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LG: LTE chip in the Nexus 4 was never meant to work

An LG spokesperson is attempting to lend some clarity to the case of the mystery LTE chip that was found inside the Nexus 4 during an iFixit teardown. As we initially speculated, the leftover hardware was included as a carryover from the LG Optimus G, namely its Snapdragon chipset. Here’s the explanation from the horse’s mouth:

“In order to provide the best possible specification for Nexus 4, LG utilised the same powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset as can be found in its 4G LTE product, namely LG Optimus G. This powerful chipset is only available with a combined processor and modem and cannot be implemented separately.”

What this doesn’t explain, however, is how Nexus 4 users in Canada have indeed managed to access certain LTE networks using little more than a few simple software tweaks. But we’re over the idea that this might be some grandiose conspiracy on the part of Google and LG. It seems likely that the limited LTE connectivity some users have unlocked is more a fluke of the hardware than a secret feature.

The fact remains that the LG-produced Nexus 4 lacks the necessary signal amplifiers and filters to provide access to a broad range of LTE bands, leaving virtually no hope for most. In other words, move along. Not much to see here.

Continue reading on the Nexus 4 forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.




  • phinn

    Meanwhile I hear LTE works quite well in last years Nexus, and the iPhone 5. Good job Google.

    • No_Nickname90

      Remember the previous Nexus device were also lyk $400+ off contract. This may have something to do with selling a cheaper device will require some things to be taken out.

      I’m not siding with Google, it still sux, even though I’d use the phone on Tmo, so it wouldn’t matter to me, but still. They did “go back” with that move. I’m now curious to see how the Nexus 5 will be.

    • CiDhed

      The Toro and ToroPlus also don’t get updated as fast as the GSM Galaxy Nexus. LTE and CDMA are the cause of that and that is what Google was attempting to avoid here. I don’t use Wimax on my Sprint phone even though 3g is slow and my Wimax signal is great where I live. I just don’t have a need for 3+ meg mobile.

    • snowglyder

      Yes, but it lags (sometimes months) behind on updates for the privilege of LTE. The unlocked Google Play Store Galaxy Nexus didn’t have LTE.

      • tomn1ce

        It’s not the LTE that makes the update lag its the CDMA network on vzw and sprint that delays the upgrade to the latest version of Android. Especially vzw and their stupid prolonged/extensive testing and they still release updates to their devices with bugs. It would be nice if vzw drops CDMA in favor of LTE only devices…

        • phinn

          If Apple can push out an update to ALL of their phones in the same time frame then Google’s coordination with verizonwireless.com is simply inadequate. I admit they are a terrible carrier to work with, but it’s no excuse at all when the competition can do it successfully.

          For me, I have no choice, they are the only carrier that works inside my NYC office.

          • Steve Green

            So Google should delay updates to other devices just to let Verizon have same day updates? I am typing this on a Verizon GN and am glad that other Nexus devices are not suck waiting for Verizon. I will be leaving them for this reason. If Verizon wants to be anything other than a dumb pipe I want nothing to do with them.

          • phinn

            Of course they shouldn’t wait. But an extra month or two getting thru garbage VZW is nothing compared to never getting an update on any other Android phone.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Johnston/1054793109 Joshua Johnston

          I was one of the people running out and grabbing the leaked versions of the LTE radio and OS updates for a VZW Galaxy Nexus as soon as they were released. And I can say that in my personal experience, the experience was not pleasant. Verizon’s problem was coupling the OS to the radio firmware releases, and making one dependent on the other. If they’d released the OS by itself and held the radio updates back, the Nexus program would still feel like it meant something to Verizon customers. However, the radio firmwares that kept leaking were -bad-, bad enough that I completely understand why Verizon didn’t release them to the wider market.

          My Galaxy Nexus is in pretty decent shape with the latest updates that VZW released, and running a custom ROM. But I will say I’m pretty permanently soured on VZW as a company to trust with a proper “Google Experience” and would be more than happy to switch to AT&T or even T-Mobile if my contract were up today.

      • phinn

        I’ll take 2 months wait between updates for LTE/CDMA any day. Compare that to other Android phones which literately NEVER get updates after about 6 months. Especially considering how well CM10 works on the Verizon GNex with LTE.

        • UMA_Fan

          Seems kind of silly considering Tmobiles dual channel hspa+ 42 actually beats speeds coming from Verizon LTE in many markets.

          • phinn

            That’s true, and if VZW had HSPA+ i’d be fine, but they don’t. They supported CDMA/LTE last year, and their competition supports it now, and Google doesn’t. It’s a slap in the face to me.

          • z0phi3l

            So because Google won’t fellate VZW, you are getting “slapped in da face”? You should be glad, VZW nor anyone else should be restricting access to “their” LTE networks, just like VZW agreed to, it should be open to any compatible device without restrictions

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Johnston/1054793109 Joshua Johnston

          I’d trade LTE for HSPA+ and current updates any day of the week. I have a Galaxy Nexus, and have to say Verizon has made the Nexus program look like a joke. It’s also true that the radios in these phones are terrible to begin with, and I’m not sure how much of that is on VZW and how much is on Google. If I can get LTE at 30M/sec vs. HSPA+ at 20M/sec… whoop-de-hell, it’s a phone. Both of those speeds are comparable to what I have at my home PC. I don’t need more than that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

      Mine doesnt. Sprint’s LTE network is a joke and only covers 20% of any given city they state is live. Verizon is better but my friend’s LTE phones on verizon still get so little coverage that they leave the phone in CDMA only in order to conserve battery.

