Nexus 4 has working LTE, but support limited

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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  • Jasper

    Wann wird Google eine Vorbestellungsoption im play store einbauen?

  • http://twitter.com/nrbovee n.r. bovee

    This is why Android will always be > iPhone.

    • Albert Naranjo

      Do not get this statement. For starters… the iPhone has LTE radios… available for many LTE bands… and they don’t need to be “unlocked” to use them.

      And the second point… Apple has always received criticism from the Android community for “locking things down” and “not giving you control of your device” or “creating artificial limitations blocking features for older devices.” What the hell do you think Google as done here? They shipped the device with LTE chips that they never intend to activate. (The FCC filings and tests only mention HSPA/GSM. If Google was to push out an update enabling LTE, I am pretty sure they’d get into major trouble.

      • John Doe

        If you call something that is easily accessible from a menu, “locking it down” then you clearly do not know the difference between an open and closed system. Google legally cannot market the Nexus 4 as having LTE capabilities and they do not look like they will “lock it down” because this XDA we are talking about they will find a way around any patch google does. If google wanted to enable LTE they could simply send the device back to the FCC again to approve it for LTE without getting into “major trouble”. The FCC knows of the universality of the qualcomm chip that is in Nexus 4 because they approved it before.

      • ClayRogers

        I think he meant because android has a better development community, which is true.

        • shonangreg

          But taken as a whole ecosystem, Albert is right. Google and LG (aided by the hacking community) have produced a phone that has at the most substandard LTE.

          If this phone can be unleashed to have full LTE functionality, it will change this, but it would still have been a strange roadblock for Google/LG to have thrown in.

      • http://twitter.com/nrbovee n.r. bovee

        Because Android developers do what enthusiasts want, while Apple developers do what Apple wants.

      • Christian Johansson

        True, but apple doesn’t care about small countries like Sweden, No LTE for iphone users in Sweden.

  • ClayRogers

    I’m getting 10mbits down on my Nexus 4 in a HSPA+ 21 coverage area. That’s the fastest Mobile data I’ve ever gotten in my area and I’ve tried all the various 3G/4G networks. Not having LTE means very little if it’s got HSPA+.

  • Dean Politis

    I Imagine that Google did not advertise it because it did not want to find itself in the same situation that Apple did with the iPad 3. Didn’t Apple get sued in Australia for saying the device was LTE even though none of the LTE bands in the device were supported in Australia?

  • Tomato88

    Just get Galaxy Nexus with LTE, and root it so that you can stay current with the newest Android.

    • https://twitter.com/EpicEuropean Kreft

      Eww.

  • harold

    I smell icrap trolls.

  • erni74

    It’s a shame that it probably only works in Canada, or the Nexus 4 would be the best Smartphone of the year have been

  • tomn1ce

    I had a feeling that something like this was going to happen. Its nice that they discover this as fast as they did….I just hope that for future Nexus they use a wide range of LTE bands in their phones. Even if they have to produce different models for different regions. This way everyone wins.

  • maximillion82

    For the first time there is an advantage for living in this -40 degree penumbra lol.
    But honestly I just did a speed test on Rogers HSPA+ network with the Nexus 4 and got 10+ Mbit/s. Think this pretty good late will be a bit faster but use a lot more battery. So I’m MIT even sure if its worth getting late.

    • ShaunOfTheLive

      You’re MIT? Great autocorrect

      • Daniel

        must be on an iPhone…

  • Keith

    LTE isn’t complete on the Nexus 4, it’s missing a couple of parts to really use it. It has the same chipset as the optimus G which required part of the LTE but not everything.

    • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

      you can use it perfectly fine on AWS LTE as demonstrated in numerous videos. MobileSyrup got 40+Mbps down 20+up on three different carrier Sims.

      • Keith

        Yeah, that’s great it “kind of works” but that doesn’t make it complete. Just ask the people who actually tore the Nexus 4 apart, the LTE isn’t complete. I never said it just wont work at all.

        • shonangreg

          I’d like to see specifically what it is missing. This conversation is meaningless otherwise.

          • http://profiles.google.com/bullard.randyj Randy Bullard

            I read a few days ago on some site where they did a tear down that it was specifically missing some kind of LTE specific antenna or antenna modification tuned to LTE. I have no idea how important that is, but it rang true.

          • Keith

            The LTE is missing the power amplifier and LTE Antenna.

    • Keith

      Really? A dislike for stating the facts? I’m getting a Nexus 4, but I’m not such a fan boy that I’m going to ignore the truth.

  • http://twitter.com/DoesitPew StacyD

    Ummmmm Band 4 is supported by ATT……