What Does the G in 4G Actually Stand For? More About 4G and How it Works

Sara Nuss
December 22, 2022

Internet and data access for cell phones is essential nowadays, and luckily it surrounds us everywhere that we go. You, for the most part, can’t go anywhere without either having access to cellular data through a carrier’s network that you have a cell phone plan through, or having access to the internet at any business, or big area you’re in. 

Now that we have 5G access, it’s important to recognize that with older smartphones, lots of people may not have access to it, so instead they can take advantage of 4G LTE. Have you ever thought about 4G and what the “G” actually stands for? Maybe it has a meaning to give us more insight into how it works, so why don’t we discuss that ASAP!

If you are curious like we are and want to know more about 4G and what exactly the “G” stands for, then come check out what we found out and learn more about 4G and how it works too!

In this article, we’ll be talking a lot about cellular internet access, data access, and so much more, especially when it comes to 4G. We’ll also be discussing the following:

  • What exactly is 4G data?
  • What does the “G” in 4G stand for?
  • How much longer do we have using 4G before 5G takes over?

What Exactly is 4G Data?

Have you ever wondered what 4G is and how it works? Here is what you need to know now!

Understanding 4G data and how it works is essential so you know why it works the way that it does with your smartphone. Image courtesy of Canlink

Have you ever thought about what exactly 4G is? We’ve heard of it plenty of times because of the way it allows us access to the internet to be able to catch up on social media, stay in touch with loved ones, and also to help us stay in touch with our businesses and employees as well.

There is a lot of depth that goes into 4G data and what it really is, and it’s something that’s important to understand. Here is what you need to know right away!

What is 4G?

Are you wondering what 4G actually is? It is a broadband of cellular network technology that succeeds 2G and 3G. It is stronger and works much better, providing faster speeds and so much more. Where it stands right now, it is the predecessor of 5G, which currently provides the world’s strongest and faster data speeds. 

4G was defined by the International Telecommunication Union, or the ITU for short, and they are in charge of specifying the speed that 4G runs on and all of the characteristics that correspond with it. They have helped to make 4G exactly what it is today including the speeds that it runs on, where people can access it on all of their devices throughout the world, and so more. 

Each generation of data speeds, meaning 2G, 3G, 4G, and now 5G each have their own bandwidth speeds and network capacity that clearly define how they work and run. You may be wondering what speeds that 4G runs on and it is around 100 MBPS, which is a significant difference with 3G, which only runs at 14 MBPS. 

How Does 4G Work?

Have you ever stopped to think about just how 4G really works? While you can think that this may be difficult to understand, it’s fairly simple. 4G works by using high-speed upload and download packets, which provides top-speed data access to a customer’s mobile device, tablet, or laptop.

You could also refer to 4G, or any type of network, even 5G as a radio system where 4G signals are broadcasted throughout the country to help give customers that have cell phone plans the fastest high-speed data that they can get. It can help smartphones run just like PC computers, giving them the boost that they need to work to the best of their ability.

Where Did 4G Get its Start?

Since we’re talking about 4G, you may be wondering how it got its start and when it was the time to retire 2G and 3G and move onto something bigger and better. 4G was founded around 2008 by the International Mobile Telecommunications - Advanced, or the IMT-Advanced. 4G is the first form of data that has been able to run speeds up to 100 MBPS, which was unheard of compared to what it originally surpassed.

Then came 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and 4G WIMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access). While Sprint picked WIMAX and Verizon Wireless chose LTE, overtime people could see the difference between the two. 

The main difference between 4G LTE and 4G WIMAX is that 4G LTE is able to give its customers a wider service that is available in all parts of the world, which is great for people who love to travel. 4G WIMAX is still available, but it isn’t as common, but it does work in areas where cellular service isn’t as available. 

What Devices Use 4G Data?

We’re sure that you may be wondering what devices of yours could be using or could use 4G data and utilize the speeds that they have to offer. Almost all devices nowadays have the ability to use 4G data and this can be anything from smartphones, tablets, laptops and so much more.

Every cell phone carrier uses 4G as well where nowadays they are slowly moving 5G data into the picture where on all of the newer devices you are able to use it, but you still have access to 4G if 5G data isn’t available. All of the big phone carriers use it as well, such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and even all of the MVNOs that the large carriers are parents to.

What Does the “G” Stand For in 4G?

Have you ever thought about what the “G” in 4G stands for? Here’s all of the information that you need to know!

Understanding more about the realm of data speeds, how they work, and even something as simple as what does the “G” in 4G stand for is important. Image courtesy of Digi International

Are you someone who owns a smartphone and multiple other devices and want to learn a little bit more about the different data speeds available? We all know that 3G is slowly being weeded out of many big carriers, so what is left is 4G LTE and 5G. These are the top data speeds that are out right now, but knowing more about what they are and what they stand for can be an interesting concept as a cell phone user. 

Have you ever thought about what the “G” stands for in 4G? If you have ever wondered about it, then here is what you need to know!

The “G” Means Something Very Simple

Have you thought about what the “G” in 4G stands for? Simply, it stands for “generation”, meaning that 4G is the fourth generation of network technology that is out and this is applied to even 5G, where it is the fifth generation of data speeds. 

