What and the extent of 4G implementation in

What is 4G?

4G refers to the fourth generation in mobile
technology. It has significant advantages over its predecessor – 3G – such as higher
data upload and download speeds and lower latency. This report will discuss the
advantages of 4G over High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), which is an enhanced 3G
standard. It will also briefly explain the technologies used in 4G networks and
the extent of 4G implementation in the UK.


Differences between
4G and HSPA

4G networks offer higher data transfer speeds
(theoretical maximum download speed of 100 Mbps for high mobility devices) as
compared to HSPA which has a theoretical maximum download speed of 14.4 Mbps. This
means that any downloads performed on a device are completed much faster on a
4G network. 4G networks also have lower latency than HSPA networks, due to
which a device connected to a 4G network will get a faster response to requests
due to lower latency as compared to HSPA network. 4G is therefore a much better
option than HSPA for live video streaming, online gaming and other real-time

4G networks use Internet Protocol (IP) not only to transmit
data but also for voice calls. This provides greater clarity in voice calls and
faster call connections. It can provide features such as video calling and
video messaging without the need for third-party applications such as Skype.

4G networks need changes in infrastructure by
network operators, unlike HSPA, which uses enhancements to existing
infrastructure to maximise benefits.


Some technical
details about 4G

Not all 4G networks offered by operators today
comply with the International Mobile Telecommunications – Advanced
(IMT-advanced) standard specified by the International Telecommunication Union
(ITU). Long Term Evolution – Advanced (LTE-A) by the Third Generation
Partnership Project (3GPP) and WiMAX 2.0 specified in the IEEE 802.16m standard
meet the ITU 4G standard; but have been implemented in very few cities. The
term 4G is, however, being used by operators to technologies such as LTE and
WiMAX that offer a substantial increase in performance and capabilities
compared to existing 3G systems. (Itu.int, 2017)

Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM)
is a transmission technology in which the available bandwidth is split into
multiple subcarriers orthogonal to each other, to transmit data. The close
spacing of the subcarriers transmitting different data streams makes OFDM very
spectrally efficient. The orthogonality of the subcarriers allows for guard
bands to be removed and for subcarriers to overlap each other. This bandwidth
efficiency of OFDM can be further increased by using advancements in antenna
technology such as multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO).  MIMO refers to the use of multiple antennas
at the transmitter and receiver to enhance the speed and accuracy of data
transmission. Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) allows
subcarriers to be shared between multiple users allocated by time and frequency
and is used by LTE and WiMAX in their downlink to increase efficiency and


An update on 4G in
the UK