3G, 4G, Wi-Fi hotspots

With 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi hotspots, there are loads of ways to get your phone online when you’re on the move. But what do they all do and which should you be using? We explain the different ways you can use the internet on your phone.


3G is the easiest way to get online while you’re out. It’s the third generation of mobile network, which means it gives fast internet access so you can easily send emails and browse the web. And around 97% of people are covered by 3G, so you can connect your phone almost anywhere. The only downside is that 3G speeds aren’t always high enough for streaming movies or downloading apps on the go. And whatever you do on 3G, you’ll have to keep your data allowance in mind so you don’t accidentally go over and get charged.


4G is the fastest internet connection you’ll get while you’re out and about. It’s the fourth generation of mobile network, meaning it gives a more reliable signal and ultra-fast internet speeds that are often faster than the average home broadband. That makes 4G perfect for streaming movies and music smoothly and web browsing will feel instant. And as 4G contracts usually come with a high data allowance, you won’t have to worry about going over so much. Plus, despite 4G being quite new, more than 60% of people are already covered and that number is growing incredibly quickly.

Wi-Fi hotspots

Wi-Fi hotspots are the most reliable internet connection when you’re out of the house. They also offer good speeds so you can catch up on emails and Facebook easily. And as Wi-Fi hotspots don’t use your data allowance, they’re perfect if you need to download a big file or a new app while you’re out. The main problem with Wi-Fi hotspots is finding them. They’re common in coffee shops and pubs, and even some public parks have them, but not all of them are free. But when you do find a free one, all you have to do is create an account and start surfing the web.