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Oh gee, 4G has arrived

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Question: What do James Bond’s tailor and Europe’s first liquid nitrogen ice-cream parlour have in common? 

Answer: They both use 4G.

4G, which stands for fourth generation, offers much faster mobile internet than 3G networks. According to a survey from Deloitte, one in five mobile users – about ten million people – plans to upgrade to the service in the next 12 months. That suggests that UK 4G use will be among the highest levels in the world within a year, despite the service launching later than in the US and most of Europe. 

So what does a super-fast mobile network mean for entrepreneurs?

Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur and Nyisha Weber are the husband-and-wife team behind Chin Chin Labs – a science-lab style parlour which creates made-to-order ice cream using liquid nitrogen. The pair were given £3,000 worth of 4G Kit from mobile operator EE and have used it to revolutionise the way they record sales: staff can now input and process up to 600 transactions a day. That means they can analyse stock data and assess which ice-cream flavours are popular at which times. Akbari-Kalhu reckons this new process saves him half a day of time each week. 

Or take David Mason, who runs Anthony Sinclair, the tailoring firm famous for creating Sean Connery’s suits when he played James Bond. Mason used to take an edited selection of fabric samples to client meetings with him; he couldn’t carry the entire fabric library so he’d have to predict which styles the customer would be interested in. Using 4G, he now downloads product samples to his iPad straight from Dropbox and can instantly review order details and sales records.

“The way consumers and businesses are using their mobile devices in this country has been transformed,” says Olaf Swantee, chief executive of EE.

Ofcom wants 98 per cent of the UK to have 4G coverage by the end of 2017.

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