I turn 3G off…!

Probably against the grain compared to most people using Mobile devices, and possibly/probably much to the chagrin of the Mobile Operators who spent all that money on 3G licenses, but right now when I get a Mobile device, the first thing I do is see if I can turn the 3G network selection off.

My reasoning is as follows – firstly, 3G does kill the battery of a device quicker than 2G – this is due to the way the phone has to react to the network in terms of managing it’s connection. Secondly, most of my apps that might require a high-bandwidth connection at a given point in time are not that critical – I can wait an extra 30 secs or so for a webpage to download, or for my emails to come down over 2G. If I really can’t wait that long, I turn on WiFi!

In recent experiments with both the BlackBerry Bold and the Apple iPhone, I have found that I can draw out some extra (and very much desired) runtime of my device, if I stick firmly to 2G. And the downsides of longer time to pull down data are not that much worse.

Another benefit of staying on 2G is that I am less susceptible to poor coverage, and to call-dropping. At home I am unfortunate not to be in a strong 3G area – my outlook might be different if I were – but often I find I have to wait whilst my phone hands over from 3G to EDGE in order to continue my browsing/email/apps session.

So what is your view? Is 3G very/quite/not important to you? Do you proactively switch off 3G? It would appear the Mobile Networks will continue to run a 2G/3G overlay for some time yet, and if people are staying away from 3G, it’s going to make the transition of bringing in 4G network tech even more painful…..

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