You may have noticed that sometimes your phone has the 4G symbol next to the service bars. Other times, it says LTE. In this article, I'll explain the difference between 4G and LTE!
What Is 4G?
You need a data connection to use the internet on a mobile phone without Wi-Fi. 4G is the technology that allows that to happen. Following 3G, 4G is the fourth-generation of mobile data technology.
4G is up to 10 times faster than 3G. The speeds of mobile networks are monitored by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ITU requires that mobile use on 4G networks must be able to reach a speed of 100 megabits per second and 1 gigabit per second from an immobile location. When 4G was first introduced, these speeds were record-breaking.
Therefore, 4G was a huge step forward for technology over 3G. However, you may have noticed a slight or significant difference in your connection speeds when your phone is connected to 4G instead of LTE.
What Is LTE?
The acronym “LTE” stands for “Long Term Evolution.” LTE is a 4G wireless broadband standard. It's the second most advanced option available for mobile data connectivity, only to 5G. Therefore, if you have a phone and a plan with 4G LTE capabilities, you'll be receiving some of the fastest data speeds that are widely available (high-band 5G is only available in a handful of cities).
LTE technology offers faster data connection and lower latency. Additionally, LTE lets more phones connect to the same network at one time. This means that areas with higher traffic such as a concert or sporting event won't be affected as much as they would with older cellular technology.
However, not all devices support LTE. Below, I'll explain the main differences between 4G and LTE.
What's The Difference Between 4G and LTE?
4G and LTE are often used interchangeably, but there are a couple differences between the two. As mentioned before, the ITU created standards for the speeds that 4G was required to offer. However, when 4G arrived at the market, many found that these speeds didn't meet the requirements.
Therefore, 4G LTE is simply an improvement upon 4G. It's not a new generation of technology, but it had enough differences to require a name change.
The main difference between the two are the upload and download speeds. Most customers might not notice the difference unless they live in a major city or heavily-populated area. LTE makes a huge difference in these areas.
Which Carriers Have 4G LTE Networks?
Nowadays, all major carriers have 4G LTE networks. The three major carriers are Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. They may differ in their download and upload speeds, but they're still considered LTE.
All of these carriers also have 4G networks. If you're someone that uses a lot of data and wants fast mobile streaming, then 4G LTE is probably your best option.
However, you may currently have a device that doesn't support 4G LTE and in that case, you might consider switching. For example, anything newer than an iPhone 5c and a Samsung Galaxy S4 can support 4G LTE technology. It's always a good idea to check if your phone can support 4G LTE before signing up for a new cell phone plan!
Check out our coverage maps to see which wireless carrier has the best 4G coverage in your area!
4G vs. LTE: Explained!
I hope this article helped you understand how 4G and LTE are different. Both offer very high speeds, but LTE is the go-to network technology for faster speeds. If you have any more questions about 4G or LTE, leave them in the comments section below!
compare LTE latency with 4G
My Samsung Note 10 Lite does not say that it is 4G it just says LTE on the status when wi-fi is shut off. I am in Canada and going to the US next month. Will this phone work there?
LTE is an abbreviation. NOT an acronym, which can be pronounced as a word!
How do I get 4g on my iPhone
I was notified my T-Mobile ZTE Zinger Z667T won’t work past 3G shutdown.
The phone boots up with “T-Mobile 4G”. My phone shows 4 bars at 4G.
Phone specs say this is a HSPA+ (3G) phone. My phone has been lying to me.
We used to say, “A hundred times zero is still zero.” My 3G flip worked perfectly every time I used it. Then I was told I had to change it to accommodate Tracfone’s new income stream. So after a lot of back-and-forth, I bought a 4G LTE flip phone. Two or three times a day, all of a sudden my “x” and no bar flip phone sings like a canary. Old texts that never went, are suddenly collected. I have a string of new texts lined up to be read. I was excited today when I was trying to see… Read more »
my phone is able for 3G/LTE. My provider tells me, that soon his network will all be changed from 3G to 4G.
Is my ‘LTE’-phone able to get 4G ?
so my phone says it is 2g,3g,lte.. it doesnt state 4g.. so this means it is not 4g?? i have a samsung galaxy a10s.. and one site says this has 2g,3g,4g capabilities. but under mobile networks on my phone,. it only shows 2g,3g LTE
Planned obsolescence. It’s the way corporations force us to replace perfectly good hardware devices, like phones and computers, cars with online capabilities.
perhaps a small factor, but many changes in hardware or software are about improvements over older and slower versions. Were people forced to buy LCD TVs? No, you could keep your old vacuum tube TV screen for years and years. But if you want better resolution, want to stream Netflix and a host of other things, the old technology just doesn’t cut it and that has nothing to do with planned obsolescence.
Dennis, it is planed obsolescence. The makers of our phones want you to have to buy a new phone with the “G” (generation) advances. Back when there were only black and white TV’s and color came out, the FCC said you can bring out color but the older b&W sets still had to work. Technology did that and color TV went on sell and the old sets still worked. Everybody didn’t have to buy a new set. That same requirement could still be required for cello phones. The FCC just has to put the people first and not big business.
Will 4g go away? Will we still have 4G LTE?
Hi Paul, should be around for the foreseeable future. However, 3G will be phased out of North America in early 2022.
yea..my perfectly good 3g flip is gonna be no good by the end of the year…the idiots in gov’t decide that it’s no godd anymore…really makes me so mad
If a phone is advertised to support 4G LTE / 5G and does not include 4G in the description, will it still receive 4G?
Consumer Cellular is trying to tell me I won’t be able to make or receive calls in 30 days because my phone does not have 5G but it does have LTE.
Is what they are telling me true?
They’re lying to ya. Google it. They want you to buy a phone you don’t need yet..
I just spent an hour and a half with Consumer Cellular trying to make LTE work. You need at least 4G
Hi. I have a new 4G Android. Connection is inconsistent. It has a T-Mobile SIM card. The settings say Preferred Network Type is: LTE on (Automatic LTE/3G/2G; LTE/3G; 2G Only. Can this phone really operate as a 4G phone? Thank you very much.
LTE-A is more like 4G in terms of speed and latency
I have LTE in the countryside of Germany and it’s actually equal to 3G in France. I never had real 4G in Germany, even when it’s written as 4G, the speed is not there.
I was a Sprint customer for more than 3 years when T-Mobile notified me that my Samsung J-3 will be obsolete on Jan.1, 2022 and that I will need an upgrade.
I am a disabled veteran and 68 years old. I’m in need of someone’s advice to choose an everyday reliable phone.
Are you able to help?
US Army Veteran
There are a lot of great options out there for you! Here’s a link to an article we published with lots of information about the best cell phones and plans for senior citizens: https://www.upphone.com/learn/deals/buyers-guides-ld/best-cell-phones-plans-seniors-ultimate-guide/
Thank you for reading and I hope this helps!
Hi Joe! I think if you don’t upgrade you won’t have any service. You would have to call AT&T or Sprint and see. I had to upgrade and it sucks. Good day.