4G simply stands for 4th generation,” explained Brian Markwalter, Senior Vice-President of Research for Consumer Electronics Association. “It refers to any of three technologies that are being deployed for broadband data access for tablets, smart phones, and computers.”

Understandably, 4G is faster than 3G. But since not all 4G is the same, it allows multiple companies to promote their network as better.

“It’s certainly challenging for consumers and it puts most of the burden on them,” said Jeff Silva, a telecom policy analyst with the Medley Investment Group.

Silva believes a new effort by the FCC to test and measure speeds of broadband services – including 4G –will make it easier to know what you’re getting.

Consumers should be looking for 4G LTE. It’s the direction that the bulk of carriers worldwide are heading towards and it’s generally the fastest option out there.

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