4G mobile broadband in Ireland

The roll out of 4G services in Ireland has begun, but why should it give you cause to get excited?

The introduction of 3G services revolutionised the way we use mobile phones.

For the first time high-speed internet services were available via handsets, but now the technology has expanded so much that the latest round of technology is arriving.

Now 4G – fourth generation services – are on the scene, seeking to address the issues of the 3G system – namely network congestion and speed.

4G technology offers super-fast mobile broadband and the ability to stream video and audio, enhancing the customer experience.

4G speeds

Now, the speed of internet connections needs to be capable of providing the sorts of services that are available online.

3G technologies were perfectly competent at delivering email services, maps and Facebook alongside low quality video, Skype and Twitter.

However, high definition videos, music streaming and games mean that the data limits and speeds of the past are just no longer good enough.

4G speeds mean that all sorts of media content can be accessed at any time in any location and at faster speeds than previously experienced.

Speeds will typically exceed 10Mbps and can reach 30Mbps, which is roughly ten times the speed experienced on a 3G network.

Congested networks

3G technology has struggled with the increasing demand for services and that has resulted in congestion at peak times.

Millions of text messages are sent every day and a network needs to be able to handle this demand alongside demands for the use of other video and audio technology.

As a result there is a need for networks to handle a greater volume of traffic on a more regular basis and 4G is capable of such a feat.

What does 4G mean to me?

Consumers will see benefits beyond speed and reliability. Right now, Ireland’s 4G market is at an early stage of development.

However, as more players enter the market and there is greater competition, more and more will be offered to the consumer as a reward or enticement. Here’s how we expect the 4G market to change in Ireland in the months and years to come.

Speed and availability

As the demand for larger download and upload speed grows, 4G operators will need to meet this demand. Providers will need to constantly improve their speeds while the availability of 4G networks will need to become as widespread across Ireland as current 3G services.

Data usage

The demand for data intensive broadband packages is on the up, with more people streaming on platforms such as Netflix, YouTube and Spotify than ever before. Consumer demand for broadband packages which can cater for greater download limits is also on the rise.

Current 4G broadband packages in Ireland offer in the region of 15 - 20Gbps, and its likely that operators will introduce 4G plans with higher data usage limits in the not too distant future.

What do you need to experience the change?

Customers will require a 4G compatible handset to access the services and will need to swap SIM cards so that they are also compatible with the new services.

Many handsets that are currently on the market are 4G enabled, but those which are not will not be able to access the latest updated 4G technology.

Companies will make these alterations regardless of how long is left on existing contracts, should a customer want to access the services.

Apple is yet to certify the 4G network, meaning services are not available on their products although certification is expected.

4G is also available from operators in Ireland via 12 month contracts through the use of selected mobile broadband dongles and WiFi hotspots.