What is 4G LTE and Why it Matters

Bringing clarity to all the 4G speak.

By Tom Pica on April 30, 2012

It’s faster and downloads more pictures, lets consumers watch movies anytime and video chat on-the-go.

Everyone has heard these claims before, but not everyone is sure what exactly 4G LTE means.  Understanding 4G facts and terminology can take some time.  To help uncover the mystery that is 4G LTE, below is a quick primer on what it is and how it applies in day-to-day life.

The term 4G LTE is really two terms. 4G means the fourth generation of data technology for cellular networks ̶ following 3G, the third generation. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is short for a very technical process for high-speed data for phones and other mobile devices. Together, they make 4G LTE ̶ the fastest 4G service available today.

Being the fastest network available means download speeds four to five times faster than 3G networks, which rivals some home broadband connections. The real hook, though, is the fact that consumers don’t have to be at home to appreciate these speeds. Consumers can access the internet wherever there is coverage with any 4G-enabled device, including smartphones, tablets and mobile hotspots.

The term data means anything other than SMS (simple text messages) and phone calls. Everything else including downloading apps, checking email, watching a YouTube video or downloading a picture requires the use of data. In short, data means everything that a smartphone or tablet is needed to do.

The speed, then, is exactly why so many people are excited about 4G LTE. Cellular data is a part of many peoples’ lives and the ability to utilize and experience the internet in a quicker, richer way opens new possibilities for both business and personal lives.

For more detail, the Wall Street Journal offers insightful analysis into 4G LTE technology and decodes the confusing terminology surrounding it. 4G LTE coverage will only continue to grow as new devices hit shelves and the coverage area expands rapidly. Knowing what 4G LTE means and what the benefits are will help consumers when it comes time to make their next device purchase.