How often will wireless networks be upgraded?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by PhiladelphiaX, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. PhiladelphiaX macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2012
    On average, how often are wireless cellular networks upgraded (2G, 3G, 4G, LTE)?

    How far along do you think networks will be upgraded before they reach a peak?

    Are you, personally, willing to upgrade wireless networks (and ultimately having to upgrade your device to support the change) every year?
  2. r2shyyou macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2010
    Paris, France
    If your definition of wireless cellular network "upgrades" is 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, then this is not something that has historically happened on a yearly basis and, I assume, never could. It takes a lot of work and probably more now than ever before given the massive increase in cellular-capable devices.

    As for how far along they'll be upgraded before they reach a peak, that's impossible to say other than...all the way.
  3. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Whenever the carrier gets to it. There's no standard timeframe.

    Huh? The users don't upgrade the carrier's network. The carrier does.
  4. r2shyyou macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2010
    Paris, France
    I thought the same thing but I think the question was meant to ask:

    If, for example, Apple came out with a 5G-capable phone next year (hypothesizing that 5G existed), would you be willing to, say, break your contract or something simliar so that you could get the newest, snappiest thing?

    That's my guess, at least...
  5. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Pardon his english. Me means to say are you willing to keep buying a new phone in order to keep up with carriers' faster network (when they become available).

    Now the newest thing is called Long Term Evolution, do they mean this technology is easily scalable and we'll see faster ram-up in wireless speed going forward? Or it's just marketing? Pardon the hijacking but this seems like the next logical question.
  6. PhiladelphiaX thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2012
    That's basically what I meant.
  7. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    First off: you're not going to see cellular networks upgrading every year. It costs Billions (that's right, capital b) of dollars for the Tier 1 carrier to do upgrades to their network, including purchasing spectrum, fitting out new backhaul and then upgrading the actual cell sites. It's an even greater sticker shock for them to upgrade than it is for you to get a new phone.

    You will see incremental updates to current technologies. HSPA will get faster speeds and so will LTE. Even EDGE, technically, can be upgraded. But those won't be major shifts that obsolete existing phones.

    If you wanna know the timeline:

    - 2G (cdmaOne, TMDA/IS36, GPRS, EDGE) has been around as early as 1991, with 1995-96 being when it really took hold in the US. To this day, parts of networks across the globe still have 2G, and it'll probably be a few years yet before it starts getting really scarce.

    - 3G started in 2001. UMTS was first (in '01 but AT&T didn't start offering it until 2005), and CDMA2000 officially began rollout in 2002. To this day, some areas or the US and the world lack 3G coverage, even though they are covered by a 2G network.

    So basically, 3G is about 11 years old, and will probably continue to be around for some time. I'd say 5-10 more years, at least.

    - LTE (what carriers are calling "4G") began its first rollout in 2009. It's likely to stick around at least as long as 3G has.

    - True 4G actually doesn't exist yet. The official ITU spec requires 4G to have a minimum speed of 100Mbps (but they caved on political pressure and allowed slower networks like HSPA+ and LTE to be marketed as "4G"). LTE Advanced might hit that speed, when it's rolled out, but should remain backward compatible with existing LTE phones.

    Bottom line: Your iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S or 5 will probably fail as a result of some equipment problem LONG before most networks decide to make them obsolete on the cellular side.

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