Nexus 4 can pick up on AT&T 4G LTE via very limited Band 4

Chalk another loss up for the “ Nexus 4 will never, ever gain LTE access” folks — yet another group of people have proven that notion to be utterly false. It appears that the Nexus 4′s Band 4 LTE radios are actually compatible with a very, VERY small amount of spectrum on AT&T’s network.

It appears AT&T owns the bands in a few select markets — including Phoenix, Las Vegas, Raleigh, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and more — and uses it to fill coverage in spots where needed. The coverage area for their share of the Band 4 spectrum is so small that the amount of Nexus 4 owners that might be able to access the LTE network would likely come out to 1% or less.

It’s not the wide-spread coverage we’d want, of course, but there it is. It’s likely AT&T won’t gain much more of that spectrum in the near future as T-Mobile is said to be eyeing it for deployment of its own LTE services. If that were to happen then the Nexus 4 certainly could be up and running on a major LTE network in some official capacity by 2013′s end.

AT&T users can try their luck and see if they can pick up an LTE signal just for giggles, but as it stands the coverage is so minuscule that it won’t be a practical solution for anyone at all. Have a look around XDA to see how you can go about enabling your device’s 4G LTE radios to see if your area has a sliver of 4G coverage over Band 4.

[XDA via Android Police]

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  • scoter man1

    Honestly I won’t care ( when I get mine ). I’d rather not have my battery being sucked up quickly to simply gain a bit of speed.

    • Butters619

      to simply gain a bit of speed.

      Lol. It’s not a bit of speed. It is a massive in jump in speed. AT&T HSPA+ is a joke.

      • RavenFox

        I have to agree. HSPA+ on AT&T is horrid.

        • Billy_B

          Your settings are wrong. I get between 3 and 9 down and 1 to 2 up all day long in Chicago on my Nexus 4. I had to play with the APN settings but the phone is very fast.

    • http://twitter.com/inguatu ingua2

      my battery works fine with LTE. quit whining about something you have no idea about.

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    Still not an LTE phone. Matter of fact, if LTE was a possibility, why not just add the feature? Instead we have all this bickering between PRO-LTE and CON-LTE people…..

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      The radios are meant to be dormant. It’s not being marketed as a LTE phone, but it does have LTE. No two ways about that one.

      • NIGHTSCOUT

        My point is, that since the technology was available, they could have future proofed this phone, by implementing the LTE.

    • Butters619

      licensing fees for the LTE. And also having to play nice with carrier rules/restrictions.

      • NIGHTSCOUT

        All other LTE phones seem to do just fine with licensing LTE.

        • Butters619

          It costs more. Google was trying to drive down the price of the phone. I wouldn’t be surprised if LG/Google release a software update to disable the LTE or else they may find themselves in a funny predicament both with those who want to seek their licensing money and with the FCC.

          • NIGHTSCOUT

            Whichever way you bend it, it’s still regress. Progress, would have been having LTE. For petes sake, the G-Nexus has LTE…..And the successor doesn’t? Imagine the iPhone 6 NOT having LTE… Regress…..

          • Butters619

            The G-Nex has LTE (and that is why the Nexus 4 doesn’t). Verizon has completely screwed Google’s control over that phone. Updates are always beyond delayed. Google wallet doesn’t work. The entire point of a Nexus phone is for a complete Google experience, the way Google meant for it to be. Having LTE means having carriers. Having carriers means having carrier influence. Having carrier influence means you don’t have a Nexus device. Does it suck? Yes. Would I love an LTE Nexus 4? You bet! But you have to completely understand where Google is coming from with what happened with the G-Nex.

          • NIGHTSCOUT

            I admire your willingness to stand by Google no matter what, but I still see this as regress. LTE is the future. And to release a “flagship” device without it, will hinder future innovation.

          • Butters619

            It’s a reference device, not a flagship device.

            You may think I am blindly following Google, but I am not. I won’t buy the N4 because of the lack of LTE, but again you need to understand exactly where they are coming from. And if you don’t, then you don’t understand the Nexus program.

