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Verizon 4G LTE

4G is a feature we all have become accustomed to over the span of the last year or so. The term has found itself embedded in the names of new devices, in carrier branding and as the subject of hot headed flame wars over what is and isn't "4G". Respective "4G" technologies can be found in anything from low-end smartphones to the highest of high-end tablets.

That said, not every device comes with 4G capabilities. And, depending on who you're talking to or which carrier provides service to you, your "4G" smartphone may not be as fast as you think it is.

Sure, almost every smartphone released these days comes with 4G branding of some sort, but that doesn't necessarily mean it meets all 4G standards. Some carriers would prefer the lines between different cellular technologies be blurred, but there is a significant difference in a HSPA+ 4G phone, a 4G phone using WiMAX and a 4G LTE device. (Say what you will about what is or isn't true 4G. Neither HSPA+ or LTE are true 4G, but for the sake of this article and my own sanity, both will be referred to as 4G.)

Take the recent Samsung Galaxy S III for example. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset, only some of the U.S. variants of the Galaxy S III are donned with LTE connectivity. The international version instead comes with HSPA+ connectivity since the quad-core Exynos chipset made by Samsung is not yet compatible with LTE. (I figure how scarce LTE is outside of the U.S. might also have something to do with it.) Nonetheless, both devices are considered "4G" devices, yet the networks they utilize are vastly different.

To wireless connoisseurs, there is only one currently existing (and readily available to consumers) wireless technology worth designating as 4G: Long Term Evolution, or LTE for short. And most of the wireless providers here in the States have only affirmed their stance as they all plan to transition to LTE at some point. But is this 4G connectivity a necessity? And is LTE something you must have?

According to a (questionable) survey performed by investment firm Piper Jaffray, 47 percent of 3,000 participating U.S.-based wireless customers feel they do not need 4G. Asked the question, "Which 4G wireless is, in your opinion, better?", 15.1 percent answered 4G LTE, 12.4 said simply "4G" and 25.7 percent believe they're all the same.

What does this particular Piper Jaffray study prove? Aside from revealing the already well-known fact that the general populace actually knows next to nothing about 4G and that Piper Jaffray has a way of asking very ambiguous questions, absolutely nothing. And, of course, no one needs 4G or LTE to begin with. In most cases, we don't even need smartphones. They're a luxury, as are the associated speeds of our wireless connections.

Regardless, the question of whether LTE is a must-have feature for some persists.

For me, I would rather not go without it again. Buying the HTC ThunderBolt on launch day, I was one of the first consumers to grace the wide open Verizon LTE network in Charlotte, North Carolina. Just a few months later, I switched back to the iPhone from the ThunderBolt and never looked back. Once the iPhone 4S launched, that's where my money went, despite lacking the LTE connectivity I was hoping for.

However, after several months of suffering with the horrendous speeds of using the AT&T Galaxy Note on T-Mobile, using a 3G iPhone and a few HSPA+ devices in a primarily 2G area, I could not be more of a wireless speed demon.

I recently moved back into the Charlotte Metro area and back into a very strong LTE market for both AT&T and Verizon. I honestly couldn't be more happy with how solid the speeds and signal have been, and it has only made me realize just how much I missed not having to put my phone down to wait on my Twitter feed to refresh or for a Web page to load.

Is LTE a necessity? Of course not. But considering I have to pay the same amount each month with or without it, I would rather get my money's worth and utilize every possible connection. That's a far cry from my answer to a similar question last October.

And there is another pressing matter on everyone's mind. If the next iPhone doesn't come equipped with LTE, will it still be worth buying? I already have my doubts about the next iPhone. There is a lot on the table and more ways Apple can go wrong that I care to count. LTE connectivity is only one of the many features I hope the next iPhone has, and a lack of LTE will certainly be a deal-breaker for me.

A lack of LTE is one of the main reasons I'm having such a hard time going prepaid, using the Galaxy Nexus full-time and primarily using the iPhone 4S. What about you, ladies and gents. We know LTE isn't a necessity, but is it a must-have feature for you? Will you pass on the next iPhone if it doesn't have LTE?


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87 Reactions to this post

"Do you have to have 4G LTE?"


