3G Vs 4G - Which is Better?

Pros and Cons of the 3G and 4G Networks

Most mobile phones and smartphones still run the 3G network, both for voice and data access. 3G is also used by some of the biggest carriers and, in spite of the advent of 4G, still, manages to retain its popularity.​​

  • Fast enough for plenty of uses.

  • Wider spread availability.

  • Supported by older devices.

  • May be more stable.

  • Considerably faster.

  • Better for data intensive tasks, like streaming video.

  • Wider range.

  • Improved security.

4G, which has also become the standard for wireless communication, also has its share of loyal customers in some pockets of the world. While 3G itself is very fast, 4G is already said to be 3-4 times faster. 5G will likely replace both of them soon enough.

Of course, like everything else, both the 3G and 4G networks have their pros and cons. Here is a detailed analysis of 3G vs 4G.

This article is here primarily for archival purposes. 3G is a legacy technology, and 4G is the most widely available wireless standard with 5G making its debut.

3G vs 4G

3G Networks

  • 3G offers much faster data transfers than 2G.

  • Fast enough for GPS.

  • Powerful enough for standard definition multimedia.

  • Enough bandwidth for visual voicemail apps.

  • Can handle some mobile games.

  • Apps for mobile TV, IM and video chatting.

  • Significantly slower than 4G

  • Also, though 3G users have the facility of enjoying video conferencing sessions, performance will be lacking.

  • 3G can't handle HD streaming.

Generally, 3G is fast enough for most things you'd want to do on your phone. It's significantly faster than the previous generation 2G standard, and it's capable of delivering speeds up to 2Mbps. Now, that might not seem like much, but basic uses, like web browsing and social media, don't usually require much bandwidth to begin with.

3G also offers enough bandwidth for key app functionality. GPS falls well within the bandwidth range of 3G. The same can be said for lower resolution multimedia streaming. That includes video chatting, graphics, and animation.

In addition, the basic functionality that you'd expect from your phone, like calling and sending text messages, will work smoothly on 3G as well.

With all of that said, 3G is still slow by today's standards. It can't compete with 4G and 4G LTE in terms of speed, let alone 5G. As app developers continually take advantage of the increasing capabilities of newer phones, 3G will not be able to handle the amount of data apps require to function normally. Generally speaking, 3G is best reserved as a fallback for calling and text messages.

4G networks

  • 4G offers is very good for advanced mobile services such as video and movie streaming.

  • Unlike WiFi, 4G has far expanded coverage.

  • Enhances safety and privacy of data.

  • You can choose from wide payment options.

  • Widely available.

  • Still is not available in many locations of the world.

  • Some areas may experience bugs or glitches.

  • The devices are significantly more expensive.

4G offers a significant increase in speed and bandwidth over 3G. In short, it does everything that 3G can, only better and more of it. 4G was built for streaming video, and it excels at streaming. 4G has enough power to handle streaming video in HD, including services, like Netflix, and video messaging apps, like Facetime.

4G also features security enhancements. Because so many people put such large portions of their lives on their phones, added security is always a benefit. It actually benefits businesses as well, providing a more secure alternative to WiFi.

4G's coverage is widespread and relatively complete. In fact, there aren't many areas that don't have available 4G coverage. Again, this is an advantage over other wireless options, like WiFi, with a limited range.

4G devices come with a significant price increase over their 3G predecessors. This added cost can be a deterrent, but many providers are offering low-cost devices and others offer payment plans.

Even though 4G is widely available, it still isn't available everywhere, and connectivity in some places, you may experience disruptions and spotty service.

Final Verdict: 4G is the Clear Winner

In conclusion, both 3G and 4G networking have a great deal to offer in terms of speed and quality. 4G technology has caught on and has become the primary connectivity technology, Go with 4G until 5G becomes prevalent.