      LTE is the future, but its not the now.

  • http://www.techmantis.net/ Minja Miketa

    If they already had it in the Optimus G and part of it came over to the nexus 4 it shouldn’t have been that hard or expensive to take the rest. They should have implemented it.

    • No_Nickname90

      They just said they would have need the antennas and stuff. There is more hardware that isn’t in the Nexus 4 to allow LTE. It would have been more expensive. To make an LTE device for AT&T, Sprint AND Verizon. And the few other non-contract carriers.

      Google didn’t see any point since the Nexus line up hasn’t been that high of a demand. Kinda funny since it’s selling like Key Lime Pies.

  • King_James_The_Wicked

    I see this as a large fail in removing the LTE from the process.

    • http://twitter.com/SpamStream lolwut

      Then don’t buy one. Other people are happy to have a good phone at a great price.

      • phinn

        A 16GB phone for $350 is a garbage price. I would happily sign a 2 year agreement with Verizon like i ALWAYS do anyway if that meant $199 and LTE like every other top end phone on the market.

        • Steve Green

          You are comparing apples and oranges. That 199 device costs a hell of a lot more off contract.

        • z0phi3l

          Your $199 phone is most likely a $300 – 500 phone, and with the rates you pay, you will eventually pay the full price, just not up front, but hey if you like getting screwed by VZW, then go for it

      • King_James_The_Wicked

        Since I am on Verizon there was never a thought of buying one. But I can get a DNA with LTE for less on contract. Don’t get so bunchy from others opinions, it will give you heart failure at a young age.

        • phor11

          $350 (16gb nexus4) + $30 a month (100 mins/unlimited text/data from tmo) for 24 months = $1070
          OR
          $350 (16gb nexus4) + $45 a month (unlimted talk/text/data from straighttalk) for 24 months = $1430

          $200 (16gb dna) + $90 a month (unlimted talk/text and 1GB data from Veriz) for 24 months = $2360

          The phone might be cheaper, but the monthly plans are GIGANTIC ripoffs compared to other options out there. Are saving a little money now or LTE (saddled with a tiny data cap) really worth throwing away that much money in the long run?

          I certainly don’t think so.

  • PhoenixPath

    My understanding is that the LTE in Canada and HSPA+ both use the same spectrum-band (band 4) which allows the n4′s LTE to work on that band when enabled, as the hardware for that band exists in the device.

    AT&T and VZW use band 13 and 17 I believe. These would require separate amplifiers (additional hardware) to support.

    • H@P

      T-Mobile’s upcoming LTE rollout is supposed to use the AWS spectrum (band 4).

      “premier U.S. launch partner” indeed.

      Now lets hope they don’t remove this “undocumented feature” before then.

    • Ben Kapferer

      IIRC, Sprint is rolling out their LTE network on band 4 initially, and MetroPCS and Cricket have band 4 LTE as well.

      • PhoenixPath

        Good news. Looks more and more like El Goog should be buying T-Mo and not partnering with Dish, but they obviously know something I don’t… ;-)

  • Splaktar

    10-15 Mbps on Telus and Roger’s LTE in Canada certainly doesn’t seem like ‘nothing to see here’ to me. Especially since this is the same band that T-Mobile is using in the US.

    • Jdog25

      What are your normal HSPA+ and LTE speeds? I am curious. I have seen 12mbps on HSPA+ for me and some people are getting average speeds of 20mbps.

      • Splaktar

        My HSPA+ speeds on TMO in FL are 15-19 mbps (SGS2). The videos that I’ve seen in Canada (Nexus 4) had the following data: Rogers 3G 1 mbps, LTE 9 mbps; Telus HSPA+ 9 mbps, LTE 15 mbps.

  • Aaron Berlin

    I’m uncertain whether or not LG feels their chosen chipset is powerful.

  • tomn1ce

    I just hope that the next Nexus has LTE and that it comes to vzw. I’m sure that Google is not too happy with vzw in the way that they have handle the updates to the G-Nexus and Google Wallet. At this point I don’t care about vzw updates since I just slap a AOKP on my G-Nexus but, not everyone is into rooting their phones. I wasn’t into rooting until vzw decided to take forever to release the latest version to the G-Nexus…

  • NardVa

    Well if you are lucky to be on Tmobile in the US the Nexus 4 will be future proof.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sserhan2 Samer Serhan

    loving the butthurt american nexus fans (like this author) who can’t use LTE so are hating on the unlocked feature

    • turboboxer

      I loathe both of the LTE providers that actually have decent coverage and cannot understand why so many people are paying them as much money as they do. I use T-mobile HSPA+. Here are some recent speedtest.nets from inside my home 40 miles north of Atlanta, GA

      http://i.imgur.com/kAGRm.jpg

  • dannydarko

    I’m gonna say that when someone(Google/LG) wants to “leave it out” they do. Lets not forget they were meant to be developer phones? I believe that it was done so, that in the future LTE could be activated through obvious means. So, the we couldn’t use one with out the other isn’t entirely true, processor wise. You Cannot turn on LTE by a fluke FYI, to all the ill informed.