4G to speed up the Web for 10m people, pump £75bn into UK

Orange and T-Mobile say 4G will give superfast broadband to at least 10 million people who can't currently get decent Internet speeds.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

4G will give superfast broadband to at least 10 million people who can't get decent Internet speeds any other way, according to the people behind Orange and T-Mobile.

The two phone companies are owned by Everything Everywhere, which plans to establish a superfast LTE mobile broadband network before the end of the year. Everything Everywhere reckons this new speeded-up mobile Internet connection, marketed as 4G, will reach millions of people and add billions to the British economy.

New independent research commissioned by Everything Everywhere estimates that 4G has the potential to add £75bn to our GDP, the market value of all the goods and services produced in this country. 125,000 jobs will be created or kept because of 4G, and £5.5bn will be invested in the UK.

Whatever the economic effects, 4G certainly has the potential to bring a decent Web experience to many who are currently missing out, such as those in rural areas.

Sarah Lee of the Countryside Alliance argues that: "A lack of mobile signal and broadband in the countryside continues to be one of the biggest headaches for households and businesses alike. In a digital age, the need for mobile and broadband networks is just as important as the need for gas, electricity and water... We must ensure that there is a mobile and broadband network that meets the needs of rural people."

Press play on our video below to see how 4G is already having an impact on the lives of those in rural Britain:

Not everybody's happy about 4G, though. The British phone networks are locked in a squabble over who gets access to what bits of the radio frequency spectrum that will carry 4G signals, set to be auctioned off later in the year. Telecoms watchdog Ofcom has given the thumbs-up to Everything Everywhere's plan, but has extended the time available for rival networks to challenge the 4G plan.

Oh and there's the small matter of LTE not actually being 4G, as the technology being labelled 4G by phone companies is technically somewhere around 3.5G. We're referring to it as 4G because it seems to be becoming accepted as such, but we'll continue to note the difference between what's being labelled as 4G and what is true 4G.

Advertising watchdogs have also been looking closely at Apple's 4G claims for the new iPad. To find out more about souped-up speeds, check out our guide to data speeds on the new iPad in the UK.

Are you excited about 4G? Will a 4G network be good for you and the British economy? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.