What are you really getting when purchasing a 4G phone?

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PHOENIX - No doubt, you've seen the cell phone commercials telling us we all need to upgrade to 4G.

As a hip-hop artist and Power 98.3 radio personality, DJ Class bought into it when he signed up with Sprint while living in Atlanta.

“It's very important,” he said. “Me, as a DJ, now because of so much new technology I have to be up on the newest and latest music before anybody.”

DJ Class says being able to download music fast is a must in his profession.

That's why he signed up for 4G, but later found out his carrier doesn't provide the service in Phoenix.

“I feel like I'm throwing my money away,” he said. “I feel like I'm not getting what I'm supposed to be getting as a service.”

So, just what is 4G?

Without getting too technical, Data Doctors owner Ken Colburn explains 4G, or the 4th Generation of wireless standards, gives consumers noticeably faster download and web surfing speeds.

But, he says when it comes the different carriers, not all 4G is created equal, and what consumers in the Valley are paying extra for isn't necessarily what they get.

Turns out Sprint does offer 4G service in 70 metropolitan areas, but none of them are in Arizona.

“What they're saying for their network is true nationally, may not be what's going on here in Phoenix,” Colburn said.

AT & T has been promoting 4G like crazy, but it’s not available yet.

A spokesperson tells 3 On Your Side, AT & T plans to upgrade hundreds of cell sites to enable 4G in Phoenix this year.

Colburn says the high cost to upgrade cell towers to 4G is what's keeping carriers from making the switch.

“That's up to you the user to go out and do your homework to figure out what's actually happening here in town and not get caught up in the marketing and tag lines and just assume what they're saying is true for Phoenix,” Colburn said.

DJ Class cancelled his 4G service when he learned he wasn't getting his money's worth.
“My bill was outta here,” he said. “It was so sky high.”

He wants to warn other consumers to watch out for the sales spin that he says hooked him.

So which carriers do offer 4G in the Valley?

T-Mobile and Verizon.

To find out which carrier is best for you, Colburn suggests you check out RootMetrics, a website that allows users to report the coverage they get in different areas.

You can also test the speed of your cell phone internet service.