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The Perils of 4G


I've been thinking about getting a new phone. Yes, yes, I know, it's only been fourteen months since I bought the Motorola Moto G dual SIM, but Beth recently got a shiny new second generation Moto E, at my suggestion, which she's getting on with and which has 4G, which my Moto G doesn't.

The second gen Moto E is much the same size as my first gen Moto G, although with a lower pixel density (326ppi v 245ppi but given my eyesight ...) and without a "flash" (shucks) but the camera seems to be better judging by the photos she's been taking and tweeting while walking for WalkLakes. Like this one for example:

Now I'd put off replacing the Moto G because with the second generation Moto G you apparently had to choose either 4G or dual SIM. However with the Moto E there was a dual SIM version with 4G and you can pick them up on the Web for about £130. Hurrah!

Plus my birthday is looming and I've just had a rebate from the tax man so I my finger was hovering over the "buy" button.

Luckily I had second thoughts.

Look at the specification page again where under 4G bands1 for the XT1521, which is the 4G model, it says:

    LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 7(2600), 28(700), 40(2300)

A quick Google search discovered this page which revealed that the UK networks are using three bands for 4G LTE:

800MHz (band 20) 1800MHz (band 3) 2600MHz (band 7)
EE Yes 2×5MHz Yes 2×45MHz Yes 2×35MHz
O2 Yes 2×10MHz No No
Three Yes 2×5MHz Yes 2×15MHz No
Vodafone Yes 2×10MHz No Yes 1×20MHz and 1×25MHz

So the bottom line is that if you use this phone on EE, Three or Vodafone you've got some chance of getting 4G but if you are using O2 (as I am, via giffgaff) then you're stuffed as it doesn't do band 20. Moreover even on the other networks the 800MHz range is arguably the best for 4G as it travels further2.

Ho hum. Back to the drawing board on that one then.

  1. You may need to click on "Expand" at the right hand end of the "NETWORK" row in order to see this information.
  2. And in case you're now wondering about Beth's phone hers is an XT1524 variant so it does "LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 7(2600), 20(800)" so covers all three UK bands.

Tags: Android, toys Written 27/06/15

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