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4G vs LTE: Is There a Difference?


We finally have both of our nation’s networks up and running on this new network called 4G LTE. I was reading an article earlier this week in regards to an interview Dennis O’Brien (Digicel Founder/CEO) did in the Irish Times, and it spoke to the extremely low adoption rate of LTE across all of the markets. So it got me thinking, and asking the question of, do people even care or know what LTE really is here in the Caribbean? I wanted to just take the time to break down what LTE and why it’s important to move the Caribbean forward.

Who are the ITU-R?

The ITU Radiocommunication Sector is one of the three sectors of the International Telecommunication Union and is responsible for radio communication.” – Wikipedia

As Defined By The ITU-R...

The ITU-R created a set of standards in 2008 to define what is known as 4G. The speed requirements set for a network to be deemed as 4G are 100/mbps (megabit per second) for mobile devices such as smartphones & tablets. For devices that can be stationary like a mobile hotspot, the speed requirement set was 1/gbps (gigabit per second). At the time, no carrier in the world had a network that was giving out the required speeds to legally label their network as a 4G network.
Defined in 2008
LTE or Long Term Evolution is not an actual form of technology. LTE is the more so a gateway en route to true 4G speeds. Since no network in the world was offering the legal speeds required for 4G, the ITU-R created the guidelines for Telco companies called LTE. LTE is the name of the technology used in the process of gaining true 4G speeds.
LTE (Long Term Evolution)

Are We being lied to???

Now I know exactly what you are thinking, these companies around the world have lied to us consumers yet again!!! Well technically, no they have not. Yes, the wording used by them would bring a smile to any wordsmith’s face and there has been extremely clever marketing going on here but they haven’t lied. You see, as per the ITU-R, as long as the companies can showcase a significant improvement over the 3G standards, they were in full compliance with the guidelines for 4G LTE and are in the clear. 


If you thought that was confusing, have you heard about LTE-A (LTE-Advance)??? Lol, basically LTE-A is a step closer to the speed requirements for 4G that was set way back in 2008, 100/mbps. They are in the works of fully developing all of the standards to define 5G, so we still have some waiting to do for that. 

Keron Mc Leish

I remember hearing about LTE for the first time and I thought it was the dumbest name to give a network. Why not Thunderbolt, or anything remotely associated with speed. It was not until recently, I realised that Long Term Evolution was a guideline for 4G.

I personally think they should have named it 4G LITE!!!! Now that would have made sense, and set our expectations accordingly. So regardless of the speeds you receive while your phone says 4G or LTE, it is significantly faster than 3G and the Telecom companies around the world are in the clear. Digicel’s current network is rated to have a max speed of 75mbps in testing. There are a ton of variables that will impact the actual speed you receive, which I will cover in another blog. 

Mr Droid

Mobile Expert, droid island


Did you know the difference between 4G & LTE?

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Keron Mcleish

Keron McLeish is the owner of Droid Island and has over 10+ years of international experience working for some of the biggest brands in mobile such as Apple, Telus, and Rogers. He is located in Trinidad and Tobago and is a trusted mobile expert in the region. In his off time, he can be found shooting airballs on the basketball court or eating a bake and shark on the beach.

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