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Comparison of 3G Wireless Networks to 4G Wireless Networks Report

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Updated: Jun 27th, 2019

Services and applications

The 3G and 4G network have led to rise of mobile applications, which were not in use in the 1G, 2G and other previous technologies. Some of the services developed are location based services used to provide advert to people within a certain geographical location.

Applications to watch live television on your mobile devices have been developed. The increase in network speed has allowed users to stream live music or listen to radio over their mobile phone.

Applications to provide driving direction, location of facilities and cost of products have sprung up. The rise of such applications came in place because of increase in speed of the internet (Turban, & Volonino, 2011).

Network architecture

3G employ use of circuit switching and packet switching in its network architecture. Cell switching divides a network area into different cells with a dedicated base station. Users have to shift from each cell while they are on the move.

Over the normal base station a serving GPRS support node and Gateway GPRS support node are added to allow use of packet based transmission. The 4G network uses pure packet switching over its networks.

The packet switched architecture divides data in forms of packets which are reconstructed upon reaching their destination. The packet switched also employs the use of IP based form of communication (Glisic & Lorenzo, 2009).

Data throughput

The 3G wireless networks have a data through put that goes up to 3.1 Mbps while the 4G has a speed that range between 100 Mbps to 300Mbps.

User perceptions

Users had a perception that upon introduction and purchase of 4G wireless enabled devices; their internet speed would increase by ten times from that of 3G. In reality this did not happen and users are complaining of non improvement in network speed.

The reason for such complain is because of the network latency and non compliance of service provider to 4G network specifications.

Difference of 4G LTE, 4G WiMax, and 4G WiBro networks

Upload and download speeds

The 4G LTE has a pick upload speed of 500Mbps and a download speed of 1Gbps. These speeds have not been reached practically because of the constraints over the network.

The 4G Wimax has an upload speed of 54 Mbip/s and download speed of 128 Mbps making it slower than the 4G LTE. The 4G WiBro is seen to be a match of Wimax wireless network. It has a download speed of 128mbs and upload speed of 56 Mbps.

Backward compatibility

4G LTE has been developed to be backward compatible with existing 3G, GSM and HSPA network. Its ability of backward compatibility will allow service providers to provide 4G LTE technology while still supporting the existing technologies.

4G Wimax wireless technology has been built to be compatible with older Wimax network. The Wimax network cannot work with 2G or 3G wireless network technology.

The backward compatibility allow service providers using the Wimax 802.16e to carry a software upgrade on their base station to switch to 802.16m which is the latest Wimax network. The 4G Wibro wireless networks developed in South Korea is backward compatible with 3G wireless networks (Savo, 2006).

Service availability

4G LTE technology has a wide use all over the world by mobile service providers. The two biggest companies in the United State of America are carrying a huge deployment of 4g LTE network. The 4G Wibro technology has a wide usage in South Korea.

The South Korean company that developed the technology came up with the 802.16e standard to be used in developing the technology. Companies like T-mobile are trying to introduce the 4G Wibro in the United State of America.

The 4G Wimax services are available worldwide in providing internet access to customers on their mobile devices both at home and at work. The service has been employed to provide network backhaul by mobile service provider.

The backhaul is a connection of two different base stations using Wimax network eliminating the need of running copper cables. Wimax is mostly used in North America but not in the rest of the world.

Competition among 4G LTE carriers

The competition among industry players is increasing because of the reduction in customers’ loyalty. Earlier customers’ loyalty was maintained because of non compatibility of mobile devices to technologies of the other carriers. Such non compatibility made customer to stick to the same service provider.

The 4G LTE technology has eliminated of devices across different networks. Customers are changing their network providers within a period of less than 48 months in average. Reason for the shift includes reduced prices, better services and coverage of the service providers.

Companies like AT&T can provide black berries on subsidized prices to their customers. Once the mandatory contract period expires most customers eventually shifts to the competing companies networks. To avoid such situations companies have to come up with ways to maintain their customers, while still making profits.

Benefits of competition

Consumers are charged high prices in purchasing data bundles where monopolies do exist. Where competition exists customers will enjoy unlimited internet connection for a small fee. An example sprint provides internet connection without any fair usage to its consumers.

Provision of such package makes the company enjoy a huge customer base compared to its competitors like AT&T mobile.

Competition allows consumers to enjoy better service. The better services will come up as a result of service providers investing more in infrastructure.

Companies will invest to avoid losing their customers to competitors whose services are of higher quality. If AT&T networks gets a down time of 30 days per week while Sprint has network downtime of 10 days per year customers will prefer Sprint. The better service will lead to better voice quality and internet speed.

Companies get innovative in providing value added services to consumers. Some of the value added services are like provision of payment services through mobile devices and banking services applications (Pagani, 2005).

Value added services are brought through the development of applications which are sponsored by the service providers. These applications will be provided to the general public for download for a small fee or free.

If the applications were developed by private companies their prices would be out of reach of the common network subscribers.

Reason for wide coverage of Verizon compared to AT&T

The AT&T 4G LTE does not cover most of America because of the frequency constraint compared to Verizon. AT&T is struggling to purchase frequencies from small service providers for expansion purposes.

These purchases are a challenge because some companies like T-mobile are not willing to release their frequencies for auction. Lack of the frequencies to purchase leaves the company with no choice but to abandon their expansion plans. Verizon on the other hand started deploying 4G LTE network long times ago.

Verizon was able to acquire enough spectrums to provide services to its customers all over the country. Some of the spectrums acquired by AT&T are used to enhance its 3G network to avoid loss of clients. On the other hand Verizon uses new spectrums acquired to provide 4G LTE network to its clients.


Glisic S., & Lorenzo, B. (2009). Advanced Wireless Networks: Cognitive, Cooperative and Opportunistic 4G Technology. West Sussex: John Wiley.

Pagani, M. (2005). Mobile And Wireless Systems Beyond 3g: Managing New Business Opportunities. New Delhi: Radhi Publishers.

Savo, G.(2006). Advanced wireless networks: 4G technologies. New York: Wiley.

Turban, E., & Volonino, L. (2011) Information technology for management. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

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