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What is 4G?

Coverage logo4G is the fourth generation of mobile phone technology and follows on from 2G and 3G.

2G technology was suitable for making calls and sending text messages while 3G makes it possible to access the internet more effectively through your mobile phone.

What to expect from 4G?

4G services should make it much quicker to surf the web on your mobile, tablets and laptops - speeds will be nearer to what you currently experience with home broadband.

Because of this, 4G is ideally suited for services which demand more capacity like video streaming, mapping and social networking sites.

For the typical user, download speeds of initial 4G networks could be around 5-7 times those for existing 3G networks.

This means a music album taking 20 minutes to download on a 3G phone and just over 3 minutes on 4G. This is based on existing 3G speeds being 1Mbit/s on average and 4G speed being 6Mbit/s (average of 5 and 7 times faster).

What will 4G coverage be like?

Ofcom has designed the 4G auction in a way that will see mobile broadband rolled out to at least 98% of people in villages, towns and cities across the UK. This is for indoor coverage; however, given that it is easier to provide coverage outdoors, a network meeting this obligation is likely to cover more than 99% of the UK by population when outdoors.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: 'As a direct result of the measures Ofcom is introducing, consumers will be able to surf the web stream high-quality videos and download big files on their mobile device from almost every home in the UK.'