          • NIGHTSCOUT

            I think the majority of Google employees would disagree with you. All Nexus devices have been flagships. Except the Nexus 4 of coarse. The N7 was a quad core for $200. The N10 has the highest tablet resolution to date. The G-Nex had LTE. What does the N4 bring to the table that is innovating? Nada…..

          • aiden9

            The Nexus S was mediocre and the Galaxy Nexus(GSM, although even the LTE variant wasn’t anything special spec wise compared to the rest of the field) wasn’t going to win any flagship awards either. The Nexus 7 is a good value tablet but idk about declaring it a flagship device. “But its gots da cores!” So what? The Tegra chip is beat pretty easily, its just a decent cheap A9 chip.

            Really the only flagship Nexus devices(for their time) I would pick are the Nexus One, which sported a 1ghz processor before the trend caught on and the Nexus 10 with its screen resolution, 2gb of ram, and A15 chipset.

          • http://profiles.google.com/daniel142005 Daniel Weisinger

            Releasing a phone for basically half of most equivalent phones and not giving it LTE shows how much the patent system is costing the consumers. Companies have to drive prices up because their costs go up. Not to mention LTE has been known for holding back rom developers.

          • NIGHTSCOUT

            Android has matured to the point, that ROM developing will either cease to exist, or be a basement hobby. The OS has become so agile and customizable, that further customization by ROM Dev’s is redundant.

          • RavenFox

            please stop with this regress bullsht already.

          • NIGHTSCOUT

            What’s the matter, don’t like hearing truth? No LTE = Regress

          • Keith

            You’re forgetting something, your opinion doesn’t matter. Yes it doesn’t have LTE but HSPA+ is no slouch either. There are many Android phones, if you don’t like it buy something else. If you want a cheap N4 with good specs but not the absolute best, well then buy it or buy one of the others on contract spending a crazy amount a month.

          • NIGHTSCOUT

            LOL you start by saying my opinion doesn’t matter, but then try to feed me your opinion? touche LOL
            I on the other hand, do not have a problem listening to others opinions.

          • Keith

            blah blah, I said if you like it then buy it, if not then don’t. Your crying on here isn’t going to change anything.

          • rustygh

            Dude his opinion? Most normal people that don’t have nexus or Google up their butt agree N4=fail!

          • Keith

            It’s a good thing two of you feel this way. Go outside and play like a good little boy.

          • harold

            That’s why they can’t keep them in stock

          • NIGHTSCOUT

            Limited supply. Marketing strategy designed to cause hype.

          • Albert Naranjo

            Having LTE only really means carrier control if the carrier is LTE/CDMA mix not LTE GSM mix. AT&T and T-Mobile do not stop unlocked phones from accessing their networks. Verizon requires special authentication because of their CDMA network. Google could have released this unlocked with band 4 and 17 for use on AT&T (and later T-Mobile), but they chose not to for whatever reason.

          • NorthVandea

            I understand your reasoning, but with that logic you could argue to never ever increase bandwidth on a nexus device again… Or better yet, COMPLETELY avoid carriers and their “meddling” by making the Nexus 4 Wi-Fi only and just have Google Voice VoIP. (Something that can in fact be done BTW even on the Galaxy Nexus)

          • aiden9

            The subsidized CDMA variants of the G-Nexus had LTE, the gsm(Playstore) version did not. The Nexus 4 is a progression from the gsm Galaxy Nexus. Perhaps if Verizon and Sprint hadn’t caused such a stink in letting Google have control of their phone then there would be a subsidized LTE/cdma version for you guys again.

  • Butters619

    Wait a minute. That means when T-Mo rolls out LTE on the AWS bands, the Nexus 4 will work with T-Mo LTE.

    • http://twitter.com/inguatu ingua2

      for the 3 people using tfumble?

      • Butters619

        T-Mobile HSPA+ is actually really badass by my house. Competes with AT&T and Verizon LTE no problem. Actually is faster than them. Problem is, if you travel at all it sucks balls.

        • lynyrd65

          They really should expand their HSPA coverage. It is one of their few flaws (albeit a big one). My sister has T-Mobile HSPA+ on her Galaxy Note and it’s as fast as LTE.

          (also weird contract plans and ridiculous handset prices, and no this doesn’t make it cheaper overall)..

