How Fast is 4G Network?

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What is 4G and what sets it apart from its predecessors? To answer your question, 4G lets you enjoy broadband-like speed on your smartphone. Which in part ensures seamless multimedia and gaming experience.

Is 4G Faster Than its Predecessors?

In the Tech industry, if we see something getting faster or smaller, we interpret it as progress. Another myth that you might have is, the G in 3G or 4G implies speed. 

In Reality, how a generation uses the spectrum to push packages determines its generation. This is why speed doesn’t directly correlate with the digit placed before ‘G’. Also, each generation comes with inherent speed limitations.

We have an international governing body which sets the specifications for any given generation-The International Telecommunication Union. And it requires 4G services to transmit data at roughly 100 megabytes per second for high-mobility communication(bus, cars.). Similarly, 1 gigabyte per second for low mobility communication(home, office). Unfortunately, in real-world 4G speed fluctuate and vary depending on many factors. Among them, the carrier you are using is a major factor. There are four major carriers in the US-Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Do research before picking your internet provider.

What Affects Internet Speed?

The most unwanted reason is adverse weather condition. Additionally, the speed depends on the location of the tower and the carrier as a whole. Also, it can drastically slow down if you have multiple apps running on your phone or are in a poor signal zone. And lastly, interference by other devices can also impact the speed.

Comparing 3G and 4G

What is 4G?

4G is a major upgrade from its predecessor-3G. But is it faster than 3G? Yes, it is! The speeds are roughly 10 times faster on a 4G network than a 3G network. It is an important milestone because now you can get faster speed on smartphones than on a computer or laptop.

Real-world and Theoretical speeds

Internet speed depends heavily on your surrounding. That is why there are two estimation methods.

When you are using a network in a controlled environment with perfect conditions you can estimate the Theoretical Speeds. Naturally, the theoretical speed is much speedier than the other approach-Real World Speed. When you will be using a device connected to a certain real-life network, you can expect to reach the Real-World Speeds. 

Let’s see how two variations of the 4G network rank in terms of Download and Upload Speed.


  • Typical download speed 20Mbps
  • Theoretical maximum of 150Mbps.
  • Typical upload speed 8Mbps
  • Theoretical maximum of 50Mbps.

4G LTE-Advanced

  • Typical download speed 42Mbps
  • Theoretical maximum of 300Mbps.
  • Typical download speed 3Mbps
  • Theoretical maximum of 150Mbps.

Disclaimer-The data above can vary depending on various factors. In fact, leading nations in the communication sector are struggling to reach the 50Mbps limit with a 4G network.

Comparing Speeds on a 3G Network

For a better picture, you might want to look at the specs of a 3G network.

3G Network

  • Real-World Download Speed- 3Mbps 
  • Theoretical maximum download speed-7.2Mbps. 
  • Real-World Upload Speed -0.4Mbps
  • Theoretical Upload speed for-2Mbps.    


  • Download Speed of 6Mbps
  • Theoretical Maximum Download Speed of 42Mbps.
  • Upload Speed of 3Mbps
  • Theoretical Maximum Upload Speed of 42Mbps.

What Else Sets 4G Apart from 3G?


Think of this as the response time. If you are using a device connected to a 4G network you will enjoy faster loading compared to a 3G network connection. In a 4G network, the response time has reduced from 80 milliseconds(3G/3G HSPA+) to 45 milliseconds(4G).

Countries with the Best 4G network

According to OpenSignal-many countries are struggling to go beyond the speed limit of a 50Mbps on a 4G network. The website also argues that even though speed has become stagnant, reach and coverage has increased significantly. In short, more areas are now connected to the network.

They have collected data from leading nations in the communications sector. And according to their findings, although the theoretical speed for 4G LTE is more than 50Mbps, the average speed is stuck at 45Mbps. But then again, there have been some regional exceptions. Most notably the Netherlands and Spain have seen an increase in network speed.

Now let’s judge nations on how available they have made mobile internet to users. The country that topped the list is South Korea. People have a rough 97.49% network access rate.

Click to see the complete chart.

Bonus! How can you get faster speed

Don’t get confused with all the numbers. It is very natural that you won’t reach the internet speeds that major companies so proudly advertise. Instead, try this. Take your smartphone and run speed tests from your home, in your office, on the streets and then calculate the average. You can click here to test your internet speed. Also, please share your findings with us!

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