Do you remember the days when you’d try and watch a video clip online and you’d have enough time to go and make a cup of tea, a toasted sandwich and time spare to climb Mt Everest while it buffered? It’s amazing to think that was only a few years ago!

The pace of technological advancement is staggering. It was just two years ago that Telstra brought 4G to Australia, and now we’re on-track to bring 4G connectivity to 85% of the Australian population by Christmas. Residents in Young will be able to access 4G speeds this month, with the 2,500th 4G enabled base station switching on in the NSW town. Another 1000 base stations will be 4G enabled by Christmas, a busy time for connectivity. 

It’s no surprise that the super-fast data transfer speeds are in demand. Generation Y aren’t dubbed ‘Gen Net’ for no reason! These Millennials have embraced the internet like no other before them, adopting mobile devices like smartphones and tablets with fervor.

Mr Gen Net’s daily routine is likely to include his smartphone alarm crashing through slumber to wake him up. He checks Facebook while eating breakfast and watches YouTube on the train. He uses maps on his way to a lunch meeting (but won’t admit it), pausing en-route to post a pic to Instagram. In the evening he and Ms Gen Net Skype family and friends before downloading a movie rental. Then he tweets about the movie, tagging #FilmsYouMustSee, before switching off the lights. Sound familiar?

The appetite for 4G powered mobile devices reflects the real-time connectivity of modern lives. According to Neilsen research, two thirds of 4G smartphone users say that they access the internet on their handsets several times a day, with a third downloading music at least once a week and 40% using their mobiles more than their laptops to search the internet.

4G users are an extremely sociable group. Almost half of 4G smartphone owners use their phone to share their location with friends using social networks, while 43% have taken a selfie and posted it online and 39% have shared a photo of their meal all via their mobile phones.

Online shopping is also made easier thanks to faster internet. Just over half of 4G smartphone users have purchased a product or service via the internet on their mobiles. What’s more, a quarter of 4G smartphone owners access online banking more frequently on their mobiles than on a desktop or laptop. It’s clear that the reliability of 4G connectivity allows us to carry out life-admin while on-the-go.

Happy Birthday 4G!Gen Y has been a driving force in the advancement of 4G, but what does the digital future hold for the next generation, the most internet savvy of them all?

The first generation of ‘digital natives’ will be leaving high school next year. Investment across the world in 5G research is already underway, and Telstra has already begun trials for new wireless broadband technologies. Will there be 10G one day? Allowing film downloads in the blink of an eye? Augmented reality Skype sessions? Harnessing the speed of light to transfer data?

One thing’s for sure, when it comes to digital innovation, Generation Z are the ones to watch.

For now, Happy Birthday 4G!