Ofcom: 4G to be 3.3x more efficient than UK 3G

Ofcom has revealed that the UK's 4G network, set to go live in 2013, will "deliver more than 200 per cent of the capacity of existing 3G technologies, using the same amount of spectrum."

Dr Stephen Unger, Chief Technology Officer at Ofcom said: "4G mobile technologies will be able to send more information than 3G, for a given amount of spectrum. This increased efficiency means that 4G networks will be able to support increased data rates and more users.

"The research that we commissioned indicates that early 4G mobile networks with standard configurations will be 3.3 times (230 per cent) more spectrally efficient than today’s standard 3G networks. To put this in context, a user on an early 4G network will be able to download a video in around a third of the time it takes today on a 3G network."

The news comes as the communication watchdog publishes its latest findings into the next-gen mobile network. In it, Ofcom also states that "the increased spectral efficiency of 4G technologies will not on its own be sufficient to meet the expected growth in demand for mobile data" and that "more spectrum itself is also needed".

The auction next year, of new spectrum at 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz when the big UK carriers will take their slices of the 4G pie, will go some way to solving this issue.

By 2020, Ofcom predicts that efficiency will increase to approximately 5.5 times (450 per cent) compared to  current levels.

What is 4G?

UK 4G auction to kick off in 2012