Simple LTE question...

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Ted Witcher, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. Ted Witcher macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2003
    I'm still on a 3GS so I'm a little ignorant here. My friend just got a 5 and he was complaining that the signal switches between 4G and LTE -- those are the two indicators on the top of the screen. What should I tell him is going on here?
  2. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
    It simply means his data connection to the cellular network is switching between LTE and HSPA+. The area he is in may not have full LTE coverage, hence why it's switching back and forth.

    This happens to my i5 frequently where I live since I live over an hour from Philadelphia (where there is LTE). I just turn LTE off when I'm at home since I'm connected to wifi anyway. Your friend can do the same if it bothers him that much.
  3. MarkG21 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2010
  4. Jordan921 macrumors 601


    Jul 7, 2010
    Bay Area
    He's just in an area without full LTE coverage.
  5. ben824 macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2012
    Assuming he is on AT&T, basically "4G" on AT&T is faster 3G, 3.5G if you will, and LTE is "true 4G" as some like to consider it. AT&T as well as other providers broadcast their 3G Data using HSPA. AT&T also broadcasts HSPA+/HSDPA which is faster than standard 3G HSPA service, and thus they market their HSPA+/HSDPA network as "4G". LTE however is what many consider to be "true 4G" as it is extremely fast and reaches speeds that many expect from a 4G service. You may read that HSPA+/HSDPA has theoretical download speeds of something like 14.4 Mbps or higher. This is not something you will not see here in the U.S. I had an iPhone 4S and now a 5 both on AT&T and when on "4G" I never saw anything above 6 Mbps and most of the time it was around 3 Mbps. With LTE I have seen as high as 53 Mbps which is faster than most household internet services.

    On his 5 he will notice that when he makes a phone call the phone will switch from LTE to 4G. This is because Apple combined the LTE data and the voice chip into one single chip. While the "4G" data chip is still separate. So when using the LTE/Voice chip to make a phone call, the phone maintains a data connection using the "4G" data chip.

    Odds are if he is switching back and forth between LTE and 4G then he is probably in an area where not all the AT&T towers have been equipped to broadcast LTE, while some are equipped to do so. So when he picks up reception from the towers that do have LTE then he picks it up and uses LTE, and vice versa when he picks up reception from a 4G tower, he uses 4G and the phone indicates accordingly.

    Hope that clears things up.
  6. tymaster50 macrumors 68030


    Oct 3, 2012
    New Jersey
    yeah unless you're tethering you will almost never need more than 5mbps
  7. Ted Witcher thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2003

Share This Page