17 October 2019

Internet Speeds Explained Part III: The difference between 3G/4G & LTE

Smartphone and personal devices are available for use in daily life. Millions of South African’s have become connected and now use everything from Google Maps to Dating Apps.

Advertisers often use hyped-up jargon & buzzwords to convey what to expect from tech or service plans – and as such – it can be difficult to decipher internet speeds so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and look determine difference between 3G, 4G, and LTE.

Slow Beginnings

South Africa received its very first internet connection in 1988 at Rhodes University via a private residence in Oregon, USA and it goes without saying that the connection was slow!

Technology has taken massive leaps since then. Smartphone and personal devices are available for use in daily life. Millions of South African’s have become connected and now use everything from Google Maps to Dating Apps.

Prestigio is a relatively new name in the field of tech devices here in South Africa. We offer affordable devices that enable empowerment. Our official hashtag is #PotentialUnleashed !!!

Definitions: What is a G?

A “G” represents the generation of cellphone technology that a piece of equipment or a tech-device is using. The standards that define each class are defined by The Radio Sector of the International Telecommunication Union.

Original G’s

The first mobile-phones available used analogue and digital technology known as 1G and 2G. 1G was capable of voice only. 2G was capable of voice and text messaging with very small amounts of data transmission.


When 3G was introduced to the world it opened the possibility of connecting to the internet from your mobile-phone. The original phones offering 3G had limited connection speed capabilities.

Since the initial roll-out, 3G has become much better. However, industry standards have still not been defined. This means that various data rates can be marketed as 3G.


When the term 4G came onto the scene, unheard-of internet speeds began being discussed. However, due to the industries difficulty in determining universal standards to apply worldwide the term 4G is ambigious.

Service Providers may advertise 4G – but how many of them state what speed of connection (kbps) is actually delivered should you pay for the service?

This is especially true here in South Africa. Many mobile networks in this country don’t yet have the infrastructure to make speeds qualifying as 4G possible in many locales and certainly not with consistently. Often service providers bat the term 4G around in an attempt to distinguish themselves from competitors and take advantage of the lack of clarity regarding what is available.


LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. Unlike “G”, it does not refer to the technology built within your device. Here is where things get a little confusing. LTE was introduced without solid standard guidelines and only recently has its true meaning begun to be defined.

The term LTE is best used to describe achieving previously declared but not-yet reached 4G speeds as well as the system path created by service provides that is used to accomplishing this. Due to the existing confusion in the market over 4G, the regulatory rule makers decided that LTE service can be labelled as 4G by providers if it provided certain specific improvement in speed over 3G.

LTE and True 4G are in fact one and the same as they both refer to exceedingly fast speeds of data transmission which is markedly above 3G capabilities.

Practically speaking the number one difference the consumer will see when true 4G speeds/LTE is used is that upload speed is greatly increased making upload and download speeds nearly identical.

South African Service Providers

Thus far, the majority of South African service providers lack the required infrastructure to make 4G/LTE possible. As such, devices capable of working at these speeds may not be fully utilized within the South African data network scene.

Beware extra data use

Data prices are still high in South Africa when compared to other countries in the world.

One thing to be aware of if one is utilizing higher speeds of internet, is that fast speeds can chow data quickly. Even the difference between a YouTube video viewed in HD as compared to standard video can impact data consumption.

Be conscientious, track your data usage and set your data limits on your device to avoid getting a nasty surprise on your monthly bill.

Capable and Connected

Prestigio provides capable devices that get you connected!

All Prestigio devices are capable of high-speed data transmission.

While we market our devices as 3G they have gained popularity with gamers the world over for their ability to process two-way high definition gaming graphics and connections.

Check your data plan carefully to determine if it will deliver the high speeds capable of being processed by Prestigio devices.

New! 2-in-1 Device

If you can’t choose between a tablet and a Smartphone, explore the functionality and convenience of Prestigio’s premier 2-in-1 device. The Visconte V offers the best of the both worlds with a multi-touch screen and a keyboard-docking included; so you can organize and balance your personal and professional needs – using the same device.


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