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When was the first 4G network launched?

Avatar of Mobility Daddy By Mobility Daddy Oct19,2016
First 4G network
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4G LTE technology has been around for a few years. 4G means “fourth generation”. Let’s not dive into technical jargon. Simply put, 4G means faster internet speed. It is the equivalent of driving a sports car on a racetrack. Or flying a superfast jet aircraft. Yes. If you have wondered when the first 4G network was launched, we have the answer for you.

When was the first 4G network launched?

The first commercial 4G LTE network in the world went live towards the end of 2009. Here are the details:

  • Date: December 2009
  • Country: Sweden and Norway
  • City: Stockholm and Oslo
  • Network: TeliaSonera
First 4G network

Interesting historical incidence, if you ask me. The network launched 4G concurrently in two different cities in two different countries. Crazy fellas. Today, there are over 86 4G networks across Africa and over 480 LTE networks in 157 countries around the world, according to Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA). More operators are planning 4G LTE deployment, so the numbers will still get higher.

4G LTE: Data Only

4G LTE is a data-only technology. This means that voice calls cannot be made on 4G. Instead, two options for voice calls are available:

  1. for operators that have 3G and 2G networks, the network auto switches from 4G to 3G/2G for calls and then back to 4G when the call is terminated. This is the advantage of leaving your 4G phone in auto network mode. When pegged to 4G only, regular voice calls are not possible.
  2. internet calls similar to WhatsApp and BBM calls. Network operators deploy this via VoLTE or their own custom apps.
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By Mobility Daddy

Founder, MobilityArena. Way back from the days of EPOC, Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems, I have owned a few hundred smartphones and tablets, and counting.

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