9 Tips for Choosing Between 3G or 4G Smartphones/Networks

With the introduction of 4G mobile networks, consumers now have an extra choice to make. Consumers must decide whether they want smartphones and networks for 3G or 4G. 4G gives a smartphone and its network more capabilities, but it also costs more than 3G. In the end, some people won’t even use 4G for anything, especially if they already don’t make much use of 3G.

Consider the price tags for 3G and 4G networks.
For smartphones, the average 3G plan runs anywhere from $20 to $50, depending upon what plan you go with. Verizon Wireless offers unlimited data consumption, while other carriers set limits at varying rates. Anyways, most networks will be charging increased premiums for 4G networks for smartphones, which means that consumers who already have trouble paying for 3G might not want to switch to 4G. As far as price is concerned, 3G is the dominant choice. Most users won’t be willing to sacrifice more money for quicker speeds anyways.

What about the capabilities?
4G smartphones and their networks are capable of a lot of things that 3G phones/networks aren’t. For instance, video chatting is possible on a 4G phone through a 4G network without the use of a Wi-Fi connection. In fact, 4G may just usher in the first true multiplayer gaming experience for smartphone users. Smartphones that run on 4G networks are capable of quicker download times, quicker streaming times, and many added features. For the consumer that wants to get the most out of their phone, 4G is the way to go.

Watch out for 3G and 4G smartphone prices.
Even with subsidized pricing, smartphones are pretty expensive. Without a contract, 3G phones typically cost more than $500. Phones can still cost a couple hundred dollars with a contract. The same will be true for 4G smartphones, but the prices may be even higher, especially for phones without a contract. Sure, you won’t see $1000 smartphones for either 3G or 4G. That small price difference between the two types of smartphones may just deter some users though. So then, 3G smartphones are a bit cheaper than 4G smartphones.

Currently, 4G isn’t available in many places.
You can’t find 4G in most places across the country yet. For the most part, networks have rolled out 4G in major cities and populated areas. People in smaller, less populated areas are mostly out of luck. 3G is integrated just about everywhere in the country, so it is more readily available. On the other hand, 4G networks work fine in the areas that they exist, so users there will want to jump onto the 4G side. Of course, a person who can’t get 4G in their area shouldn’t try to use it there.

How much do you use your phone?
People who use their smartphones a lot are more likely to use features that need 3G or 4G networks. Of course, your phone usage is going to dictate which kinds of phones and networks you’ll need. A heavy phone user is more likely to want and use 4G and its capabilities. However, 3G networks are better suited to people who just want to use their phone whenever and be able to browse the Internet. Take stock of your situation and figure out how much you actually use your smartphone for things that involve 3G/4G.

What do you use your phone for?
Someone who simply makes phone calls, sends texts, and browses the Internet isn’t going to benefit in any way by using a 4G network. However, people who regularly download files or stream music and videos will definitely enjoy the speeds that 4G networks offer. In this area, 4G networks are so much faster than 3G networks. Simple Internet browsing runs at around the same pace on both 3G and 4G networks. You should definitely get a 4G enabled phone and network if you access media all the time.

Not all 4G phones are better than 3G phones.
Like all types of phones, not all 4G phones are all that great. Some 4G phones aren’t built as well as 3G phones, but the exact opposite is true. Still, you shouldn’t upgrade to 4G expecting to get a phone that blasts your old one out of the water. A 3G Droid, iPhone, or Samsung Fascinate can outperform some of the 4G phones available now. So then, you might not get an amazing phone when you switch – it might just be identical to your old one.

3G networks are fully developed and get the job done.
Unlike 4G networks that aren’t fully integrated yet, 3G networks are at the near-peak of their performance. 3G networks reach almost everyone in the United States, so they can be used just about everywhere. The same cannot be said for 4G networks, so you are better off sticking with 3G in most cases at the moment. Of course, there is nothing wrong with 3G networks. 4G is being phased in because it has more capabilities, but a user doesn’t need 4G if they won’t be taking advantage of new capabilities anyways.

Consider the mobile carrier you are using.
Each mobile carrier has a 3G network and the majority of them are building 4G networks. Verizon and AT&T have the premier 3G networks and are bound to have the best 4G networks too. Still, the other carriers have adequate 3G networks that get the job done with some issues. The other networks won’t have 4G networks that are all that great or even an improvement upon the 3G networks by a wide margin. Therefore, you should consider your mobile carrier. Verizon and AT&T have amazing 3G networks, so users who want 4G might not want to switch just yet.

3G Versus 4G

As of right now, most people don’t need to switch from 3G to 4G, but newcomers to smartphones and networks have some thought to put into the choice. Data-intensive users will need 4G capabilities, but price-wary buyers should stick with 3G. Each carrier’s 4G network needs more time to develop to reach a huge number of people across the nation, but 3G networks are fully developed already. Either way, 3G and 4G will exist with each other for the foreseeable future. Most people will eventually want to make the switch though.

For more information, visit 3G Versus 4G, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T Wireless.