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Fourth Generation

A somewhat vague term used to describe wireless mobile radio technologies that offer faster data rates than 3G (third generation) technologies.

The most common technology recognized worldwide as 4G is LTE.

See: LTE

4G networks are also more data-centric and based on standard Internet technologies such as IP. Voice service, if provided over the 4G network, is typically provided using a special form of VoIP called VoLTE.

See: VoIP

WiMAX was once a competing 4G technology that did not take off. It was phased out in favor of LTE as the one global standard for 4G.

Some carriers — including T-Mobile and AT&T — once used the term "4G" to refer to upgraded 3G networks that provide near-4G data speeds even they are based on 3G technology. HSPA+ technology is the 3G upgrade that enables these faster speeds.


Last updated Jun 21, 2024 by Rich Brome

Editor in Chief Rich became fascinated with cell phones in 1999, creating mobile web sites for phones with tiny black-and-white displays and obsessing over new phone models. Realizing a need for better info about phones, he started Phone Scoop in 2001, and has been helming the site ever since. Rich has spent two decades researching and covering every detail of the phone industry, traveling the world to tour factories, interview CEOs, and get every last spec and photo Phone Scoop readers have come to expect. As an industry veteran, Rich is a respected voice on phone technology of the past, present, and future.

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