        • Splaktar

          Tmo HSPA+ here completely blows away AT&T HSPA+ and Verizon slow LTE. 19 Mbps vs 5 Mbps.

          • malcmilli

            as with anything, it depends on area and population density. Att LTE here in NYC gets between 20 and 50 mbps, HSPA+ ive been seeing get around 6-10, and verizons between 5 and 20.

        • qpinto

          did a speed test with a friend. i got 16mb download on T-Mobile with my n4 and friend got 3 mb download on LTE Verizon. This is south beach miami though.

          getting 13-15 consistently doesn’t bother me on my 3.5G network :-)

    • UMA_Fan

      That’s right! I wonder why LG keeps saying they can’t enable LTE with a software update then?

      • bluevoodo

        Cause they dont want a lawsuit from the FCC, because they rather you buy the Optimus G, because it would only affect 1 percent of Nexus 4 owners, and because nothing new was discovered here, other than ATT operates LTE on band 4 in these specific cities.

    • qpinto

      and thats a huge reason why i bought the phone. the only question is does the s4 pro chip allow LTE and HSPA+ connections at the same time for high and consistant speeds?

  • Ben Baranovsky

    Where can I find a full list of At&t band 4 markets?

    • cheapskate88

      Phoenix, Raleigh, San Juan, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Chicago, Charlotte. Also Athens, GA and College Station, TX.

      These are the places AT&T owns spectrum in that band. Although this doesn’t guarantee you’ll pick it up, it’s a good place to start looking.

      • Ben Baranovsky

        Thanks so much. When I get my N4 I’ll enable it and just wait to be surprised if I ever go to one of those places. :p

  • http://twitter.com/inguatu ingua2

    impossible. google hates lte.

    • http://profiles.google.com/daniel142005 Daniel Weisinger

      Google hates the patent system. LTE isn’t an open standard, they have to pay royalties on it… and that drives costs up and slows down updates.

  • C-Law

    This phone can barely use lte. It’s not meant for it. It never will be be. This news simply doesn’t mean anything. I wonder if Google could get in trouble with the fcc bc our community is enabling limited lte on the device

    • Butters619

      I think LG/Google will probably release an update to block it, but anybody who is smart enough to read XDA and allow LTE will probably be smart enough not to run the update lol.

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

    So for those that know current cell network engineering (I did, 20 years ago with TDMA specifically) – If I live in one of those very limited listed cities with this channel in use by AT&T… if I were able to get a connection via LTE on channel 4 in my neighborhood using a Nexus 4, is it likely that would be persistent in a particularly cell site ongoing? My daughter is on AT&T and I wanted to buy this for her and we’re in one of those listed cities that have the channel in use. She is in a very small part of the city. I’m just wondering if maybe we’re in that 1% with any persistency…

    Wouldn’t change my mind on buying the phone. Might determine whether I invest the time to root it or do whatever else needs to be done to give it a try though.

  • http://twitter.com/agent_wax Colin Cassidy

    LTE on my nexus 4 for Tmo soon. XDA… I am waiting.

    • aiden9

      It would be the same exact process, you haven’t seen instructions yet because T-mobile hasn’t had their LTE roll out yet. Can’t connect to a service that isn’t there.

      • http://twitter.com/agent_wax Colin Cassidy

        Obviously. When and if it comes I fully expect the dev community to have a work around for this.

        • aiden9

          It will be nearly identical to what is being done except you’ll put in T-mobiles information for the APN instead of rogers. There’s no work around that needs to be done by the dev community. Its all just a wait on the network to roll out.

  • BigCiX

    Bakersfield should have it if LA has it

  • http://twitter.com/marker1015 MrSix

    Lol sure, what a huge loss for them. Though if it’s a loss for them I wonder who wins, because it definitely isn’t anyone hoping to use lte on the nexus 4

  • leocal79

    This phone is good if you want quality for a decent price, want an awesome prepaid option or you are traveling abroad. Otherwise go get a note 2

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    • Jim__R

      Is this the totally legitimate scheme where you’re paid money to be web-cammed while doing your household chores in the buff? I’m a 80 year old overweight male and would love to earn an extra $4078.