What Is The Difference Between 4G and LTE?

4G vs. LTE: Let’s Discuss Their Differences, Similarities, Speed, Their Pros & Cons, FAQs, And Finally, Which Is Better.
4G versus LTE : Différences, vitesse, avantages et inconvénients

The terms 4G and LTE are used interchangeably by many, however, they are pretty different. The basic 4G vs. LTE difference lies in the performance these technologies deliver. 4G is an advanced version of LTE and the latter can be called a bridge between 3G and 4G in terms of performance.

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Explaining 4G vs. LTE in detail

What is 4G?

4G is the fourth generation or the next generation after 3G in cellular network technology.

What does LTE mean?

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is an upgrade to 3G in cellular network technology. It does not meet the 4G standards set by authorities but is popularly called 4G LTE as it is an advancement to 3G.

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Pros and cons of 4G and LTE

Pros of 4G

  • It is faster than LTE considering 4G vs. LTE speed.
  • It has reduced latency, allowing clear voice and video calls.

Cons of 4G

  • It consumes more battery to provide better performance.
  • You might consume more cellular data since downloads are faster.

Pros of LTE

  • LTE doesn’t consume as much battery as 4G.
  • Data consumption is noticeably less than that consumed by 4G technology not because of the technology itself but because of the downloads that can be finished in a fixed time.

Cons of LTE

  • Its data speed is slower than 4G.
  • It has double the latency than that of 4G.

Considering The Similarities Between 4G and LTE

  • Both 4G and LTE are cellular network technologies.
  • They are better than 3G technology in terms of performance.
  • These two wireless networks can be used on the same device.
  • If you perform the same functions over both the networks, data consumption will remain the same.

Looking at the differences between 4G and LTE

MeaningIt is the 4th generation of cellular network technology.Short for Long Term Evolution, LTE is an upgrade to 3rd generation cellular network technology.
SpeedIt offers faster data speed.Data speed is comparatively slow.
LatencyIt offers highly reduced latency. You will experience a faster response to your commands.Its latency is higher than 4G, thereby responds slower to your commands.
CallingBoth voice calls and video calls are of superior quality.The quality of voice and video calls is inferior to that provided by 4G.
Gaming experienceIt provides a seamless experience while playing online games. Some lag time might be experienced during online gaming sessions.

How fast is LTE compared to 4G?

LTE is not faster than 4G. Instead, 4G is about ten times faster than LTE in terms of both data speed and command responses. You will also experience a huge difference while streaming live videos or playing online games.

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Why does my phone say LTE instead of 4G?

If you have 4G enabled on your phone and your phone shows LTE enabled, you are probably in an area where 4G cannot operate. The absence of towers for communicating via the 4G network is the most common reason for this non-operability. All the modern 4G-enabled mobile sets are prepared to fall back on the previous technology versions like LTE in case of need. This way, you can receive uninterrupted connectivity no matter where you travel.

Does LTE use more data than 4G?

No, LTE does not use more data than 4G. Data consumption depends on the downloads you perform and your online activities. If you carry out the same activities online and download the same files over 4G and LTE, your data consumption will remain the same. For instance, downloading a 25 MB game will only consume 25 MB of your data on both the networks. 

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A network cannot use more cellular data. It is just that a faster network allows us to perform more functions online, and we tend to use up more data because of the additional online activities we perform.

How do I switch from LTE to 4G?

You can easily switch from LTE to 4G if your device supports this network. 

  • For Android devices, follow this route:
    • Settings > More > Mobile Network > Preferred Network Type > 4G
  • For iOS devices, follow this path:
    • Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Voice and Data > 4G

Can I turn off LTE on my phone?

Yes, you can turn off LTE to use 3G or 2G networks on your phone. You can select the preferred network in place of LTE while turning it off. 

  • For Android devices, follow this command route:
    • Settings > More > Mobile Network > Preferred Network Type > 3G or 2G
  • For iOS devices, follow this path:
    • Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Voice and Data > 3G or 2G

Does LTE use more battery?

No, LTE does not use more battery than 4G. Considering 4G LTE vs. WiFi, LTE can cause more battery drainage.

Should 4G VoLTE be on or off?

If both your phone and network provider supports 4G VoLTE, you should turn 4G VoLTE on. Voice over LTE-4G or 4G VoLTE allows you to make HD calls over the internet while providing all other advantages LTE has to offer.

4G vs. LTE iPhone

In the case of the iPhone, if your service provider doesn’t support VoLTE, your device will either use a 4G or LTE network for data transmission. 

Does VoLTE use my data?

On using the internet or making a video call, your data is used, whereas for making a voice call over VoLTE, you don’t even need to turn your data on.

What does unlimited LTE mean?

An unlimited LTE means access to unlimited cellular data without any upper limits in MBs, GBs, or TBs. 

T-Mobile 4G LTE

T-Mobile offers you unlimited 4G LTE under almost all its plans. However, there is a threshold limit, after which your data speed is reduced.

Is 4G or LTE better?

Considering the speed and performance delivered by these cellular technologies, 4G is better than LTE. Though LTE was initially allowed to be called 4G LTE by the authorities, it is not true 4G and lacks many performance aspects. 4G provides a better experience in both internet usage and calling functionalities.

Comparison Chart

4G vs. LTE: Let’s Discuss Their Differences, Similarities, Speed, Their Pros & Cons, FAQs, And Finally, Which Is Better.

Comparison Video

LTE vs 4G: What’s the Difference?
Alex Stantor
Alex Stantor

Alex Stantor is a Sorbonne University (Paris, France) graduate in Philosophy and Data Analysis. Currently, he is an Author and Researcher at Difference 101, he writes articles/blog posts on topics such as "thinking differently" and "the importance of difference". Alex is a passionate advocate of diversity in the workplace and in companies, and diversity and inclusion in corporate communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

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