Cell Phone Signal Boosters in a 4G World

by Joshua Wiesenfeld on February 16, 2011

Do 3G cell phone signal boosters have a place in a 4G world?

Most commercially sold cell signal boosters run at 850 – 1900 MHz. New LTE or WiMAX 4G phones run between 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz, and the uninformed consumer might be tempted to say that the two devices will therefore not be compatible and cell boosters are obsolete. For several reasons, this is not the case.

The emerging 4G broadband frequencies will be mostly utilized to convey data – voice will still be transmitted at the 850 – 1900 MHz range, or the range perfectly suited to cell boosters. So for users who don’t use Wi-Fi for data, cell boosters will be far from obsolete.

Secondly, it will be a while before 4G is fully rolled out, so if you don’t live in a coverage area it is likely you won’t be able to purchase a 4G phone just yet. Even if your region is 4G-covered, 4G signal boosters have yet to be distributed and you may be stuck with a weak signal. Furthermore, while 4G-compatible cell boosters won’t be coming out for some time, they will eventually, thus mitigating the obsolescence of cell boosters.

Finally, much of the demand for 4G is coming from businesses, not private consumers. Carriers currently only offer only a few 4G models at a time, and generally focus on developing 4G laptop technology rather than affordable private phones.

Carriers are still very centered on upgrading and expanding their 3G coverage. There will always be a need for cell boosters, and 3G compatible cell boosters still have a long way to go before they begin to be replaced by 4G compatible models.

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