If you’re a mobile user, you’ve probably heard of the upcoming LTE, 4G and 5G. What are all these terms and how are they different? Let’s explore in this article.
Distinguish between LTE, 4G and 5G
What is LTE?
- History of LTE networks
- History of 4G LTE network
- What is 4G?
- What is 5G?
Speed comparison: 4G LTE and 4G and 5G
- Compare 4G speeds and 4G LTE
- 5G speed compared to 4G LTE
- Compare 4G LTE, 4G and 5G speeds
- Should you upgrade to 4G?
- Should you upgrade to 5G?
What is LTE?
LTE is also known by network companies as 4G LTE but what does LTE stand for? It stands for Long Term Evolution and is the foundation for 4G connectivity.
History of LTE networks
Back in the time when 4G entered the market, there was a standard that determined 4G speeds accordingly. Therefore, companies do not just create a slightly faster 3G service and try to convert it into 4G.
Therefore, the ITU-R International Telecommunication Union has laid down some basic rules about 4G connection speed. The download speed must be 100Mb / s on the move and 1Gb / s when standing still to be considered legal for 4G speeds.
The problem was that telecom companies could not meet the requirements set by ITU-R at the time. As long as companies can’t provide true 4G speeds, they can’t legally call their networks 4G.
Instead, the 4G technology in development is named Long-Term Evolution to show that this technology is being developed. LTE is faster than 3G but doesn’t achieve the minimum speed like 4G.
History of 4G LTE network
But if this is true, what does 4G LTE mean? The reason why LTE has gained more “4G” titles is because ITU-R lowered the concept of 4G in advertising.
ITU-R takes note of the struggles of companies to achieve 4G speed and how long this process takes. Therefore, they claim that the mobile network can be recognized as 4G if the company can prove their speed is significantly higher than 3G. LTE did this and became 4G LTE.
- Are 4G and 4G LTE networks the same?
LTE can eventually move to speeds near 4G, using a technology called LTE-A (or LTE +). A in LTE-A means Advanced and represents the next step in LTE technology. This 4G LTE-A technology is most used when the company claims it has 4G because some still haven’t really mastered the 4G speeds.
What is 4G?
G in 4G is Generation and 4G denotes this technology is the fourth generation of mobile broadband technology. This is the next development from a previous technology called 3G.
4G connectivity meets the standards we mentioned earlier, 100Mb / s on the move and 1Gb / s when standing still. If the speed does not reach that level, then it is called 4G LTE.
What is 5G?
As you can guess, 5G is the successor of 4G. At the moment, 5G is still in the development phase, mobile companies set up the infrastructure needed to support it. When it’s ready, there’s no reason to stick with 4G anymore.
When comparing 5G with 4G LTE, 5G beats both in terms of latency and download speed. This increase is promising for the Internet of Things (IoT) world, especially for smart cars, because 5G can handle data better than 4G.
- What is 5G different from 4G?
Speed comparison: 4G LTE and 4G and 5G
So, what is the speed of each of these networks? To answer this question, we should not look at what companies say about their network speed; instead, we will look at the research done by mobile analytics firm. OpenSignal.
Compare 4G speeds and 4G LTE
As mentioned above, a network that needs to provide speeds of 100Mb / s while on the move will be called 4G. The OpenSignal report, called The State of Mobile Network Experience, aims to get an overview of 4G networks before the big 5G revolution takes place.
On page 5 of the report, there is a chart showing the average download speed for each country. South Korea is the leading country in terms of download speed of 50Mb / s, however it is still far from the speed of 100Mb / s.
Other countries like the US have an average download speed of 21.3Mb / s, 35 other countries at 10-20Mb / s, this is the most data.
5G speed compared to 4G LTE
OpenSignal also reports on the maximum speed of 5G compared to 4G speed. Note, this statistic is only the fastest speed of each network, it does not represent the actual average speed of each network.
