NetworkNetwork: Guides

LTE vs. 4G. What’s the Difference?

4g vs lte

The field of network technology is constantly changing, with new breakthroughs occurring virtually every year. For example, we can now enjoy seamless connectivity on the go through the use of travel routers.

With that in mind, keeping up with each new development might be difficult. In fact, it’s likely that you have no idea what the difference between 4G and LTE is, since these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, and the speeds of the two are not that different.

Some people do believe they are the same thing, but they couldn’t be more wrong. While there are some parallels between the two, they are not identical.

You may have noticed that the 4G sign appears next to the service bars on your phone from time to time. Sometimes it says LTE, and sometimes it doesn’t. We will explain the differences between 4G and LTE in this article.

We’re here to explain terms like HSPA+, LTE, and 4G, and what they represent for your network speeds and quality. First, let’s look at the differences between 4G and LTE and see where the confusion lies.

What is 4G?

If you haven’t been living in a cave for the past few years, you have almost certainly come across 4G in some capacity. 4G stands for fourth-generation cellular network technology in the general definition. It improves on the basis laid down by its predecessors, 3G and 2G.

Unlike previous generations, however, 4G does not involve circuit switching. Instead, it communicates entirely over the Internet Protocol (IP). This incorporates VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology (VoIP). Thus, while there are many similarities between 4G and 3G, the former replaces the spread spectrum radio technology utilized by the latter.

Instead, OFDMA multi-carrier transmission and other frequency-domain equalization (FDE) techniques are used in 4G. Due to this change, 4G candidate systems can now transfer much higher bit rates even when there are echoes.

A 4G network allows users to access mobile internet, gaming services, video conferencing, and other services in addition to VoIP. In addition, 4G provides quicker upload and download speeds, a more stable connection, and better audio calls than 3G.

In March 2008, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) established 4G connectivity standards, mandating all 4G services to adhere to a set of speed and connection criteria. Connection rates must be at least 100 megabits per second for mobile use, including smartphones and tablets, and at least 1 gigabit per second for fixed use, such as mobile hot spots.

Because these speeds were designed as a target for developers, an aspirational point in the future that indicated a massive leap above current technology, they were unheard of on the ground when these standards were announced.

What is LTE?

Long Term Evolution is the shorthand for LTE. It is a 4G cellular broadband technology. Only 5G is more advanced when it comes to mobile data communication. As a result, if you have a phone and a plan supporting 4G LTE, you’ll be getting some of the fastest data speeds currently accessible, mainly because the high-band 5G is only available in a handful of countries.

LTE provides a quicker internet connection with less network latency. LTE also allows multiple phones to connect to the same network at the same time. This means that high-traffic areas, such as a concert or sporting event, will be less affected than older cellular technologies.

However, LTE is not supported by all devices. For a long time, the “4G” sign in the upper right corner of your phone wasn’t entirely accurate. Despite the amount of money invested by tech manufacturers, when the ITU-R defined the minimum speeds for 4G, they were mainly unattainable.

As a result, the governing council agreed that LTE, the name given to the technology used to achieve those criteria, might be designated as 4G if it significantly improved over 3G.

Companies began selling their connections as 4G LTE almost immediately, a marketing strategy that allowed them to claim next-generation connectivity without having to acquire the requisite number first. Despite varying speeds based on location and network, the difference between 3G and 4G is clear.

4G vs. LTE. What the Difference?

Although 4G and LTE are frequently used interchangeably, there are a few distinctions between the two. As previously stated, the ITU established guidelines for the speeds that 4G must provide. When 4G became available, however, many people discovered that the speeds were insufficient.

As a result, 4G LTE is essentially an upgrade above 4G. Although it isn’t a brand-new generation of technology, there were enough differences to warrant a name change.

The upload and download speeds are the fundamental distinctions between the two. Unless they live in a major city or densely crowded location, most customers are unlikely to notice the difference. In crowded regions, however, LTE makes a significant difference.

4G vs. LTE: Speed

Here we have compared different networks in terms of the actual speed they offer to the users.

networks speed comparison

True 4G and LTE-A offer ten times faster upload and download speeds than standard LTE. For example, an existing 4G network has an upload speed of 500 Mbps and a download speed of 1000 Mbps. However, if you’re on an HSPA+ (hybrid 3G) network, you’re getting speeds that are even slower than standard LTE.

4G vs. LTE: Network Latency

When compared to LTE, 4G provides a significant reduction in latency. This means that commands are executed more quickly on a mobile device connected to a 4G network. As a result, the delay or lag time is reduced. For example, when comparing 4G with LTE, LTE has a latency of around ten milliseconds, which is twice as long as 4G, which has a delay of fewer than five milliseconds.

Ten milliseconds may not seem like a long time. However, when playing online games, 4G’s lower latency can significantly impact. A lower latency also provides for more clear voice and video calls.


Every major carrier now has a 4G LTE network. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are the three largest carriers. Although their download and upload rates differ, they are all classified as LTE.

You should now be able to understand the differences between 4G and LTE. Of course, both offer high-speed connections, but LTE is the preferred network option for those who need them the most.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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