The high speed 3G technology  which allows journalists to send and receive information in multimedia formats on their phones has helped them in terms of being more efficient at their job and producing work that is more technically proficient. It’s helped journalists such as Kevin Sites (Online Journalism Handbook cover star and video journalist) upload and distribute their stories.

So what does fourth generation cellular communication mean for journalists? Short answer: better handsets, faster speeds, greater coverage and therefore potentially access to untapped audiences (those people in rural areas who can’t even get cable). Bloggers and video journalists are excited at the capability of 4G – but citizen journalists will have access to the same technology.

The long answer is more complex: there are various systems within 4G and providers such as Verizon and Sprint in the US don’t necessarily use the same systems. In Europe, competitors are experimenting with different systems – at the moment something called LTE is favoured.

Ofcom says it plans to auction additional spectrum for mobile services in the UK next year. Companies such as BT and o2 in the UK are carrying out trials. It is still early days – a good blog to keep up to date with progess and technology deployment and trends is the 3G and 4G Wireless Blog. If you thought you already had a smart phone the likelihood is that they are going to get even smarter. Tablet devices will follow suit but don’t throw away your laptop – yet.

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