Tonight smartphone manufacturer HTC launched the Velocity 4G mobile phone in partnership with Telstra and its new 4G network. With rumoured appearances from the Hoff and Miss Universe Australia, we cut the crap to give you the plain and simple man’s guide to 4G.

Just like 3G did all those years ago, 4G is set to revolutionise the way we communicate. Or at least that is what the mobile phone industry would like us to believe. We are being too cynical here – it probably will change the way we work a bit. Put simply, with 4G, you are getting download speeds around five times that of the standard 3G network.

The catch? Well, it isn’t full deployed yet, so you have to be in a city centre or large town centre to get it, and within 5km of the tower for the best reception. Anything other than that will slow your speeds and eventually drop you back on to the 3G network, which is pretty fast anyway and if you’re on Telstra, covers 99 per cent of the population or something close to that. Of course, that 99 per cent of the population isn’t at full 3G speeds. Again, it depends on how close you can get to the sun. The sun being a mobile tower.

You have to have a 4G enabled phone to make use of the 4G network. Thankfully the HTC Velocity 4G does just that. Enter the press release because it’s late and I’m tired: “Customers using the HTC Velocity 4G in 4G coverage areas will enjoy typical download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps – up to five times faster than earlier 3G devices. Customers can also experience typical upload speeds ranging from 1Mbps to 10Mbps – three times faster than speeds available on earlier 3G devices. Outside of 4G coverage areas the Velocity 4G switches seamlessly onto Telstra’s fast 3G mobile network with reaches 99 per cent of the Australian population.”

So there it is. The man’s guide to how 4G will change your life… it will make things faster, potentially much faster, but also potentially no faster than your current phone. So if you do get a serious speed boost because you live in the right place, what could you do with it?

Well, you can watch videos properly now. That means minimal lag, better picture quality and faster loading times. Using Skype for video calls, that will be faster as well. And you might even think about downloading movies from iTunes with the speed increase. Of course, just using the internet and social media will be a hell of a lot faster. That drunk picture of you now goes from your phone to Facebook to your boss’ inbox five time faster.

But before you go and fill your phone with blockbusters, consider this: even in Mosman, just a few kilometres outside of the Sydney CBD, you’re going to struggle to pick up 4G. In fact, 3G ain’t all that good either.

So the moral of the story is that yes, 4G is like a Krispy Kreme donut with extra icing. Delicious, but a bit bloody messy at times. Yeah, that makes sense…

Web: Telstra/HTC
Price: $0 up front on the $79 Freedom plan