One part of the newly revealed New iPad build will keep UK consumers anticipating a little longer. The device comes with LTE technology, built to facilitate the new super-fast 4G networks when they arrive. The problem is the UK probably won’t see the first 4G coverage and broadband deals until mid 2013. The 4G bandwidths are not even up for auction to the big networks until later this year. The UK and many other countries desperately needs to update its entire physical communications infrastructure before it can support 4G. We’ll look at what 4G is, where in the world you can get it, and what it means for the New iPad owners.
What are 4G and LTE?
A true 4G speed would mean a download speed of 100Mbps for mobile apps. 4G can pack more data into its spectrum, and is ten times faster than the current 3G networks. So what is LTE? Short for Long Term Evolution, it’s a technology that supports internet roaming for cellular or handheld devices. It’s listed as one of only two ‘true 4G technologies’ by the International Telecommunication Union. It’s a key part of the upgrade from the hardware included in the iPad 2.
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Where Can You Get 4G in the World?
4G, almost-4G and preparations for 4G are happening all over the world right now. Sweden, Norway and Finland are provided for by TeliaSonera, the Australian company Telestra is offering 4G (but theirs isn’t compatible with the New iPad), Belgian cities are covered by Proximus/Belgacon and Cameroon is serviced by the provider Alvarion. Vodaphone are planning 4G LTE services in Germany. US networks advertise 4G speeds but in reality they’re only able to offer something like ‘3G plus.’ The US does have the capacity to upgrade when the new technology becomes available.
All in all, about 20 countries worldwide have 4G or are very close to having it.
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Is It Worth Getting the New iPad if You Can’t Get on 4G?
It’s a funny little hiccup –a market-leading device launched ahead of the download speeds to fully exploit its capabilities. Hopefully it won’t be too long until the new generation of speeds arrive and we’ll be away. Meanwhile new buyers might be tempted by the upgrade to a retina display screen (the highest resolution currently available) and the A5X processor (marketed as faster than the quad core). What do you think - is the New iPad worth having, even without super fast data speeds?
Robert Jefferson is an English freelance writer and he loves writing about broadband deals at USwitch.com