What is LTE?

4G LTE is relatively fast mobile network technology, but it’s not as fast as 5G

Easton Smith
Jul 20, 2022
Icon Time To Read1 min read

At some point you’ve probably seen a little icon at the top of your phone screen, near the signal bar, that says LTE or 4G LTE. This means that your phone is connected to a 4G LTE network. That’s usually a good thing, since LTE networks are some of the fastest we have.

LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution,” and it’s the technology behind 4G cellular networks. Here’s everything you need to know about how it works.

What’s the difference between 4G and LTE?

There are three major mobile network types that are in use right now: 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G. The G here stands for “generation.” The 3G network is the oldest still in regular use, and the 5G is the newest.

When 4G was first getting its start in the late aughts, there were competing standards of technology that were used in different countries. LTE is the standard that eventually won out and was employed throughout the world. So, in other words: 4G and LTE are actually the same thing.

How does LTE compare to other mobile technologies?

Before 5G rolled out, 4G LTE was the fastest mobile network technology in the United States. It was a significant boost up from 3G, in terms of data speeds. A standard 3G mobile network can get you about 7 Mbps of data speeds, at best. 4G LTE networks can reach speeds up to 100 Mbps (though most of the time it will be more like 10 to 40 Mbps).

Users on a 4G LTE network should be able to stream standard definition video, high-quality audio, and play basic online games without a problem. A 4G LTE hotspot can act as a decent alternative to wired internet, though it won’t be as fast as most home Wi-Fi networks.

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Is LTE the same as 5G?

No. 5G mobile networks are generally much faster than 4G LTE ones, though it depends on what kind of 5G network. Ultra-wideband 5G networks can reach amazing speeds up to 1 Gbps! But, right now, most users of 5G networks are on narrowband networks, which are kind of like 4G LTE “Plus” and reach top speeds of around 250 Mbps.

Now that you know all about 4G LTE, try this next.

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Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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