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Difference Between 4G and 4G LTE

4G vs 4G LTE

After a flurry of smartphones that carried the 4G label, the new buzz nowadays is 4G LTE. But, telecoms use these terms incorrectly and may be misleading to many of their customers. There is actually a huge difference between 4G and 4G LTE. 4G means 4th generation, which refers to a complete new set of cellular technologies that surpass the capabilities of the older 3G technologies.

But what telecoms are branding as 4G phones, including 4G LTE, do not really comply as 4G technologies as they do not pass the stated requirements. They still actually fall as 3G technologies since there are still no 4G technology being currently used. 4G LTE is actually a precursor to a more advanced cellular technology called LTE Advanced, which should be able to comply to 4G requirements.

But when it comes to speed, 4G LTE has the advantage compared to what telecoms brand as 4G. 4G branded devices actually use HSPA+ technologies which can reach peak data rates of up to 21mbps, depending on the model. 4G LTE devices have a peak download rate of 75mbps, way more than what 4G devices are capable of. You should take note that you can only take advantage of the speed when you have a 4G LTE device connected to a 4G LTE network. If you can only get HSPA signal in your location, your device would automatically switch to that signal, thus nullifying any speed advantage. Before you splurge on a new 4G LTE device, you should inquire on whether your area is covered by LTE. This is important as many telecoms are still in the process of rolling out the new network.

4G and 4G LTE are just monikers used to indicate that the device may be able to browse the internet faster or download files quicker. But in actual use, the experience is still very much limited by the capabilities of the service provider and not by the device. Most companies do have speed limits or caps to prevent the abuse of their networks and to ensure smooth service for everyone. Just because you have a 4G LTE phone, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be much faster than a 4G phone.


  1. 4G is a generation of cellular technology while 4G LTE is a cellular technology
  2. What telecoms as 4G and 4G LTE are not really true 4G technologies
  3. 4G LTE is supposedly faster than what is advertised as 4G

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1 Comment

  1. To clarify, HSPA+ and 4G speads already have technology in place that delivers peak performance at 42mbps and by the end of the year should be able to host speeds at theoretical peak of 84mbps.

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