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When will 4G be Phased Out in the UK — Is 4G Still Relevant Today?

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It is amazing how fast new technologies crop up in our contemporary digitally-powered world. But no less amazing is how quickly they get obsolete. Take the 4G connection, for instance. Its first practical use case came into being under 15 years ago (in December 2009), and now we are discussing the end of the service time 4G systems will face soon. 

It seems that only yesterday, anxious internet users and gadget owners asked mobile operators: “When will 4G be available?” and speculated on the impending 3G shutdown. Only a few years later, the same people try to find an answer to two other questions: “Is 4G relevant now?” and “When will 4G be phased out?” Let’s have a look at the current situation with 4G in the UK and the imminent prospects of its replacement by 5G.

When will 4G Be Shut Down in the UK?

In such a fast-paced age as ours, any predictions about the future are mere suppositions with a very loose reference to an exact date. The same is true about the time when 4G service maintenance will expire. Everybody knows that, eventually, it will be replaced by the 5G wireless standard in the UK, but as to the year when it is going to occur, experts are at odds. Some of them envisage the extinction of 4G in 2033, and others claim that we aren't likely to witness an across-the-board advent of 5G (and, consequently, the eclipse of 4G) within the next quarter of a century or even longer. Evidently, both pessimistic and optimistic forecasts give 4G another decade-plus of intense, although ever-declining, employment.

Is 4G Still a Relevant Network?

Although in the long (perhaps quite a long) run, the days of the older technology are numbered, the relevance of 4G in the UK today is indisputable. Why? Because 5G is a shining beacon that we all aspire to reach. But while such a beckoning prospect is still in the offing, we have to use something meanwhile — and that is 4G. 

Besides, the implementation of 5G raises many questions that have no answers so far, like the availability and affordability of smartphones supporting 5G or a later arrival of 5G across rural areas compared to urban ones. Until these and many other similar challenges are addressed, the relevance of 4G remains undeniable. That said, keep your eyes skinned for the rise of 5G.

Why Will 5G Replace the 4G Network?

Several vital advantages of 5G networks give them the edge over their predecessors. 

Speed Upgrades

Every new generation of wireless technology (3G, 4G, 5G) beats the previous one in the speed of transmitting data. 4G claims to do it at 300Mbps, but in the real world, the average speed ranges from 18 to 36Mbps. But that is a snail's pace compared to over 1Gbps manifested by the existing 5G networks. Theoretically, this already astounding number can reach the neck-break 50Gbps, which gives no chance to any 4G system, even in its upgraded LTE version.

Low Latency

5G can boast of a twice shorter time than 4G for a signal to reach the receiver and return (17–26 vs 36–48 milliseconds on average). And this isn't the limit of 5G, which can potentially curtail the time to the wee one millisecond, making it a perfect fit for machine-to-machine communication found in IoT environments.

Enhanced Capacity

This is another 5G parameter that dovetails into its possible IoT use cases, where the simultaneous support of multiple devices is mission-critical. In comparison with the 4G spectrum, the higher the utilized frequency is, the greater the 5G capacity. While 4G goes for such bands as 800MHz, 1.8GHz, 2.1GHz, 2.3GHz, and 2.6GHz, 5G offers 700MHz, 3.4GHz, 3.6-4GHz, 8GHz, and 24+GHz (aka mmWaves). These characteristics make 5G superior for employment in crowded locations (sports and concert venues or transport hubs).

Increased Bandwidth

This index is related to speed, but whereas speed gauges the data transfer rate, bandwidth signifies the amount of data transferred per second. Naturally, a greater speed of 5G networks (1+Gbps vs 300Mbps) allows them to deliver more data to the user than 4G could ever dream of achieving. Besides, the peculiar architecture of 5G environments enables them to optimize network traffic better and handle usage spikes smoothly. 

Availability and Coverage

Currently, this is the only characteristic in which 4G outstrips 5G in the UK. The older system can cover almost the entire population of Great Britain, while 5G is only establishing a tentative foothold in major cities. However, at the end of the day, it is going to conquer the entire territory of the country, ousting 4G due to the superior qualities of 5G mentioned above. With this time inevitably approaching, you should get ready for the tectonic 4G-to-5G switchover.

How to Prepare for a 4G Shutdown in the Future

The major thing you need to do to embrace 5G is to acquire a device that supports it. In fact, many currently available ones do it since the spectrum band in them fits both systems. The rest depends on the mobile service providers who will gradually onboard 5G until it completely overtakes, sending 4G into oblivion. But that is still decades away.

Besides, to let the transition go smoothly, you can turn to UCtel for help.

UCtel as a 4G-to-5G Transition Solution

No matter how soon the UK is going to harness the 5G connection, you can make sure the 4G shutdown passes unnoticed. Installing and setting up mobile boosters by UCtel is a perfect recipe for this end. You can start your transition to 5G right now, even if you're far away from the base station and receive only a weak 5G signal. Our signal boosters will provide stable mobile coverage, enhance the quality and speed of the signal, and enable you to make the most of both technologies.

Final Thoughts

Due to its low latency, faster data transfer, upgraded capacity, and enhanced bandwidth, 5G technology is going to eventually oust the 4G wireless connection that is currently the dominating standard in the UK. It is unlikely to happen any time soon, but you can prepare for the looming switchover. Just contact UCtel to install a mobile booster, which will significantly streamline the transition.


Find answer below or contact us to ask more about UCtel

How long will 4G be supported in the UK?

There is no exact date, and experts differ on when 4G will be phased out in the UK. According to various estimates, the advent of 5G is going to take from 10 to 30 years, which means 4G is sure to be supported during the transition period and perhaps some time beyond.

Is 4G being phased out in the UK?

The process of gradual introduction of the 5G connection began five odd years ago, and it will take at least a decade to complete. While it is being embraced, the previous technology will still be in use, so the relevance of 4G in the UK within the near future is unquestionable.

Will 4G phones no longer work?

Don’t worry, they will. However, with the adoption of 5G, the speed of mobile data transfer will remain the same for them. If you want to enjoy all the advantages 5G ushers in, buy a device that is honed to support this disruptive technology.

Contact the team to discover how UCtel can improve your digital connectivity and communications.

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