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Wesley A Meek Yes I do! There is a considerable amount of difference in down and upload speeds, I would'nt want to be without LTE.
Duckit No not yet :/
Enis Fazliu yeah 120 miles away from where i live
Marlon Milligan Yes god......but its on Sprint so its sketchy 4G LTE....kinda miss Wimax though...they should have stuck with it and brought out Wimax 2.
Vicente Reyes Yes but I'd rather stay on 3g unless they fix it to where the 4g card eats the battery less then Wi-Fi. I actually save the battery 50% more on Wi-Fi then on 4g, ill have to say that at times 4g is way faster then Wi-Fi, but its not constant, like Wi-Fi
Victor Brownwell Steady 3G is fine with me!!
Tom Parkison For me, yes... 4G is a must. The 3G network is seriously overloaded in my area and the 4G network is the only network that even allows for decent page load times.
Jennifer Urieta I turn the 4g off my 3 g is much faster sg3 Verizon. 4g barely works
Brandon Holley Eh I mean it's nice to have but honestly half of the time I'm in 3G anyway because the 4G coverage just sucks that much.
Adrian Anguiano Not really. I can wait 4 more seconds for a page to load up unlike some people
Brandon Berwick Don't have it where I live and never will
Buddy Koenig Nope :-(
Zach Cline I have to agree with Ronnie. Verizon really tries to push the 4G devices but has tiered data plans so I'm stuck using WiFi half the time. Makes no sense.
Angel Hernandez @Elijah Of course,cause no 4g network is THAT fast,not even lte is. I think you ment megabits not bites. Still,being over 1Mb is pretty fast,i dont know why yout complaining lol.
Angel Hernandez Yes,and i do know the difference between all the 4g networks. Im going to at&t since sprint dumped its wimax network. -_____- Tho verizon has the largest 4glte network,it has the fastest upload speeds. While at&t has faster download speeds. Theres both at&t and verizon 4glte in my area but at&t seems better cause if you drop the 4g lte signal you wont be stuck on 3g,youll get hspa plus which is a form of 3g,but faster lol. So cant wait to get my one x on at&t. :)
Huey Liggins I have the note with 4g lte. The battery sucks Compared to the international note that doesn't have 4g lte. So I can understand what some are saying but I'd rather carry a spare battery because 4g is just as fast as companies claim they are as long as they provide good service
Elijah David Kleehammer When my upgrade comes around in Q1 2013, the next generation iPhone won't even be in the running if it's not 4G LTE. I dislike HSPA+ because where I live in Elgin, Oklahoma, I barely pull 10 MB/s download, while upload is just laughable. I hope we get LTE in Lawton at least, so I can get it occasionally.
Travis Bowen I've had it on my razr for a month now the only big difference I've noticed was upload speed so to answer the question no
Rachelnelsoncecilia Mejia Yes. Before I was on HSPA+ when it first launched on T-Mobile and thought it was great. Then got LTE and I never wasn't to go back to anything less than LTE.
Joseph W Rodgers nah....i prefer better battery life. great speeds though.
Malik Harris Yes LTE is so much better than 3G, which is what I used to have. Once you get a taste of LTE, you never want to go back.
Anthony Bailey @Jacob Grumbles: A bigger battery than another phone doesn't mean a thing, if that bigger battery doesn't have enough juice to support the phone its on. And where are these "well-known facts" that LTE drains batteries?? I am not the average person who knows very little. I am a highly knowledgeable person when it comes to cellular phones and technology. I am a member of several of the most coveted tech websites. I don't ever see many people with LTE phones complaining about battery drain issue, specifically related to LTE its self. The only time the LTE affects a phones battery life, is if a phone is constantly searching for an LTE signal when there is none. On AT&T, LTE is always turned on as long as its available. If there is no LTE service available, it automatically switches off to HSPA+ and if that's not available, it switches to standard 3G service. Again, I have never experienced severe battery drain due to LTE on my Note. I don't know how things work at Verizon, but I'm not hearing many AT&T customers complaining about this issue.
Rupert Walker Definitely I'm paying for it on sprint
Ronnie Bowlson On verizon yes. They need to bring unlimited data back.
Jose Angel Santiago for the 20th time this question has been asked here...NO!!!
Patric Pederson I will on or around Sept. 21...when I get my new iPhone. My current iPhone 4 is just on EVDO Rev A.
William Smith On Verizon yes on att no!
Jacob Grumbles @ Anthony Bailey the Verizon gnex comes with a bigger battery than my GSM version and the only other difference is lte . Even with the bigger battery the lte version is in need of a charge long before mine. Besides it is a well known fact lte drains batteries like no other . You can say what you want about it being the battery the phone etc but fact is the same phone as mine with a bigger battery and lte fail to last as long as my phone with the smaller battery and no late .
Daniel Quintero Steady reliable signal is more important Sprint