With each generation that comes with data speeds, the better the cellular network technology, and the expansion of the capacity of the broadband network that is available. This also comes with faster speeds and the ability for more devices to use it.

What Are the Characteristics of 4G?

It’s also important to highlight the many amazing characteristics that come from 4G data and what it can do across all different kinds of devices. The successes of 4G are incredible since it was a huge game changer when it comes to people using data—with how fast it ran and the technological advances that came with it.

Since there are a lot of characteristics regarding what makes 4G so incredible when it comes to high-speed data, it’s essential to discuss them just in case some people don’t know.

Some of the important characteristics to highlight with how incredible 4G is consists of:

  • High-speed and capacity
  • Low cost per bit used
  • Runs 20 MBPS up to 100 MBPS
  • Global mobile networks available
  • Multi-hop and ad hoc networks available
  • Better download speeds
  • Higher bandwidth
  • Easier access to all parts of the internet
  • High voice quality

4G, besides the recent up-and-coming 5G high-speed data that has come out recently, still has a ton to offer everyone who is actively using their smartphone, tablet, laptop, and so much more. Getting familiar with 4G, its characteristics, and how it works and runs can show just how well the fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology can run.

How Long Do We Have to Use 4G Before 5G Takes Over?

Thinking about how long 4G has left is essential for a ton of reasons and more!

5G may be the newest and best generation of broadband cellular network technology out there, but with 4G still around, it’s important to get an idea of how long it will last. Image courtesy of Association for Psychological Science

Are you wondering how long your 4G LTE cell phone will last you when it comes to the new and recent rise of 5G high-speed data that all of the latest smartphones are getting? It is important to get an idea of what will work best for you budget-wise when it comes to potentially getting a new phone in the next few years.

For some people, the thought of switching to a new cell phone is not something they’re thinking of right now, but they’re worried they’ll have to switch before it’s too late.

If you are someone who is curious as to how long you have left until you have to completely switch over to a 5G phone, then here is what you need to know!

How Long Has 4G Been Out?

Something that is important to discuss is how long 4G has been out so we can get an idea of maybe how much longer we have with it until we have to make the permanent switch to 5G. To put it into perspective, 3G was first released and introduced in 2001 and has lasted up until 2022 where a lot of big phone carriers are dropping it by the end of the year. 

So far, 4G has been around since 2008 and is still going strong in 2022 where 5G was first introduced in 2017, but there weren’t mobile networks for it until around 2019. Since the latest cell phones that have been coming out are mainly known for using 5G’s amazing high-speed data, wherever 5G still isn’t available, 4G data will be available to the user. 

Will 4G Last For Much Longer?

Are you stressing out about making sure that you get the newest and latest cell phone that can use 5G because you’re afraid that yours, that doesn’t use 5G, won’t work for much longer? We understand how this can be a big concern for a lot of people, but it’s important to know how long 4G will last before making any kind of decision where you need to spend a lot of money on a brand new cell phone.

At the rate that we are going, 4G is not going away any time soon. It is predicted that 4G will last until around 2030 even though 5G networks are rapidly growing as we speak. This is due to the fact that 5G networks were not designed to eliminate and replace 4G, but to actually work together with 4G. 

By 2024, it is said that only half of Americans will have access to 5G whether it’s due to the smartphone that they currently have, where they live in the country, or even what carrier they have a cell phone plan through.

Your current cell phone that may use only 4G data will continue to have access to 4G for a very long time and even with the newest cell phones that continue to come out, they will continue to use both 4G and 5G. 

What Carriers Are Using 5G?

Are you wondering what carriers are currently using 5G? Well, you may be surprised to know that all of them for the most part are utilizing high-speed 5G data and allowing their customers to gain access to just how truly amazing it is. You may be wondering what carrier does have it though and what places or cities around the country it is offered.

Let’s do a breakdown of the carriers that currently have 5G data and where they offer it around the country right away!

  • Verizon Wireless: Their 5G Ultra-Wideband currently offers the most widespread use of 5G around the country, which includes locations in 34 cities in the United States.
  • AT&T: The 5G coverage at AT&T is limited to only ten major cities in the United States at this time. 
  • T-Mobile: T-Mobile is known for how incredible their high-speed 5G data runs and it is predicted that if you have a cell phone plan with them, you and around 200 million other Americans will be able to have access to 5G data.

If your city currently does not have access to 5G data, don’t worry because the use of 5G and the carriers that currently have it are able to give access to their customers in other cities as time goes on. More and more cities are getting 5G access so if you’re excited for it, just know it will be there before you know it!

4G will continue to be around for many more years, at least a decade, which is great for people who are not looking to get a new cell phone right away. While the newest iPhone, Samsung, Google phone, and Motorola smartphones may seem appealing, they can be expensive, especially if you’re just looking to get 5G data.

Luckily, 4G will stick around for a long time and now knowing what the “G” in 4G stands for can help you to get a little bit of insight.

Make sure that you know all about 4G data and what it can do for you when it comes to using any of your devices. The fourth generation is significant when it comes to using data on your smartphone in the year 2022, and how long we have until 5G takes over!

Sara Nuss
Sara Nuss is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in wireless, dewi, phone plan advice & blockchain.