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Difference Between 3G and 4G in Australia

3G vs 4G

Since time immemorial, new technologies have been constantly replacing older technologies. But there is always that time where two successive technologies coexist, and users are left to choose between the two. That is the current case with 3G and 4G in Australia. The main difference between 3G and 4G in Australia is the coverage. 3G has been around for quite some time, and the majority of areas in Australia already have 3G coverage. Since 4G has just been around for a couple of years, it is quite understandable that not all areas support it. Expect 4G coverage only in major cities. What’s good is that phones seamlessly revert to 3G if there is no 4G coverage in the area. You do not enjoy the speed benefits of 4G, though, if you are in an area with spotty coverage.

Another difference between 3G and 4G is interoperability. Since the two major telecom companies in Australia are using different standards and different frequency ranges, it is likely that phones offered by one company won’t work with the other. This isn’t a problem for most people who just stick with one carrier. But for those who would like to move to another carrier, chances are that you would need to get another phone.

Aside from these differences between 3G and 4G, there is also the main advantage of 4G which is speed. LTE, which is what’s being used in Australia, can achieve theoretical speeds of up to 100Mbps while current 3G technologies can only achieve a theoretical maximum of 14.4Mbps. Even HSPA+, which some companies are advertising as 4G, maxes out at 56Mbps. These speeds are the absolute maximum that you can get from these technologies, and actual data speeds in real world scenarios are significantly reduced. Many factors need to be considered, including; distance from the base station, obstacles, and congestion.

Although it is being marketed as 4G already, it is worth noting that LTE is not actually compliant with the actual speed requirements to qualify as a 4G technology. Labeling it as 4G is catchier for advertising and would clearly indicate that the technology is faster than current 3G. Actual 4G technologies won’t be around for another few years.


1.3G is already widespread in Australia while 4G is not.
2.3G is compatible across Australia while 4G will probably be carrier dependent.
3.4G should be faster than 3G.

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