Sean Watson Yes and yes. A lot of times on 3g, my data transfer completely stops. Anytime I use any significant data, I always have my lte turned on. As far as streaming video or anything, 3g is worthless josh pieters is right. Everyone who says 3g is fast enough are just iPhone sheep. Half the iPhone users think the iPhone 4s already has 4g. So what's their opinion on the subject worth anyway???
Ignacio Gonzalez Yes. Even though I'm mostly on 3G and Wi-Fi to conserve battery. On Verizon, 3G is usually more than adequate and completely usable. Thankfully. BUT I'd probably never go back to a device that didn't support 4G.
Major Crisis I've never had it but i would like to c what its all about.
Anthony Bailey @Jacob Grumbles: You do of course know that LTE in its self, is not the absolute reason why a phone can suck. It mainly has to do with how good or shitty the battery that comes installed with your phone really is. LTE has no major penalties on the battery life of my Galaxy Note. Things like my display and Android system, drain my battery much more than LTE ever does.
Jacob Grumbles No i don't have 4g lte and i prefer to keep it that way . The battery on my hspa+ gnex last way longer than my friends 4g lte gnex . I might change my mind when the figure out a way to keep it from killing batteries .
Alberto Gutiérrez Nope. Indeed I'm more worried about stability rather than speed. There are a lot of companies that offers you the fastest connection, but it drops everytime when you need it the most.
Josh Pieters Yes! That recent study taken that showed 42% don't care for it all probably have iPhones. Get off Apple's dick yo!
Zach Cline Yes I have 4G LTE
David Morgan yes....yes I do. Thanks for asking
Kevin McQuade of course
Terry Nolting When I finally get to try it I'll let you know. Right now I'm on Verizon 3G with the Dinc 2, who knows, when I get LTE, it may become an addiction.
Shawn Poling Hspa+ on AT&T is good Enough for me.
Jobany Guillen No apparently NE doesnt support most 4GTE phones. We barely cover 3G for crying out loud.
Joshua Andrus Not with limited data. Hspa+ has been more than sufficient for now.
Baron Crandall It's the future.
Antonio Vazquez yes its a must. thanks to my unlimited 4G data on Verizon ha
Travis Newhero When I was on 3G I didn't really think so, but now that i'm on LTE, it's amazing. Not sure what the fuss with the 3G HPSA+. Though I can't wait till 7G ;)
Milton Gfl Williams Well I'm ok with h+ because we don't have 4g lte in Jamaica just yet.
CeeGii Borels Unlimited HSPA+ will always be better than 10gb capped LTE
Jason Ramos Oh and definitely on MetroPCS - It's a must! They're only CDMA 1x in most areas
Jason Ramos On Verizon and Sprint - yes. On T-Mobile and AT&T - not really
Isaac Johnson Absolutely not. 3G was fast enough for the most part. Biggest perk with 4G though is that you rarely have to deal with videos stopping and buffering. I think 4G will slowly but surely become the new standard for most.
Jordan Mamba WorldPeace Konesavanh My white S III with LTE couldn't be better. Unless Samsung is smart enough to make exynos with LTE.
Aaron Bergman non hspa+42 3g is not fast.... once you use lte then go back to downloading at 300kb max, it drives you nuts
Ryan Etzel Not really 3G is fast enough
Mike Dyson lol @ mike law
Tyler Frodl I have hspa+ with att on my one x don't need lte just more of a battery drain:P
Mike Law NO, I have A 3g phone and it works just as good with any other phone out there and with google play store I can update my phone with the latest themes and it looks just as 2012
Raman Ghuman Heck ya once you have LTE you can't go back!
Ian Baylon Nope, WiMax on VM.
Tyler Kirchman I have it right now but I'm moving to virgin mobile WIMAX unlimited is better than what At&T is charging
Matthew Fort dont need it now but its coming so either or you know. I have the Louis, C.K mentality. meaning i dont want to be a spoiled brat, HSPA+ has been more than enough regardless of the hiccups sometimes.
Kizito Nestor Hsdpa+ is good enough for me on my Galaxy S3 i9300...
Nick Catelli I wouldn't say it's a must have, but it's up there on the feature list. I'd say that's changing though. If you're signing into a 2 year contract and you're looking a phone at this point in 2012, the lack of 4G LTE on a device is, in many cases, a deal breaker. All I'm saying is, the device has to be pretty much top of the line and best in its class in most every regard to warrant an omission of 4G LTE at this point in time.
Ram M Cruz InkPro 72gb on a 2 year contrac??? Naaaaaaa!!!!!! Hspa+ same speed all year long
Tito Cruz Definitely! it is the main reason the iPhone is a laughing stalk as well. all these years of flattery.. just to be left in the dust.
Anthony Bailey 4G is a must have. I had (or was supposed to have) 4G WiMax with Sprint, but they screwed me over with the original EVO. I broke contract with them and moved on to AT&T's 4G LTE network with my Galaxy Note. Now I'm in heaven! Averaging about 43Mbps download and 12Mbps upload.
Jaime Escobedo Hspa+ 42mbps is good enough on my SGS3
Chandra Franklin Yes...Samsung Note..
Joanna Enrique Ramos Yesss and loving my galaxy 3 got it in pebble blue for att :-)
George Deleija YES. Be prepared for the future - unless youre around wifi all the damn time but then even then...
Derek Owens HSPA+ 42 is good enough for me




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