With rapidly evolving mobile technology, phone developers are constantly looking for improved and faster voice and data connections. As of October 2010, most mobile phones are fitted with 3G, or third-generation technology. This technology allows for the transfer of data through mobile broadband. The current market, however, is already beginning to push forward with fourth-generation, or 4G, phone capabilities. The 3G technology that is being left behind has not been without its faults.
Because 3G relies on area-specific connectivity, many users have experienced problems with 3G connections in certain areas. For example, if you live in an area where the 3G connectivity is officially low (or non-existent), then you will not be able to benefit from its full services. Instead, you will most likely be reconnected to 2G "EDGE" capabilities, which offer a much slower speed. Even in areas where 3G connection is known to be well-received, there have been reports of inconsistent reliability because of various hardware and software issues.
Hardware or software issues have plagued 3G phones. In 2009, for example, the Nokia 5800 was pulled from shelves due to its internal 3G connection faults. ItNews reported in 2009 that 5800 "users are reporting that while they can connect to AT&T’s GSM (2G) and EDGE networks, 3G connections are proving more difficult." Similarly, in 2010, iPhone 4 users have complained about the failure of their phone's 3G connection. BGR reported in July 2010 that "according to the reports, folks with an iPhone 4 are experiencing slow or even non-existent 3G connectivity in areas where 3G signal is present.”
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the future of mobile phone connectivity now lies in the hands of 4G technologies. According to ITU in October 2010, "harmonization among these proposals has resulted in two technologies, 'LTE-Advanced' and 'WirelessMAN-Advanced' being accorded the official designation of IMT-Advanced, qualifying them as true 4G technologies." In the United States, 4G technologies are already being incorporated into phone units, such as the Sprint Samsung 4G and products provided by Verizon Wireless. According to a Yahoo News article in October 2010, "while the initial [Verizon] LTE rollout will be for laptops and other mobile devices, 4G smartphones will quickly follow. Currently, there are only a handful on the market, made by HTC and Samsung and sold by Sprint Nextel for its WiMAX 4G network. MetroPCS has also announced some 4G phones for its growing 4G network." With the fast-changing world of mobile technology it seems that users will be migrating to 4G phone technologies in the near future.