EE is not required to lease its 4G Services until September 2013, so I would suspect that from September 2013 onwards you might see Virgin Media starting to offer some 4G Services using EE's Network - I know for a fact that 3 Mobile will be signing up to use EE's 4G Network as soon as leasing is allowed!
I would greatly assume so, but let's hope they're better priced than EE's current line-up!
The difference between 2G and 3G is HUGE, but this time the difference between 3G and 4G is simply a faster speed...therefore people aren't that crazy to take it up like they were with 3G.
Can I live without 3G? No
Can I live without 4G? Yes - 3G is far from dead, some networks such as 3 Mobile are even upgrading their 3G Network in certain areas to DC-HSPDA (Dual-Channel High Speed Downlink Packet Access) which is like the old ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) from BT before Broadband came along, whereby the Handset is equipped with 2 Aerials which effectively means your 3G Speed is double the speed!
However, having said all that I would now not own a non-4G Handset as my main phone anymore because if 4G Prices become sensible then I will certainly considering upgrading...but there's no hurry for 4G in my corner.
EE is far too expensive for what is, essentially, a faster 3G Experience!
Personally i'm happy on 3's newly updated DC-HSDPA+ masts, I get around 12mb/s speeds even during peak hours on a truely unlimited & unthrottled package (one package), and it costs me no more a month.
Using a 3 dongle with a 15gb allowance and capable of upto 21mbps, I can sometimes obtain 16mbps,from the same mast which is roughly the same as Sky's landline package, in a Derbyshire rural area which will never see fibre and normally only gives a maximum of 512kb - 1mb over a fixed BT landline.
Technically, I no longer need the '3' dongle as the one package allows unlimited tethering, but it does seem to give a bit of extra speed, probably as it tends to get a better signal.
3 also seem to be rolling out DC-HSDPA far quicker than EE is rolling out 4G, especially into the local villages and small towns. I suspect these types of places won't see 4G until 2014 / 5
The networks also generally excuse their pathetic low monthly 'gb' allowances on the basis that the majority of their mobile customers only use 500mb to 1gb a month in bandwidth, which again begs the question of whether 4G will ever become popular and why the majority of consumers with such occasional / light data use would pay a premium for a faster speed which they probably won't notice anyway, especially when using low demand services.
It would seem to me that anybody using <1gb a month is not streaming hours of HD video or catching up with Iplayer, and therefore probably won't gain anything over using 4G to replace their current 3G service, other than novelty value.
Besides if Virgin continue its attitude to reducing its FUP as its done recently on its 3G service, what is the point of having 4G speeds with a 3.5gb allowance before throttling kicks in?. Exactly how much speed do you need to write "I am getting on the bus" on facebook / twitter? - the type of low demand social networking user which VM seems to be targetting, as indicated by the drastic reduction of its current FUP.
well said Chris! Some people maybe feel they need 4G speeds to update their facebook status.
As for people only using 500MB-1GB, this is because people are scared to go over their 1GB limit so tend to try not to use it, i noticed this when i had T-Mobile pay as you go sim and loaded 1GB onto it because my Three phone was out of battery and i needed the data. I tried as much as i could not to use the data.
On the other hand, when people know they are free to use it as they please usage goes up because you are not scared, this is why around 50% of all mobile data traffic goes through Three.
Yes I think that is one reason why 4G is falling flat on its face. The only time that 4G comes into its own is for streaming TV and other HD media content however the pathetic (and overpriced) bundle allowances currently on offer from EE make this difficult to do, at least no more than a handful of times every month.
Therefore people are pretty much still only able to do what they normally would do on their restricted 3G tariffs - i.e regular updates of their facebook and Twitter.
I have no idea how much bandwidth a paragraph of text contents, probably a few kb at the very most, and hell lets be honest here, this would only take a second to upload even on EDGE!.
I seriously doubt that the human brain is even able to distinguish the difference in speed between a very basic average speed HSDPA 3G connection and 4G LTE when doing low demand activities such as social networking, therefore they are unlikely to be willing to pay a premium for it, and thats also before considering the huge expense or the new, long expensive contract required in order to update their dongles or phones to be able to take advantage of 4G in the first place.
I reckon a lot of current 4G subscribers are those who need fast data for their job and whose employers are footing the bill, or who have to have it "because all of their mates do".
Personally, the 12 - 16mbps I get from Three on their DC-HSDPA enabled mast is roughly the same as a friend gets on their Sky unlimited landline package, and it costs me no more to get than regular 3G, and I didn't need any large investment to get it. In addition, from the speeds which some 4G subscribers profess to get in some areas, ( i've read posts saying that some people are only getting 18 to 22 mbps from their 4G service in some places) Its probably not a difference large enough to justify the extra dough to leave DC-HSDPA to go to 4G.
Personally I think companies like Virgin should concentrate on getting their 3G in order, because lets face it, that's where many of their customer base is going to remain, at least whilst 4G remains out of the price range of most subscribers, and is a technology superfluous to most low to medium users with access to home broadband services and Wi-Fi in any case.
I think 4G is going to end up being a big expensive white Elephant, at least until somebody like Three rolls it out and offers a 4G unlimited package at a reasonable price.