2016 saw 17.9 million people accessing the Internet through their mobile phone with the figure expected to rise up to 21.7 million by 2021. That’s almost the entire Malaysian population, so you can get an idea of how many of us rely on good connectivity on our smartphones throughout our daily lives.
Huge billboards along the highways highlight the latest 4G or LTE phone you need to get your hands on to get the best connection in Malaysia.
But most of us know those terms as mere symbols on the top of the bar on your smartphone.
What exactly is the difference between 4G and LTE? Is 3G and 2G even still a thing in our modern generation? What do these different speeds even mean for my phone?
Don’t worry, to not confuse you any further, we break down these acronyms and what it actually entails so you can understand them better.
Before we go any further, let’s get the meaning of 4G out of the way.
It’s basically the name given to the fourth generation of mobile networks, just as the previous generation is called 3G. So similar to how 2G upgraded to 3G, 4G is seen as the bigger and faster upgrade compared to its predecessor.
Loosely speaking, 4G is about seven times faster than 3G services with local telco Maxis reporting that their 4G speed is 10 x faster compared to their 3G. Think of it like switching from 3G to WiFi.
So what users with 4G can experience is websites loading quicker, videos and podcasts streaming with fewer buffering incidences, and downloading large email attachments or other content from the web faster.
Apps can run more smoothly, especially those that has a zoom in or out feature. Pictures on Facebook or Instagram load faster over 4G too.
What Is A 4G Phone?
But this would all be useless unless you have a smartphone that is 4G-capable. 4G networks use different frequencies to transmit data than 3G so you need a handset which has a modem that supports these new frequencies.
LTE (an abbreviation for Long Term Evolution) is the latest technology in the mobile network evolution that provides users with much faster speeds comparing to 3G.
In Malaysia, 4G and LTE are used in the same manner. Different devices display it differently.
So Why Is My Internet Still Slow On My 4G Phone?
If you’ve figured out whether your smartphone can handle 4G yet the internet is still so slow, there are a few reasons why this happens:
1) Too much in your cache.
Apps and services slowly build up caches that over time can eat up precious system resources. It’s easy for us to build up megabytes of cached data in multiple apps.
So an easy way to combat this is by going through and cleaning them out individually or downloading a cache cleaner app to properly get rid of all the useless data. This should at least make your apps run smoother upon booting.
2) Network settings.
Sometimes your internet being slow could mean trouble with the settings. Most phones will automatically connect to the fastest network available but there could be a setting in your phone that has not enabled this function.
To be sure, you can head to your settings option and make sure it is connected to the correct kind of network and that it hasn’t been restricted to 2G or 3G only. The main thing you should check is whether your phone’s best broadband technology is activated.
3) Using an outdated SIM card.
If you own a 4G phone, there’s no point in you sticking with a 2G or 3G SIM card because you’re limiting the full potential your phone can handle.
This is comparable to having a 1Gbps internet speed with a router that’s limited to giving out 450Mbps – 600Mbps. In this case, a reliable 100Mbps package by HughesNet will be maximized. But if you have a 1Gbps internet speed, a faster router will be recommended to get the full potential.
Compared to the 3G SIM card, a 4G network offers more benefits. For example, a Maxis 4G SIM card usually has four times the internet speed indoors compared to other telcos, a 98% zero buffering rate on YouTube HD and has the widest 4G network covering 89% of the Malaysian population (which means 9 out of 10 Malaysians can enjoy Maxis 4G.).
So to help their customers reach the phone’s full internet speed capacity, Maxis is currently running a campaign where existing customers with a 3G SIM card can opt to switch it for a 4G SIM card for free.
Make your life less painful by making sure your 4G phone ditches the old technology and adapt to the latest one.
As an added incentive, Maxis is giving away RM1,000,000 in cash for those who swap their SIM during the campaign period which is from 25th April to 21st May.
Yes, those ads that pop up in your websites or apps actually use up a lot of resources, much to many developers’ dismay. Not just processing power, but they chew through a bunch of your mobile data each month too.
Installing an ad blocking web browser can help make it slightly faster. This will become your default web browser and it will keep your webpages ad-free.
5) Unused apps and widgets.
Apps and widgets on your smartphone can use up a tonne of data while they run in the background. An example is Facebook.
This in turn will slow down your internet speed. So it’s best to remove any widgets from your home screens that you don’t use. These are usually the biggest offenders and are easy to ditch.
Just tap and hold on the widget to drag it up to the ‘remove icon’ at the top of the screen. This will not delete the app from your phone but merely remove the widget from the home screen and make it inactive.
So if your 4G smartphone isn’t up to speed, these might just be the reasons why.
This article was brought to you by Maxis. Swap out your 3G SIM for a Maxis 4G SIM card for free at your nearest Maxis store and stand to win part of RM1 million. Find out more here.