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This article was updated on 17 February 2020.
Using the internet on your phone should be a speedy, seamless experience. Here are four benefits of using Vodacom’s 4G network.
4G stands for fourth generation, in this case of mobile data technology. It’s sometimes called LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and, for all but a few who’ve experienced the tests of 5G, it’s the fastest way to access the internet on the go.
You’ve probably noticed the little symbol on your mobile phone – usually, it says 4G, 3G or E. What does it mean and why should you care about it?
1. Superior network experience
First, a little background. Mobile tech has come a long way in the past 30 years or so. Back in 1991, 2G-enabled phones were introduced to send and receive data, such as text and multimedia messages. At the time, that was pretty exciting.
You won’t ever see 2G on your phone screen, but you might occasionally see ‘E’. That stands for EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution, if you want to sound incredibly smart). You can access the internet on EDGE, but only at a snail’s pace.
Thank goodness, in 1998, 3G was introduced, revolutionising cellular networks and allowing reasonably fast access to the internet. The first smartphones accessed the internet via 3G and we were all amazed at the capabilities. But in 2008, a whole new world opened up when 4G was introduced.
2. Higher speeds and richer content
4G is faster – that’s a fact. On a 4G connection, you can get download speeds of up to 60Mbps, with 25Mbps on average – up to three times faster than 3G. And faster speeds mean you can enjoy better content, like videos that don’t take ages to load, hilarious GIFs and the latest music.
It’s 2019 – ain’t nobody got time to buffer.
3. The best coverage in SA
As you travel around South Africa, Vodacom won’t leave you high and dry when it comes to an internet connection. Vodacom was the first mobile operator in Africa to extend 4G coverage to more than 80% of the population (up from 75.8% in 2016). This means there are already over 10.1 million 4G-capable smartphones on Vodacom’s network, spanning across all major centres, large towns and major routes in the country.
Vodacom has invested heavily in its South African network. You can check Vodacom's 4G LTE coverage on the mobile coverage map.
4. 4G uses the same amount of data as 3G
Don’t be fooled – faster speeds don’t mean more data. A four-minute YouTube video will use about 30MB of data (depending on the quality) regardless of whether you are on a 3G or 4G connection.
Want to know how much data you need? Check out our #Datawyze page to find out everything you need to know about data and how to use it wisely.
How to check if 4G is enabled on your phone
The majority of recent devices, from budget to premium brands, have 4G compatibility. Here's how to enable 4G on your phone.
Apple: Go to Settings > Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options > Enable 4G
Android: Settings > More Networks > Mobile Networks > Network Mode > Choose the option that includes LTE
Free SIM card upgrade with Vodacom
To connect to a 4G network, you also need the correct type of SIM card. If you currently have an old SIM card that only connects to 3G, Vodacom will provide a free SIM card swap if you upgrade to a 4G plan. The best part is that you get to keep your old number and information.
Want to know more? Find the answers on Vodacom's 4G FAQ page.