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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

4G Is Not LTE

There is 4G and then there is 4G/LTE.  Don’t confuse the two.  Also, don’t feel bad if you don’t understand 4G as there is no real clear standard on 4G.  My iPhone is 4G, my iPad is 4G/LTE, and my carrier for both is AT&T.  I am in a major metro area right now and the results I have below are very typical as you go around the country.  I have been testing this now for about five months and here is a very vivid and very real world result comparing AT&T 4G, AT&T 4G/LTE, and Verizon 4G/LTE.

Tested speed with app:

iPhone (AT&T 4G)

·         Ping 124ms

·         Download .50 Mbps (no I did not leave out some digits this is just bad)

·         Upload  1.34 Mbs

iPad  (AT&T 4G/LTE)

·         Ping 68ms

·         Download  20.43 Mbps

·         Upload  7.73 Mbps

MacBook Air (tested via Verizon MIFI)

·         Ping 96

·         Download 16.86 Mbps

·         Upload   7.86 Mbps

I will let you do your own math but as you can see it is a VERY significant difference even with the same carrier AT&T.  LTE (Long Term Evolution) is an evolving standard.  Currently running at best as drawn up on the chalkboard it can potentially run at 73 Mbps up and 73 Mbps down. The fastest speeds I have seen with LTE so far this year measured out at 38 Mbps down and 27 up.

This past fall I spoke at a large MAP conference for a large NE state and discussed the merits of using your iPhone as a hotspot for the iPad.  At the time it made sense as the speeds were O.K. and as CPAs we love to save money.  Now, it makes NO SENSE to use your iPhone as a hotspot as it is terrible when compared to real 4G/LTE MIFI hotspots. Marianne, please let all your members know I feel bad that I ever recommended this idea.  Everyone, please spend the extra money and buy the iPad it’s own data plan especially now with 4G/LTE.


  1. I'm not super tech savvy so maybe you could explain how exactly you get 4G/LTE. Is it something you can opt in to?

  2. Sorry, 4G/LTE is built into the devices so you must buy a device that has 4G/LTE. You cannot upgrade an existing device to 4G/LTE, it is hard wired into the tool.

  3. Actually, the standards for 4G are very clear, as outlined by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union). Any company (carrier or device manufacturer) is completely lying when they claim their device has 4G capability. Even LTE doesn't meet ITU's standard for 4G. It's just that ITU somehow got suckered into allowing companies to call any data service that's a substantial improvement to original 3G standard, as "4G"; even if the service doesn't actually meet minimum 4G standards. The first truly 4G service will be LTE-Advanced, which won't be covering substantial markets until another 3 or so years down the road. Do a little research on google and wikipedia on this topic and you will see this is the truth.