Opportunity Cost

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What’s the Difference Between 3G and 4G LTE Speeds?

Verizon’s 4G LTE network is fast, making mobile Internet use pretty painless. But how did this revolution in Internet speeds come about? By building on 3G technology, which truly changed the way we connect and communicate, 4G speeds have become the new necessity for anyone with a smartphone or tablet.

What is 3G?

3G is shorthand for “3rd generation,” and refers to a networking standard in cell phone technology that is capable of providing high-speed data service to mobile devices. As 3G wireless networks became more widespread, you could finally connect to and use the Internet at practical speeds (with a 3G-enabled smartphone), which far surpassed those of the previous generation of mobile phone technology (called 1X).

Verizon’s 3G network paved the way for a world that’s almost forgotten phones were once used merely for voice calls and text messaging. A world where it’s perfectly ordinary to download huge chunks of information to your phone from the Internet, to stream audio and video to people thousands of miles away, and to effortlessly, wirelessly pass large multimedia files to a co-worker.

Indeed, it was 3G that made smartphones truly feasible. In doing so, it changed the way millions of people communicate, and set the stage for even more advanced mobile technologies such as 4G.

What is 4G?

In one word: fast!

To be technical, 4G stands for “4th generation” mobile data protocol. But as a growing band of 4G users will tell you, it’s all about the speed. Now, what is 4G LTE?  LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. It’s a term used for the particular 4G protocol that delivers the fastest mobile Internet experience. Some experts even refer to it as “true 4G.” A 4G LTE network is therefore one that operates at the leading edge of speed and reliability.

Using a 4G smartphone on Verizon’s 4G LTE network means you can download files from the Internet up to 10 times faster than with 3G. With 4G LTE, using the web from your phone becomes as pleasurable as using it from your home computer.

To join the 4G revolution, you need to have a smartphone that is configured to work with a 4G network and a mobile plan like MORE Everything. All 4G phones offered by Verizon will work with its 4G LTE network, the largest in the U.S. These phones will connect automatically with the 4G LTE network, but they can also connect to and use the 3G network (at 3G speed) in places where 4G LTE service is not yet available.

So there you have it. 3G speeds laid the groundwork for our increasingly mobile lifestyle, but 4G speeds are truly taking “mobile” to the next level.

Reference:

 Insider’s Guide by Verizon Wireless, (2012). What Is 3G? What Is 4G? | Differences Between 3G and 4G. [online] Available at: https://www.verizonwireless.com/insiders-guide/tech-smarts/what-is-3g-what-is-4g-lte-difference/ [Accessed 8 May. 2014].

 

Socio-Economic Benefits of 3G and 4G Spectrum in Pakistan

Mobile broadband data services (generally known as 3G/4G) are regarded as a contributing factors in economic and social development. Unfortunately, successive governments in Pakistan kept delaying 3G license auction owing to their misplaced priorities and certain bureaucratic barriers. Now, when we are heading towards a formal auction in April, it would be interesting to learn the economic and social impact of 3G/4G service in Pakistan.

Economic Dimension:

Pakistan has over 129.6 million mobile subscribers that make the teledensitiy above 75%. Despite this high-penetration of cellular services, we are unable to access high speed internet service and rely on GPRS. In August 2013, Plum Consulting conducted a study, which concluded that 3G license auction could benefit Pakistan in terms of GDP growth, employment creation, boosted business activities, enhanced organizational productivity and lot more.

The report concluded that:

  • 3G could result in additional GDP value (net present value terms) between PKR 380 billion and PKR 1,180 billion up to 2020.
  • The government can generate around PKR 23 billion to 70 billion additional tax revenue (the amount depends upon the technology penetration scenarios)
  • If the next spectrum licenses are issued today, they can yield up to 900,000 new jobs till 2018.
  • Immediate revenue from 2.1GHz award can be in between 100 to 180 billion Pakistani rupees.
  • Further delay in license auction could cost the GDP a loss of 5 billion rupees per month up to the next 7 years OR revenue loss of PKR 300 million per month.

In Indonesia, (fairly comparable economy) mobile broadband services helped e-commerce grow by 56% between 2006 and 2011 with an average of 11% per annum. We can expect a similar trend in Pakistan too.

For businesses 3G is more than mere a next generation technology. It can renovate business models, improve standard operating procedures, boost up innovation, and create multiple employment opportunities. There are many sectors like IT, micro-finance, SME, retail, health, education, and IT services that can take advantage of the high speed internet.

Social Dimension:

I would just pick agriculture, education, health, and microfinance as example. 3G can positive impact the stated areas as briefly described below.

Pakistan, land’s productivity per canal is way lower than many developing economies because the farmers lack access to information, resources, finance, and right solutions. To address this challenge, we can learn a lot from the Indian experience of e-Choupal initiative. There, mobile broadband helps farmers update their information, knowledge and expertise in various agri-related fields. Internet kiosks and 3G supportive devices can educate farmers about various products, new cultivation techniques, weather updates, and prices of different items. In addition, they can reach out national/global market to sell their products on competitive prices.

In education and healthcare, 3G can be enormously beneficial. Punjab government’s ‘Dengue Tracking System’ received global praise owing to its role in dengue control. However, the very mobile program could have been more effective with 3G. Same is the case with recently launched Punjab Spot Price mobile application. Similarly, internet can improve education by enhancing remote communication and providing teaching/training material. Particularly, 3G can be a blessing for rural area teachers and students. They can access training resources, teaching material, guides and learning material via portable devices.

Microfinance is another area, where all cellular operators are already in. The microfinance sector showed a resilient growth of 38% in 2013, indicating that future is bright. With 3G/4G technology, 82% unbanked Pakistanis will have access to financial services on their mobile devices. This will greatly benefit the rural population and introduce a culture of saving and investment.

In short, access to 3G/4G can improve standard of primary and secondary education, empower population, provide access to micro-finance, deliver desired information, open up business opportunities, and improve business/govt. outreach to the public.

Akbar, T. (2014). Socio-Economic Benefits of 3G and 4G Spectrum in Pakistan. [online] Moremag.pk. Available at: http://www.moremag.pk/2014/03/31/socio-economic-benefits-of-3g-and-4g-spectrum-in-pakistan/ [Accessed 8 May. 2014].

The writer, Tahir Akbar, is a business graduate from GCU Lahore and currently working as Digital Marketing Manager at E Display Inc.