We know some of this network talk can be a little baffling to those not immersed in it every day, so we've written a quick glossary of tech terms to explain the more fiddly bits:
GSM stands for the Global System for Mobile Communications. These standards provide the blueprints that telecoms operators use to build mobile networks. They allow telecoms equipment manufacturers in one country to build technologies that are compatible with those of another.
2G is the second generation of the GSM standards, launched in the 1990s. It's more efficient than first-generation GSM technology because it uses digital signalling to compress the information being sent over the radio spectrum, which means the capacity of the network can be used more efficiently.
GPRS is a standard that describes how data is transferred over the mobile network to and from your phone on 2G networks. It works by chopping data up into small packets. The combination of GPRS with a 2G network is often referred to as 2.5G, as it is seen as a bridge between 2G and 3G networks.
Edge stands for Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution. It's essentially an evolution of 2G GPRS networks that speeds up data rates and is sometimes referred to as 2.75G. This means they'll be able to access the internet up to three times faster than GPRS.
3G is a step up from 2G and Edge, offering far more capacity than 2G. The rise of mobile internet and mobile TV has largely been possible due to the faster data rates 3G enables. With speeds of around 1-2Mbs, 3G is around ten times faster than GPRS, and with advancements such as HSPA+ technology it’ll be even faster.
HSPA+ is also known as 3.5G. It's a turbo-charged version of a 3G network, delivering approximately 50% faster downloading speeds, as well as up to 100% faster upload speeds for pictures, music and video. HSPA+ 21 has headline speeds of up to 21Mbs. HSPA+ 42 has headline speeds of 42Mbs.
4G delivers significantly faster, more consistent mobile broadband speeds than 3G services. The quality improvements will be immediately noticeable, allowing you to watch a crystal-clear HD movie on your phone, without any jitter or buffering. 4G is a data-only network, so if you want to make a call on a 4G phone, it will automatically drop down to the 3G network.
WiFi stands for Wireless Fidelity. It allows you to connect wirelessly at home or at WiFi hotspots such as you find at coffee shops, offices and pubs. It creates a bubble of wireless connectivity at a range of about 30 metres around the wireless modem.
WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is another type of 4G standard, created to improve the performance of wireless networks. The best way to think of it is as beefed-up WiFi, boasting download speeds of around 30Mbs with a range of around 30 miles.
The backhaul is the part of the network that transfers data between the radio masts and the rest of the web. We’re currently upgrading our backhaul to Gigabit Ethernet; this delivers the highest standard of mobile backhaul.
The radio frequencies are the parts of the radio spectrum used by mobile operators to carry phone data wirelessly. Your handset is tuned in to a specific frequency. Different network standards (2G, 3G, 4G) may use different frequencies: when 4G LTE services launch in the UK, you'll need a handset tuned to the correct frequency.
A dongle is a device which allows users to use a 3G network to connect to the internet using a laptop, tablet or PC. It plugs into the device’s USB port and connects to the mobile phone network, acting as a modem. Dongles allow users to connect to the internet without the need to find a WiFi hotspot.