LTE – How does it change your life?


Owners of Android smartphones may be puzzled with the term LTE that is often advertised with cellular contracts. Most of us have become accustomed to the terms 3G and 4G that denote 3rd and 4th generation network capabilities. 4G can refer to two different technologies – WiMax and LTE. In Australia though, it’s almost exclusively used to refer to LTE, or what’s known as Long Term Evolution. It does not represent a 5th generation, but is more of a general term that refers to the future evolution of network capabilities. The next new standard is LTE Advanced, and this is also known as ‘true’ 4G.

What’s next?

It will be fair to say that 5G is on its way – work is already being done towards setting new standards for the next generation of cellular networks. 5G can be seen as just another step on the “LTE Programme”, although the term LTE may disappear and be replaced by new terminology to describe this evolution.

It has little to do with phone calls

The aim with it all is to speed up the downloading of apps, checking email, watching a YouTube video or downloading a picture – anything on your phone that requires the use of data. If you have a 4G SIM, a 4G cell phone contract, and your phone supports your carrier’s 4G bands, you may not benefit from an LTE connection, until you have enabled the mode on your phone’s modem. This can be done under Settings > Tethering & Networks > Mobile Network > Network Mode.

Which phone to get

You don’t have to worry too much about cell phone brands that support or do not support LTE. Carriers worldwide all offer the usual range of popular Android cell phones that feature “LTE/4G”. Until the term is replaced by something else, the best is to go for models that mention “LTE” at least, which will guarantee the model is at the forefront of evolving network capabilities.


Anton Venter

Anton covered Google technology for over four years from the the city of Johannesburg in South Africa. He has reviewed mobiles and Android devices for a number of local blogs and magazines; Anton loves researching and numbers.

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