Many of us, especially the younger generations, might find it hard to believe that not so long ago (wayyy back in the eighties) the average mobile phone was so big and bulky it could barely fit in your pocket.
IF it fitted at all! Back then activities like Internet browsing, social networking and instant messaging were almost unheard of.
Thankfully, those days are now behind us. Over the years telecoms providers around the globe have transformed our modes of communication with the help of a new generation of high-speed wireless technologies.
In the process, terms like 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G have emerged and this has stirred up lots of debate about what it all means.
Why do some mobile operators call their networks 4G? How is a 4G network different from one that uses the 2G or 3G standard? Which of them is better and faster?
To grasp the significance of these Gs, it is important to understand how we got here. “G” stands for “generation,” so when you hear someone talking about a “4G network,” they’re referring to a wireless network based on fourth-generation technology.
The start of mobile data
The first type of mobile telephony standard emerged in the early 1970’s, and lasted until the early 90’s. Initially the focus was on developing a portable phone for the masses that would allow them make voice calls without having to be based at their homes or offices.
This evolved into modern mobile phone products and analog mobile communication networks now known as the first generation of mobile communications.
Like most people, you’re probably more familiar with the second generation (2G) mobile standard which is still in use today. It’s known as the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). This standard allows for easy connection of global systems and also makes roaming easier. It offers improved sound quality, better security and higher total capacity.
Over 700 mobile operators across the globe are GSM operators. LIME rolled out GSM in 2003 starting with Jamaica, followed by the other LIME territories in the region.
Unlike first generation telephony which is analog and voice-centric, GSM is digital. it has opened the doors to the wireless transmission of data. Short Messaging Service (SMS), or text messaging, was the first data transmission on GSM. It is still one of the most popular methods of data communication via mobile.
On the Road to 3G
Out of the GSM standard emerged GPRS and EDGE. These two popular modes of data communication further paved the way for access to Internet browsing, emails and social networking sites like Twitter, MSN, Skype, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) services like the LIME portal where you can download ringtones and cool apps while on the go. They also ushered in a new wave of handsets with greater style and elegance, and allowed for the easy use of data services.
Nowadays, we live in a fast-paced world with an increasing need for faster and easier access to information. This demand is being driven by customers seeking more bandwidth and greater performance than ever before. They want to have speed in the palm of their hands that is on par with their connections at home or at their place of work.
Business executives and professionals also expect the same high-speed access and high-quality performance so that they can access data on the go, and for activities like downloading image-heavy attachments, video streaming and file sharing. Such activities require increased bandwidth.
This has led to a further redesign of mobile-data communication devices, including Netbooks, tablets, iPads and smartphones with larger screens that are ideal for video streaming, gaming and rich multimedia.
3G technology was designed to deliver speeds of up to 2 Mbps on mobile downloads. Now the need for even greater speed has given rise to the Fourth Generation of mobile technology (4G).
4G – the Game Changer
4G technology allows you to enjoy faster data speeds, watch videos at blazing speeds, simultaneously browse the web while making a call, send email, download photos, apps and music at lightning speeds, conduct videoconferences on 4G-enabled phones, plus much more.
It succeeds the 2G and 3G families of standards and includes HSPA+ (Evolved High Speed Packet Access) and Long Term Evolution (LTE) technologies. LIME’s 4G network is based on the HSPA+ technology and offers customers a much faster mobile data experience.
When in an HSPA+ (4G) coverage area with a suitable HSPA+ (4G) device LIME’s 4G allows for shared download/upload speeds of up to 60 times faster. With the launch of 4G, LIME customers can now look forward to many new consumer and business applications in the near future, including mobile TV, video-on-demand, video conferencing, tele-medicine, vehicle tracking, remote meter reading, security, remote video broadcasting, remote access to office networks and many more.
4G networks offer the ultimate mobile experience, giving customers real freedom away from their offices or homes and allowing them to access voice and high-speed data communications anytime, anywhere.
LIME has chosen the evolutionary path of the GSM network to give customers the freedom to experience and enjoy the benefits of the most advanced network technology in the world. GSM is the global standard adopted by mobile operators worldwide. Currently more than 100 operators in over 60 countries support HSPA+, the standard evolved from GSM.
Is this the end of the evolution for mobile data? We think not! Variants of these standards have already been developed with the aim of delivering speeds of up to 100 Mbps to mobile handsets and roving mobile networks and up to 1Gbps to fixed devices on mobile networks.
LIME will continue to follow this GSM evolution to deliver the speeds and world-class devices that our customers demand, and which are necessary to increase productivity levels for our business customers, and for supporting our people’s social lifestyle.