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!