No LTE on the Nexus 4 is a middle-finger from Google to US carriers

This time of year, there are a few things us upper east coasters can expect. We expect the weather to get colder, trees begin to shed their beautifully colored leaves, pumpkins, and the unveiling of Google’s latest flagship phone. So when the search giant announced the LG Nexus 4, many folks were excited. However, once advanced users realized the Nexus 4 wouldn’t carry LTE, it quickly became a bit of a disappointment. At the time, the lack of LTE bothered me. But now that I’ve had time to think about it, and I understand why they didn’t add it.

Of course, many customers will probably skip out on the Nexus 4 because of the lack of LTE support. So the question is if Google knew this, why would it leave out such an important feature to help sell its flagship handset? Well, one word: carriers.

Remember the Sprint Nexus S 4G and Verizon Galaxy Nexus debacles? These devices were plagued with all kinds of issues. Sprint’s version of the Nexus S will forever be in infamy as the phone that pushed me over the edge into the iPhone. In my rant I talked about the broken promises of The Now Network when it came to major updates — the phone didn’t receive Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich until this past April. As for the Galaxy Nexus, Verizon started off on a bad note by releasing the phone way later than it was supposed to. And anyone who has owned the GNex knows how awful Big Red is with the upgrades.

The point is that Google made compromises to Verizon just so it can release the device on a major network with LTE, and for what? So the Galaxy Nexus can play second fiddle to the Droid Razr? The tech giant was burned by these two carriers, and this time around it decided to avoid appeasing the demands of the major cell phone providers.

Even though Google sidestepped the carriers with the Nexus 4, shenanigans from the top cellular providers continue. T-Mobile is selling its version of the Nexus 4 at an off contract price of $500, which is $150 more than the unlocked version sold by Google. It’s an egregious move. However, the company still managed to stoop even lower by offering the device with hampered WiFi calling. This kind of crap is exactly why carriers are classified as “evil”. Limiting an important feature like WiFi calling (by way of cellular) for reasons unbeknownst to us — is worrisome.

It’s no wonder why Google took the position it took to exclude LTE.



  • Google did a good job with Nexus 4, even though it doesn’t support true 4G. The main focus here was (In my opinion) to sell as many units as possible, so they assembled the best phone you can get unlocked for the price google is offering. I’m expecting lots of sales of the Nexus devices released this year – they are all top notch and their prices are insane (insanely affordable).

    • Anonymous

      True 4G? 4G is, by definition, 100 Mbps or higher. There is not a single phone or carrier in the world that currently supports 4G, as defined by the ITU. In practice, HSPA+/”3G” is often faster than so-called “4G LTE.” 

      •  Maybe I’m mistaken, but I believe 4G LTE is referred to as “true 4G”…. Correct me if I’m wrong!

        •  You are wrong. Actually the first true instance of 4G according to the ITU is LTE Advanced. Until these specs are met, there are no true 4G networks in the world. I’d call “4G LTE” more like 3.9G. zWsA is right.

          •  I’m taking my words back then 🙂 Thanks for correcting! 🙂

          • Anonymous

            To be fair, the cellular carriers have hijacked the term for marketing purposes and have caused a lot of confusion in the process. The FCC has really dropped the ball by not regulating this clear abuse of terminology.

          • Anonymous

             Liubov is correct. ITU revised their definition of 4G to include not only LTE Advanced but LTE and HSPA+ too. So now they are all 4G technologies.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, it probably is referred to as such in corporate marketing documents. But it’s a deceptive practice on the part of carriers.

  • Kyle Burbank

    Im on board with Google’s plan so far.
    I have been scraping by trying to get the most functionality from outdated, buggy Virgin Mobile phones for several years now, just to avoid selling my soul into a 2 year agreement.
    My last phone was an HTC Evo V 4g, which was about 2 years behind the times when it was released, and STILL cost me 300 bucks.
    So the fact that i can buy a top of the line Nexus device for the same price (but i would shell out the extra 50 for increased storage space) is basically Google answering my prayers.
    Its my phone, and my service, i should be able to buy it, use it, and dump it in favor of another at any time i want.
    Im glad to see Google is on my side here, and im ESPECIALLY glad to see they managed some wizardry in the pricing department with the Nexus 4.

    I actually just bought a no contract Galaxy S3 for 600 dollars, and as amazing a phone as it is, touchwiz is not my style.
    I will be selling this bad boy off, grabbing a Nexus 4 and pocketing the extra cash.

