4G is the fourth generation of mobile network technology. 4G was made to replace 3G and it offers a connection that is more reliable and delivers much higher speeds. Specifically, 4G LTE means “fourth-generation long term evolution,” with LTE being a type of 4G that delivers the fastest connection for a mobile internet experience – up to 10 times faster than 3G. Many people use the terms 4G and 4G LTE interchangeably, but they are not the same.
4G is the next step above and the replacement for 3G, offering faster speeds for users who stream media (such as videos or MP3s), browse the Internet, and download data. The speed of 4G means less buffering for the user, often none at all, making it the ideal for users who take advantage of the many features today’s smartphones and tablets offer.
When 4G was first introduced, and even when it started to become widely available, many networks weren’t up to the speed of 4G. However some carriers sold 4G-compatible phones, even though customers weren’t truly getting 4G unless they were in an area covered by a 4G network. Most places offer 4G now, but when users with 4G devices are in areas offering only 3G, smartphones and other devices will switch over to 3G. If this happens you won’t have any talk/voice issues, you will just have slower Internet and downloading speeds.
4G LTE is a type of 4G technology, and it delivers the best performance and speeds available today. If you use a lot of data each month or rely on your smartphone or tablet to browse the Internet, 4G LTE is usually the best choice. 4G LTE is about ten times faster than the older 3G technology, so the difference in speed is often quite noticeable when users switch from 3G to 4G LTE.
The speed does depend on the strength of your signal and the network load. 4G LTE networks are so fast that when using one on your phone, your Internet experience is about as good as it is on a home computer connected to a modern wireless broadband network.
When comparing the two, one challenge of using 4G and 4G LTE – if you’re currently using 3G – is that you will probably need to purchase a new smartphone with 4G capabilities. 3G devices simply cannot provide the 4G experience. You must also be in an area that offers a 4G network. If you want to use 4G LTE, your mobile device must support it, and you must be in an area that delivers 4G LTE service.
Another challenge is choosing a cell phone carrier that offers 4G or 4G LTE service. 4G is offered in most areas now, but 4G LTE may not be available. That’s why it’s important to check your carrier’s coverage map. If experiencing 4G LTE is something that matters to you, you will want to find a carrier that offers the most 4G LTE coverage.
Choosing 4G or 4G LTE comes down to what speeds you require or prefer. If you need or want the fastest speeds available, you will want to buy a smartphone that supports 4G LTE. In addition, you will want to check the coverage maps for different carriers to see who offers 4G LTE in the most areas, or at least the areas where you spend the most time such as your home and workplace. It’s also a good idea to visit a wireless retail location to test the different network speeds yourself. You will find a noticeable difference between 3G, 4G, and 4G LTE.