4G vs LTE?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by shannonbrooke, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. shannonbrooke macrumors member

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    #1
    So on my iPhone 5, at times it says 4G in the status bar, and other times it says LTE. What's the difference? Isn't 4G and LTE pretty much the same thing?
     
  2. illutionz macrumors 65816

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    #3
    4G = HSPA+ basically 3.75G
    LTE = True LTE 4G (faster)
     
  3. spazzer4501 macrumors newbie

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    #4
    LTE is 4G but 4G isn't necessarily LTE.

    For AT&T there are two types of 4G
    HSPA+, which is branded as 4G even though it's not much faster than 3G, and LTE which is the 4G we all know and love.

    So when your iPhone shows 4G, expect significantly slower speeds than when it shows LTE (although they'll both be faster than 3G)
     
  4. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    4G is 101Mbps+ when moving at highway speeds and 1Gbps when stationary mobile cellular data. Currently this is WiMax, LTE-A, and some yet undeployed advanced forms of HSPA+. Current LTE is a 3G technology and maxes out at a theoretical 100Mbps.
     
  5. liltechdude macrumors member

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    #6
    4G = HSPA+ (really 3.5G but carriers are calling it 4G because of the faster speeds compared to HSDPA)
    LTE = LTE (genuine 4G)

    /thread
     
  6. moobsies macrumors newbie

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  7. shannonbrooke thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    That makes sense. I remember on my friend's iPhone 4S it'd always say 4G even though I know it wasn't really 4G, but I came from an iPhone 4 so being on anything other than 3G or Edge is new to me. Lol. Thank you.
     
  8. pgiguere1, Sep 22, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012

    pgiguere1 macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

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    #9
    4G is a marketing term and has no controlled technical meaning. Basically, 4G is what your carrier decides it is. For AT&T, 4G means HSPA+ which is slower than LTE. Some might argue that HSPA+, or even LTE, are neither "real 4G" since they aren't fast enough to meet the International Telecommunication Union's 4G standard but carriers don't care and prefer throwing out inaccurate marketing buzzwords so there probably will never be a clear consensus on the definition of 4G, so we'll have to deal with the ambiguities.

    For all that matters for you as an iPhone AT&T user, a LTE icon means your speed is faster than a 4G icon.
     
  9. reputationZed macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Good podcast on How Stuff Works: Tech Stuff that explains the whole 4G/LTE/HSPA+ situation

    Search iTunes for
    Talkin' 'bout cell phone generations
     
  10. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #11
    4G is a standard set forth by the ITU. The standard states 4G must be able to reach 100Mbps when moving at highway speeds and 1Gbps when stationary. LTE does not reach either of these requirements. Carriers have started a marketing war to see who can get the most subscribers and they've use the term incorrectly to brainwash consumers into buying things that are not actually 4G.
     
  11. AppleFan91 macrumors 65816

    AppleFan91

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    #12
    4G is a marketing tool that AT&T uses that basically is just a faster, tweaked version of 3G. Some refer to it as 3.5G. While LTE is "true" 4G in that it is usually 15-20x faster than 3G.
     
  12. reputationZed macrumors 65816

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    #13
    So a Verizon iPhone 5 will show as either LTE or 3G but never 4G, correct?
     
  13. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #14
    Do a speedtest in the locations you care about. In the past, iPhone on AT&T was lucky to exceed 1 Mbps (that is Mega bits per second, by the way, not Bytes). OK for reading text-based email, but, too slow for a lot of other things. 10 Mbps is fast enough to do real work, like connect to your office email server and download big files. Or, watch pretty good video if you must. 100 Mbps is fast enough that unless you are actually in video production, you probably don't need an office. "True 4G", 1 Gbps, (= 1000 Mbps) is actually fast enough to do video production, at least until the world converts to quad HD/4K video.

    I'm liking the speed test results that people are posting using LTE. Maybe not true 4G, but, fast enough for almost anything a consumer would want today.
     
  14. bidwalj macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    That is correct.
     
  15. cvaldes macrumors 68040

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    #16
    Wake up.

    The ITU basically turned "4G" into a marketing term when it allowed T-Mobile USA to describe their HSPA+ network as 4G, since they had no spectrum allocated for LTE. In late 2010.

    That's right, 4G has been a marketing term for almost two years, Rip Van Winkle.
     
  16. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #17
    The ITU never allowed it and still doesn't recognize it as being such. They just lack the power to enforce it.
     
  17. imalazeeass macrumors regular

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    #18
    My iphone5 stays on 4g and rarely shows LTE...is that due to my location?
     
  18. RotaryP7 macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Yea, HSPA+ isn't 4G. T-Mobile was the first to release HSPA+ with then calling it 4G. It was 3.5G and it still is. So on AT&T, "4G" is HSPA+ and LTE is LTE (4G).
     
  19. illutionz macrumors 65816

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    #20
    That means you are in HSPA+ AT&T Area and no LTE coverage yet.
     
  20. cvaldes macrumors 68040

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    #21
    You are wrong (and obstinate), Rip Van Winkle.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2374564,00.asp

    There is no "Intell" inside.
     
  21. Intell, Sep 22, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012

    Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #22
    The excerpt below that PC Mag has used as basis for this can be taken a few ways. The excerpt:
    ITU says LTE-A and WMAN-A are IMT-A
    ITU says IMT-A is 4G
    ITU says that LTE and Wi-Max are retroactively giving the term 4G, yet does not define them as such due to then (12/2010) standards

    In a nutshell, the ITU says "yes you can call it that, but that isn't real 4G".

    Thus my initial statement of LTE not being 4G due to it not being within the IMT-A standard stands as correct. This Muppet has more than fluff inside.
     
  22. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #23
    4G = 3G that Deutsche Telekom got the ITU to rebrand so as not to embarrass T-Mobile, which is 3, 2, and 1 year(s) behind Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, respectively in building out an LTE network.

    LTE = Real 4G. Some might quibble that LTE-A (the next version of LTE) is the only true 4G, but the basic technology is the same.

    The bottom line is that in Midtown Manhattan, on AT&T's "4G" HSPA network I was getting download speeds of about 1Mbps. On LTE, I'm getting 10Mbps.
     
  23. cvaldes macrumors 68040

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    #24
    That's not how the world works. If everyone (or nearly everyone) calls HSPA+ "4G", it basically is, for all intents and purposes.

    That's how marketing and general usage terms work. As a botanist, you can insist forever that a tomato is a fruit, but for Joe Consumer, it's a vegetable (the culinary/grocery definition).

    If the "4G" term was really in question, there would be lawsuits left and right. Note that these organizations _do_ have the power to change things.

    For a while, Palm kept on mimicking Apple iPhones so Palm handsets would sync with iTunes. The USB governing board put a halt to that when they warned Palm that the company was out of compliance (spoofing IDs) with the agreed USB specification.

    You need to wake up and learn how the world works.

    Oh, and the word is "excerpt", not "exert."
     
  24. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #25
    But the basic technology behind LTE and LTE-A is the same. LTE, whether "3.9G" or "4G" is still significantly more spectral-efficient than UMTS/HSPA, which is the older 3G network that T-Mobile successfully petitioned to be deemed "4G." In a lab, yes, HSPA can get speeds of 14.4Mbps or 21Mbps, but in the real world, LTE significantly outperforms HSPA.

    ----------

    Abraham Lincoln reportedly asked a rhetorical question "How many legs would a calf have if you called a tail a leg?". "4" was his response, since calling something a leg didn't make it so.
     

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