- What does 4G LTE mean for your Smartphone?
- How fast is 4G?
- Different countries, different frequencies...
The majority of newly released high end Smartphones sport a relatively new feature described as 4G LTE. But because the 4G LTE concept is still in the somewhat early stages of use and it varies around the world we've prepared an introductory article explaining what exactly 4G LTE actually means, what it means for your new 4G LTE equipped Smartphone and why you should consider getting one.
LTE or Long Term Evolution (commercially described as 4G LTE) is a standard for increasing the data speed and capacity of current networks. Like 3G, LTE is based on GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies but uses a different radio and so 4G (4th generation) is used to distinguish between the two networks.
A more efficient data network and usage means you can download music, movies, apps, and games faster than ever before, as well as browse the web and upload your own content, such as pictures etc. LTE is a natural network evolution from the current 3G network.
The speed of 4G LTE eventually depends on the network, carrier and the country you're in, however, a general indication is that it is capable to provide download speeds up to 299.6 Mbps and upload speeds up to 75.4 Mbps.
A test conducted back in November 2012 by IT Pro on UK's EE network showed
that on average 4G download speeds were four times faster than 3G.
While 3G download speeds ranged between 0.76 - 12.17 Mbps, average 4G download speeds ranged between 0.00 - 50.21 Mbps.
Furthermore, according to the test, 4G upload speeds (ranged between 0 - 21Mbps) were not only considerably faster than 3G (0.66 - 2.34 Mbps) but they were also more consistent across the board.
|Download Speeds||0.76 - 12.17 Mbps||0.00 - 50.21 Mbps|
|Upload Speeds||0.66 - 2.34 Mbps||0 - 21Mbps|
The LTE standard can be used with many different frequency bands.
Most European networks offer their LTE services on the
800 MHz or the 2600 MHz bands (this includes France, Spain and Italy) but there is also the possibility of the 1800 MHz band in some cases.
The US mostly uses the 700 MHz or the 2100 MHz bands.
The differences in frequencies are due to the very tight radio/band spectrum,
which is regulated by governments and licensed to carriers
via so called auctions. The tight radio spectrum thus makes it difficult for carriers to share one global frequency even if they do share
the 4G LTE technology.
What this means basically, is that 4G LTE capable phones may work in one country but not in others, and so users must ensure they have a multi band capable phone if they wish to roam internationally on 4G LTE. It is important to note here however, that even if your 4G LTE tablet or Smartphone doesn't support the frequency band available in the country you are traveling to, you will still be able to use their 3G networks when roaming.