What is a 4G Mobile Proxy? Definition, Advantages, and Use Cases (2022)

Karl Baumgarten
July 4, 2022
Contents

Proxies are a core component of how the web works today. By keeping users' real IP addresses private, they provide anonymity when browsing the internet. 4G Mobile Proxies are a specific type of proxy that use mobile IP addresses exclusively to build a connection. Here is everything you need to know about Mobile Proxies, their advantages over Residential or Data Center Proxies, and what they can be used for.

When it comes to Proxy technology, there are three major types that you should know:

  • Residential Proxies: Proxies that are linked to a certain location (e.g. someone's home address). They are usually owned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and use real devices' IPs. They are considered high quality
  • Data Center Proxies: The cheapest type of proxy available. Data Center Proxies use cloud servers that private companies own, use as proxies, and rent to users. Instead of actual IPs, they use virtual IP addresses. Therefore they are easier to identify as a proxy.
  • Mobile Proxies: Proxies that use mobile data exclusively to access the web. They use real IP addresses of mobile devices, which makes them a high-quality proxy option.

This article is only going to focus on Mobile Proxies. But don't worry, we will cover the other types as well, eventually.

How Mobile Proxies Work

4G Mobile Proxies are portable devices that access the web via the cellular network (mobile data). These can be either "real" mobile devices like smartphones or tablets, or USB modems that can carry SIM cards, like in this picture:

Picture of multiple 4G Mobile Proxies on a host device
Image: Multiple USB modems on a Proxidize host device

4G Mobile Proxies work by letting users access the internet by connecting to this portable device and using its IP address instead of their own IP. So technically, you are borrowing another device's IP to surf the web. If you are wondering where this IP comes from: Every device that is connected to a cellular network gets an IP assigned by the network operator (e.g. T-Mobile or AT&T). As soon as your Mobile Proxy connects to the internet, it gets an IP assigned.

What defines a 4G Mobile Proxy is the usage of mobile data to access the internet. Let's say that you are using your Android phone as a Mobile Proxy device. Several apps let you do that. As soon as you connect your phone to any WIFI to access the internet, your mobile proxy turns into a Residential Proxy. That is because you are not using mobile data anymore, but a WIFI. Since this WIFI is bound to a certain location, it is residential.

As Mobile Proxies require mobile data, every 4G Mobile Proxy needs a SIM card with a plan. Just like a smartphone. This also explains why there are 3G, 4G, and 5G proxies available. The speed of the proxy depends on the plan you go for. If you want 4G, you need a 4G SIM card and the hardware to match (a 4G-compatible device).

Differences between Mobile Proxies and Residential and Data Center Proxies

Multiple characteristics differentiate Mobile Proxies from Residential or Data Center Proxies. Most importantly, Mobile Proxies use IP addresses from mobile devices. The other proxy types do not. That may seem like a minor difference, but it is a massive one.

Remember when I said that every mobile device in a network gets assigned an IP address by the network operator? That is true, but not forever. This is because IPs in mobile networks are dynamic (also called rotating). What that means is that the network operator assigns a new IP to the device from time to time (e.g. every time the device reconnects to the network). The previous IP is then reassigned to another device in the mobile network. This has huge advantages that we are going to cover later. All other types of proxies are using static IP addresses. Static means that the IP always stays the same and does not change.

Besides that, the hardware used and setup are very different. Data Center Proxies use cloud servers and Residential Proxies use real devices. This can be everything from a Laptop to a Refrigerator with WIFI. Mobile Proxies use mobile devices exclusively.

Use Cases for 4G Mobile Proxies

Mobile Proxies have numerous use cases. Here are a few of them:

Web Scraping and Automation

Since Mobile Proxies are unlikely to get blocked, they are a popular tool for web scraping and web automation. Web scraping means gathering large amounts of publicly available web data automatically. One use case of web scraping is Market research, where Mobile Proxies can be used to collect all pricing information from competitors' websites. Some competitors may display different prices based on location or device used, but mobile proxies let you capture all the information regardless. Mobile proxies are also a popular tool for web automation, for example by automating tasks on websites that are using CAPTCHAs. On those websites, without a proxy, you would need to confirm a CAPTCHA after the first few tasks. This would make automation impossible.

