Most of the major networks have now announced their 4G pricing models. They vary a little but, with one notable exception, there is a premium for the new technology as well as limits.
Data is the new king. No longer do we want more and more texts bundled in or vast amounts of minutes. Many of us simply don’t use our phones for phoning people. What we really want is data and lots of it.
I don’t regard myself as a really heavy user but a quick glance at the stats on my phone reveal that whilst I have used less than 300 minutes in the last month I have used nearly 8GB data (wi-fi and mobile combined). Regular readers will know that our editor Dan Carter can use that in a day!
The mobile world is all about apps and an ever increasing number of apps are making use of the cloud, storing files remotely, device synchronisation and streaming media.
This additional cloud usage of course leads to a major dependency on one thing – a data connection.
Be it 4G, HSDPA+, HSDPA, or 3G a connection is required. Google maps, Drive, email, YouTube, streaming radio, news apps and so on and so on, the list of apps that require some sort of omnipresent connection is endless.
I live in a large and growing town. We have excellent 4G, HSDPA+ and 3G connections on all of the major networks where they support it. Sure there are some glitches with indoor connections being weaker on some networks or tiny little blackspots but overall coverage is very very good as it is in most population centres.
Travel some 30 minutes outside of this however and the picture becomes different.
Last week I was in Scotland, my second visit in a matter of weeks. Scotland really is a beautiful part of the UK that has one major issue. Mobile network coverage.
I wasn’t in one of the major cities or even a big town but I wasn’t exactly in the middle of nowhere either.
I was only around 15 miles from a relatively large city and could only get a 2G signal.
In one respect this was great. On holiday with little to no access to the internet, email or any other distraction and with views to die for, what could be better? All well and good but try and fire up Google Maps with a 2G connection and see how far you get.
This issue was a recurring theme for our entire holiday unless we visited a large town where a 3G connection came alive – briefly.
Now the networks in this country are not new. They have had plenty of time to develop their infrastructure and charge us handsomely for using the pleasure of using them. So why can a decent internet connection be maintained outside of a big town or city?
The operators claims vary from 97% of the UK covered to 99% of the UK poulation covered however a quick check of the coverage maps show some rather large white areas.
Not really much good for a Google maps connection, a backup to iCloud or BBC iPlayer or in fact any of those services that depend on a data connection.
My experience has led me to question if I really want superfast, ultrafast, 4G or any other ridiculously quick connection or just a working one?
The answer is simple. I want my expensive handset and the facilities that I pay for to work wherever I am in the country. Whether I am 2500 ft above sea level or in the middle of London, I want to be able to open a document in Google drive, backup whatever photo I have just taken or share my experience with the world.
EE, BT, O2, Vodafone, Three and anyone else who may join in, please stop boasting that you have the fastest, biggest or whatever else and concentrate on bringing EVERYONE full coverage, no matter where they are.
It is what we pay for after all.