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With Sprint’s newest 4G network already receiving good reviews in the cities it has been tested in, it’s unlikely any wireless carrier will continue to focus on updating their 3G connections. At the moment, T-Mobile remains the only carrier without immediate plans to move into 4G, though it has introduced plans to start 3.5G networks, an update to current 3G standards some are calling the wireless company’s baby steps.
In the same way Apple has already dropped support for their “outdated” first and second generation iPhones, wireless carriers will likely take the plunge into 4G now, instead of waiting for Sprint or Verizon to fully implement it first. In fact, 4G actually surpasses most broadband speeds, so businesses that are looking to gain an edge will jump on the 4G bandwagon instead of traditional internet carriers like Comcast, Roadrunner, and Dish Network.
Mobile plans will stay the same, with unlimited plans staying at roughly $30 a month. Sprint’s current and Verizon’s estimated 2011 4G solutions will pull customers from other carriers, making the 4G change much more affordable for personal users.
For businesses looking to upgrade, you’ll have to consider where it is used first. If you spend your time in or around large commercial steel buildings, network coverage will still be spotty. In an open area, Sprint has already lowered it’s monthly unlimited 3G/4G plans by $10, making the monthly internet service fees $59. According to Sprint, they’re still working on expanding coverage most likely the result of cities like Los Angeles and Boston that are covered in commercial metal buildings.
For the time being, 3G will be the highest standard network in the United States for both wireless as well as home users. Harbinger Capital Partners, led by Philip Falcone, and SkyTerra, have announced a merger to launch a nationwide 4G network that would cost over $4 billion to complete. The plan has already been approved by the FCC, which will hopefully help to spread out 4G availability beyond the current 11 states that have coverage in their metropolitan areas.