Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Despite Google’s claims to the contrary and no mention in FCC filing documents, a group of intrepid Android enthusiasts has unlocked the motherlode of Nexus 4 secrets. The phone has working LTE.
The discovery of an LTE chip inside the latest flagship phone from Google created brief hope that the handset could be hacked to support the 4G network technology. That hope was soon shot down when folks realized the device did not have the complimentary radios necessary to cover the wide deployment of LTE bands. That didn’t end the curiosity of a group of individuals over at XDA.
Using a simple software tweak, Nexus 4 owners uncovered what appeared to be support for LTE on Canada’s TELUS and Rogers. AnandTech followed up with a round of testing and confirmed that the device does indeed feature unofficial support for LTE Band 4 up to 20MHz. Currently these Canadian networks are among the few that support Band 4 for LTE.
Those in the US haven’t had the same luck due to network compatibility (AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint use alternate bands for LTE), but the one glimmer of hope is that T-Mobile does plan to launch LTE on Band 4 within the coming year. Coincidentally, T-Mobile is the only carrier to partner with Google on the launch of the Nexus 4.
So what does it all mean? It’s unlikely we will see official LTE support rolled out for certain networks. Google does not intend for the Nexus 4 to be an LTE device, and despite limited 4G support the phone still does not contain all the hardware necessary for a reliable, optimized experience.
It makes us wonder why Google would not be upfront about the possibility for LTE support after a bit of tweaking, though. Don’t they realize who they are dealing with? Hardly a secret goes uncovered thanks to the ever-dedicated community of enthusiasts who will stop at nothing to create their ideal Android experience.
Still, for the average consumer this discovery means little. The vast majority of those who have managed to snag a Nexus 4 will have little use for LTE Band 4, and there are certain to be set backs for those that do have access to the 4G network. We’ll still list a lack of LTE support as our chief complaint about the phone (other than the debacle that was its public launch). Hopefully future Nexus models will push forward with the new technology rather than backtrack as with the Nexus 4.
[via XDA, Thanks, Micah!]
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- Check out the Nexus 4 forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.