Social Media Account Management

Another use case for Mobile Proxies is Social Media Account Management. If you log into multiple social media accounts using the same IP in a short time interval, social media operators may think that you are a bot and block your accounts. For marketing agencies managing accounts from their clients, this is an unacceptable risk. By using Mobile Proxies to log into different accounts from different IPs, getting blocked is not a risk anymore. Since most Social Media users use mobile devices with mobile IPs, it makes sense to use Mobile Proxies over other types here.

Ad verification

If you are running online ads and want to make sure that you are reaching the target audience, Mobile Proxies can be used for Ad verification. By pretending to be a customer (e.g. from a different location) and hiding your real identity with a proxy, you get to see how the ad appears to your potential customers.

Access Geo-restricted content and Anonymity

Mobile Proxies can also be used to access geo-restricted content. One example of this is a Netflix series that are not available in your country. Just connect to a Mobile Proxy in that location and you can access the content anyway. Last but not least, Mobile Proxies can simply be used to anonymize your online identity.

Online Gaming

In online gaming, Mobile Proxies can be used to farm in-game currencies or items without getting blocked for it. This is especially valuable in MMORPG Games, where it is all about the competitive advantage of your gear. If you are a gamer and like to have a competitive edge over other players, then you should take a look at proxies.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Proxies

Mobile Proxies are widely regarded as one of the best types of proxy out there. Mobile Proxies are a solid choice for most use cases. As compared to other types of proxies like Data Center ones, they are almost indistinguishable from real users.

Advantages

Advantages of Mobile Proxies are:

  • Quality: A 4G Mobile Proxy always uses real devices' IP addresses, they are almost indistinguishable from real users. This makes them some of the highest quality proxies available.
  • Low risk of getting blocked: Mobile Proxies appear as real users, so they are very hard to block. Another reason for this is the rotating IPs we covered before: Mobile Proxy's IPs are shared with other devices in the mobile network and reassigned from time to time. Therefore, the website would risk blocking many other users as well by blocking the IP. And even if they do that, you do not keep your IP for too long anyway, because it changes regularly.
  • Reliability: All this makes Mobile Proxies very reliable, so they won't let you down when you need them.
  • High trust: In general, websites trust visitors with mobile IPs more than visitors with residential IPs. Just think of your smartphone: You can log in to an application like Instagram and come back multiple weeks later, and you are still logged in. During these weeks, your device's IP address has changed multiple times. But the website does not think you are a bot, because this is just how the mobile network works.

Disadvantages

Of course, there are also some downsides to Mobile Proxies:

  • Dynamic: Due to dynamic IPs, you don't get to keep your IP for very long. If having a static IP is a priority for you, you should go with Residential or Data Center Proxies. This is not a disadvantage per se, but might be one for some proxy buyers.
  • Price: Generally Mobile Proxies are much more expensive than other types of proxies. That is because they offer higher quality, and proxy sellers charge more for that. However, you can simply build your own 4G Mobile Proxies with Proxidize. This way, you can cut the middleman and get the highest quality Mobile Proxies at a great price.

How you can build your own 4G Mobile Proxy

There are a lot of different 4G Mobile Proxy solutions available, so deciding on the right one can be challenging. In any case, you should avoid free mobile proxies, as they are not reliable and don't offer the security needed. At the end of the day, you are using someone else's device to access the internet - and that someone else might be a hacker or even worse.

You could also subscribe to a Mobile Proxy service, but this increases the cost per Mobile Proxy drastically. If you want the most reliable and high-quality mobile proxies out there, you can simply build them yourself.

This way, you are in full control of the devices used and can ensure that the Proxies are the highest quality available. Proxidize makes building your own mobile proxies super easy, by providing you with all the hardware and software needed. It is also much more cost-effective, which is how we save our 1,000+ users more than $20M annually on Proxies.

Just take a look at how you can set up your 4G mobile proxy with Proxidize in just a few minutes or check out our knowledge base:

Video: How to make your own 4G Mobile Proxy with Proxidize

Want to get started?

If you are currently looking for a 4G Mobile Proxy solution, you should consider building your own. This way, you get the highest quality and most reliable Proxies available, and you are in full control of the hardware used.

If you have any questions, ideas, or want to share your experiences with different types of proxies, we are looking forward to hearing from you!

Karl Baumgarten

© Copyright 2022 Proxidize Ltd - London - All Rights Reserved

All Proxidize hardware is assembled and shipped with ❤️ from the UK 🇬🇧

All Proxidize hardware is assembled and shipped with ❤️ from the UK 

UK Flag
Start Now
chevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram