3 has one up on 4G rivals

As O2, Vodafone and 3 all prepare to offer 4G data connection to their customers by the end of 2013, the matter of data usage has become an issue.

The networks will join EE in offering 4G, but 3 will be the only network to allow customers to sign up to unlimited data contracts. Most entry-level 4G contracts start at around £36 a month for 500MB.

4G provides data connections five times faster than its predecessor, 3G, allowing users to watch videos, stream music and download files more quickly. It will however, use up more data.

EE claims its average network speed is up to 12Mbits/sec, which theoretically means users could exceed a 500MB contract cap in just over five minutes of full-speed downloads.

This raises the question: what is the point in having fast access to data if you have to carefully monitor your usage to not exceed your limit? It all seems rather redundant.

But networks insist that their plans reflect the amount of data that most customers use, with the average being around 1GB. Additionally, it is believed that offering unlimited data could put a strain on the networks.

If you do want 8GB of data on EE, the highest data plan, it will cost a whopping £56 a month – that’s £672 a year on your phone contract. Rather excessive for an hour and ten minutes of full-speed downloads.

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