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4G: Speed is good

Disclosure: I work for Safaricom, Kenya's only 4G mobile provider.

The perks of 4G is the speeds at which  websites load, apps and files download,
and good video quality.
YouTube as an example, loads in high definition as seen here
A few months ago,  I lost my phone gave my phone to Nairobi’s best con man. It was a Nexus 4, a phone I had owned since November 2013, and one that I had come to love.

One Stephen Mwakesi quipped that losing that phone was a good thing - I had stayed with an aging phone for far too much long. That’s the lovely thing about Nexus phones, the experience is above your typical android phone (other than for battery life) you never want to switch.

Luckily, I got a new phone from my employer the following week, my first 4G phone, an LG G3.


Until this point, I had felt 4G was not worth the upgrade from 3G. Switching to 4G proved me wrong. The speeds were blazing fast.

Browsing the internet on 4G is an entirely rewarding experience. Open a new page, and it loads before you can blink.

The best bit is in downloading files like music and apps. Stuff that would previously take 15 minutes rarely goes above the 3 minute mark.

Downloading Google Chrome from the Android Play Store on 3G will take you about 2 minutes or more, given the file is just over 40 MB. On 4G, it takes less than 15 seconds, and no, I’m not pulling your leg here. In fact, for most apps, it takes longer to install them than to download them.

Twitter, which over the months has become more and more image and now video heavy flows fluidly on 4G. Sometimes I switch to a 3G phone, and I find I often have to wait for the Twitter app to load images. This is something I don’t experience on 4G.

On my first week of being on 4G, one of my pals told me she had stopped using 4G because it consumed too much data. It is a common complaint, however in my experience, it only happens if I spend time watching videos. in addition, this is something you can control.

You see, video comes in a range of quality. If on 3G, by default, you will find many video sites, especially YouTube, load standard quality video (144p or 240p - a measure of video resolution quality; higher is better).

On 4G, these video sites detect you’re on a much faster network, and serve you a higher quality video. YouTube will go from serving you a video in 144p or 240p,  to one in 720p, which is high definition. That’s about 5 times the quality of 144p, which in turn means you are now streaming 5 times the data you would have on 3G on each video you wathc.

This however can be changed in the YouTube settings by tapping the 3 dots, and setting quality to something like 240p. If you are watching sports or a movie, you can switch to higher quality. Most other sites will also allow you to toggle video quality up or down.

Another thing, sites like Twitter and Facebook now have more videos. With 4G being quite fast, you will be able to watch more videos as they load instantly, in accordance to your habit.

All in all, 4G is an enjoyable experience. As of March 31st 2016,  there were 700,000 people in Kenya using 4G. I’d urge you to join them. You can get a 4G phone for under KShs. 9,000.

Indeed, speed is good.



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