    Thank you, Google.

  • Anonymous

    Good article. I’m glad Google isn’t playing ball with those idiotic carriers.

  • sushimane

    im fine with no lte on this phone because tmobile hspa+42 is just as good as lte and it saves on battery.

  • Tired of the Ignorance

    After reading the article and then doing a little research on the auther of this article unveils he is yet another wet behind the ear writer that seems to be all so common now days.  I’ll waste no more time on this…

  • marvin nubwaxer

    t-mobile prepaid the big winner now, and i’ve always used t-mobile prepaid.  no more low self esteem with the google, lg and t-mobile combo.
    from what i read LTE is a con job and the other whiny complaints about the nexus 4 are just pitiful.

  • Chaddog678

    So the phone doesn’t have LTE… cry me a river!!  I’ve had t-mobile for awhile now and their HSPA+ is plenty fine for me.  Granted I don’t get internet in the desert, but then again, I’m always in the city and I always have internet when I need it.  I can only say this… t-mobile’s network and the nexus 4 will be a match made in heaven!!

  • Michael_mb89

    So HSPA+ is just as fast as 4G LTE? Someone please let me know!!

    • Chaddog678

      4G LTE is definitely faster, but at what price are you willing to pay for it.  Carriers who support LTE (Verizon, at&t, sprint) will charge you upwards of $90-100/mo.!!  no thanks.  I have t-mobile which uses HSPA+ technology.  For me, it is plenty fast.  I can steam netflix, youtube, check my facebook, no problem.  Best of all my bill is under $60!!  Yes, the nexus 4 doesn’t have LTE… is it a deal breaker?… no, I have survived this long without it, and I plan to do so a little while longer.

    • Hokalugi

      LTE has a higher “potential” maximum speed. As far as every day use they are almost the same in the current markets.

  • ” No LTE is a middle-finger from Google to US carriers”

    and 16 GB of storage with no SD slot is a middle finger from Google to consumers.

    • Anonymous

      For many people, like me, 16 GB is plenty. Would it have been better if the device had an SD slot? Of course. But it’s a feature that I and many others never use and at this price point I can’t really complain.

      • Davhed

        I agree with Dalbir, except I’d replace “many users” with “most users”, or “a vast majority of users”

        16GB is plenty for a smartphone.

  • so does this mean that if I currently have the verizon gnex and I want to buy the nexus 4, I won’t be able to use the nexus 4 on the verzion network at all unless i switch carriers ?

    • Anonymous

      The Nexus 4 (as it stands) is not compatible with cdma/LTE networks. In short, no you will not be able to use a Nexus 4 on Verizon. I’m in the same boat as you and am quite upset.


    Hell, I don’t have LTE coverage anyway, tired of overpaying for phones with a feature I never can use.  Except for the Nexi you can’t get a premium phone without 4G now, in addition to it increasing the manufacturing cost, carriers keep telling me it’s blazing fast and they bump the cost up even more, cause 4G is in demand… when will we be getting LTE… they’ll be getting it in “major city” in a few months… that’s 90 miles away, when will we get it… maybe 2014… facepalm.

  • For 99% of the users out there, this is a perfect solution.  I use almost nothing of my current 3G.  I tend to use WiFi instead.  What I really need is navigation which works perfectly with 3G.  4G (HSPCA in this case) is really not needed.  I know some have business requirements that will really require LTE, but I have purposely not relied upon it.

    This phone means freedom.  Go to Prepaid, have a state of the art smartphone, and lower costs overall.

    Seriously,thank you Google.  I can’t say it enough.

  • Anonymous

    A few corrections –

    1. T-mobile didn’t “HAMPER” its Wi-Fi calling. Wi-Fi calling as its popularly called by T-mobile is actually based on a technology called UMA/IMS which needs access to encryption keys stored in the SIM. Hence, any phone with Wi-Fi calling needs custom changes to the ROM to enable this access. The Nexus 4 has pure Android, with no carrier additions, hence the required changes for Wi-Fi calling are not present as its done by T-mobile and not Google. This is the reason for no Wi-Fi calling. T-mobile didn’t have anything to do with this. They cannot just release an App for it.

    2. The $500 price for the N4 from T-mobile is due to the fact that its the price being charged by LG. Google gets subsidized devices that it sells online on Google Play, other retailers have to go through LG and LG’s MSRP dictates the final price. This is happening to carriers in Europe and Asia, its not a T-mobile issue, rather an LG one.

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