In a report called “5G boosts the maximum real-world download speed by up to 2.7 times 4G users’ top speeds” (5G translates to the maximum actual download speed up to 2.7 times the maximum speed). MultiSign users), OpenSignal sees the gap between 4G LTE and 5G depending on the country.
In the US, the maximum 5G speed is 2.7 times the maximum speed of 4G LTE, while Australia’s 5G speed is actually slower than 4G. So, when 5G comes out all over the world, we can see extremely different speeds in every country.
However, these numbers do not accurately represent the average user experience. To get a reliable idea of 5G speeds right now, we need to look at real world examples and tests.
OpenSignal has done a research in Korea, where there is a strong presence of 5G. In the article “5G smartphone users experience 111.8 Mbps average download speed”, they found that 5G network users in Korea had average speeds. is 111.8Mb / s faster than true 4G speed.
This speed is an increase compared to users of 4G phones with a speed of 75.8Mb / s. And also a significant jump from 4G phones in general at speeds of 47.7Mb / s.
With the average rate reported by Korea in the first study of 50Mb / s, it can be said that this is the speed of most 4G phone users in general. As such, most Koreans can increase 134% in their speed by switching to 5G.
Compare 4G LTE, 4G and 5G speeds
|Maximum download speed||The average speed theory||Actual average speed|
|4G LTE||100Mb / s||30-60Mb / s||2-50Mb / s|
|4G||1Gb / s||100Mb / s||Not available|
|5G||20Gb / s||200-1000Mb / s||111.8Mb / s|
Now that we know the speed of each network, we can compare them with other networks to see the current mobile network status.
The maximum speed of 4G LTE network is about 100Mb / s, if faster than this speed is considered true 4G. The theoretical speed is what 4G LTE providers claim customers can expect from that network. As you can see, this speed is quite low compared to what was promised and there is still a long way to go to achieve true 4G speeds.
The definition of 4G is that the network provides 1Gb / s while the user is stationary and 100Mb / s on the move. Because 4G cannot achieve either of these conditions, we cannot say exactly its true speed.
However, the performance of 5G is quite good but still new. In theory, the maximum speed of 5G is 20Gb / s. The companies claim you can reach speeds between 200Mb / s and 1Gb / s on their 5G networks. However, you can only see these speeds on a system dedicated to low-traffic cities.
In a country where 5G is widely adopted like South Korea, you’ll see speeds higher than around 100Mb / s. Although a bit slow for 5G standards, we are finally surpassing the speed that 4G is trying to achieve, even on crowded networks.
Should you upgrade to 4G?
If you are currently using a 3G phone, you should consider switching to 4G because some major network providers are preparing to eliminate 3G to introduce 5G.
As such, if you’re still using 3G today, it’s worth considering upgrading to 4G phones ahead of time.
And the transition to 4G LTE network also helps you get faster speeds. If you want to compare the speed of 3G with 4G LTE +, you can look at the table of OpenSignal. From the table we can see that 3G has an actual download speed of 8Mb / s while 4G LTE + has a speed of 90Mb / s, 11 times faster. Therefore upgrading your 3G phone will greatly increase your download speed.
However, you can’t download apps or get new SIMs to turn 3G phones into 4G phones, but 4G-compatible phones aren’t very expensive.
Should you upgrade to 5G?
While 5G phones aren’t standard on the market, should you upgrade your 4G phones to 5G?
At the moment, it seems a bit early to switch to 5G. Not only are phones that support 5G more expensive, but data plans can cost much more than 4G packages. Although the speed is 2 times higher than 4G, the cost is too high.
Therefore, upgrade to 5G if you do not regret the money and excitement when trying this new technology. If not, you should wait for 5G to have a stronger foothold in the market and 5G phones, data plans for discounts.
When it comes to 4G LTE, 4G and 5G networks, you will find that the speed of 4G LTE is slowly becoming truly 4G so it is hard to distinguish the two networks. While 5G is likely to double the speed of 4G LTE and open up the future of the Internet of Things, they are still quite expensive.