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iFixit Teardown Reveals 7-Band LTE Chip Inside Nexus 4

Well, would you look at that. On Friday evening, iFixit posted their “teardown” of the LG Nexus 4 and discovered that it has a Qualcomm 7-band 4G LTE chip inside it. But, wait! I thought it didn’t have LTE and was HSPA+ only? It is. For whatever reason though, an LTE chip was left inside.

Could it have something to do with the LG Optimus G having 4G LTE, a phone that is almost an identical build to the LG Nexus 4? Maybe. Was there a chance that it would have LTE at launch, but breakdowns in carrier negotiations stopped it? Eh, you’d be going out on quite the conspiracy limb to suggest that. Who knows, maybe Google was simply future-proofing the phone to be able to connect to LTE somewhere down the road? Or what are the chances that an LTE-ready version launches in the coming months? No one but Google probably knows the answers to those questions.

The bottom line is, that there is an LTE chip inside this phone. We just aren’t sure that it’ll ever be operable. One can dream.

Via:  iFixit

Cheers Scott, BAoxymoron, Kane, Nick, Justin and the other dozen or so of you!

  • Stylinred

    you would think that Google would have just included LTE then

  • matt

    Off topic, but when are we going to see a full N10 review on DroidLife?

    • JoshGroff

      I thought the unboxing video covered pretty much everything.

      • JDub

        It has one. Go to the ifixit link and it explains what each chip is.

        • JoshGroff

          Hmm, yeah I’ll check it out.

      • JDub

        Oops. Thought I clicked on your comment about it not having CDMA.

  • Stephen

    VZW Please

    • JoshGroff

      It would also need a CDMA radio…

  • joejoe5709

    Even with Verizon LTE I would probably still pass on this phone. Not a fan of the glass back and the specs isn’t enough of an upgrade over my Gnex.

    • Steve Benson

      Your comment is laughable. I’m the biggest fanboy of the Gnex but I would absolutely upgrade to this in a heartbeat if I didn’t have an ETF starring me in the face.

      This is a massive bump in specs. ISP LCD, way better than the Gnex screen. Quad core S4, way better than the dual core 4460 in the Gnex. 2 gigs of ram versus 1 gig. Inductive charging. Miracast. Bluetooth 4.0. Also, a camera that isn’t a complete turd, plus raw HDR.

      Oh, and have you loaded 4.2 onto your Gnex yet? Not exactly smooth sailing like 4.1.2. Hopefully it will get better with time and tweaks, but it’s undeniable that the 4 is a massive upgrade over the Gnex.

  • Google: OK, we’re going to release another Nexus phone. You guys want to support it?
    Verizon: Hell yeah! We can add a ton of apps, a special DROID launch screen, maybe put some direct apps to our partners, change the chat screen to something cute….
    Google: Um…you can’t screw with it this time. Nexus means we control what’s on the phone.
    Verizon: ARE YOU INSANE???? ::slams down the phone::

  • Jroc869, Cool story bro

    Nice job calling this on the live show guys.

  • SeanBello

    and they wonder why we’re conspiracy theorists…

  • MasonMathews

    Is it possible that they are pulling a Xoom and putting those very accessible screws at the bottom so that in the future, once “Google Wireless” is up, you can send your Nexus 4 in to get all the extra hardware put in? It’s happened before so….. maybe..

    • That’s what I was thinking too. Its a long shot… The Xoom was advertised to receive it soon after launch. I believe that’s why they had to do that. On the other hand… I could see Google still show some amazing love to their N4 customers and put the missing hardware on for the Google network

      • MasonMathews

        I guess we’ll just have to cross our fingers!

  • Ivealwaysgotmail

    Maybe they were hoping that in the future open-access is easier to provide and the LTE will be unlocked etc… MAybe you could have a seperate carrier for LTE than you do Voice etc! That would be great!

  • The ignorance here is astounding! First of all, this is likely the same motherboard as the Optimus G, which means that it has everything it needs for LTE hardware wise. There has also been discussion on whether this is one of Qualcomm’s chips that has an all in one antenna. Do a little research and you might find that this phone very well could be capable of LTE. No one quite knows until Google releases an official statement or till developers get their hands into it.

    • Buckoman

      It has no amplifier. Basically, you’d need to send it to LG/Google/Qualcomm, etc. to have them put the amplifier in to make it work on LTE. Otherwise, a hardware refresh will most likely be coming soon.

  • Npompei

    E it. Just send the invoice. “MHO, why would they put it in there if they couldn’t use it?! Seems like a complete waste of money to me. Google is too smart to say “oh sure go ahead and add an LTE chip in there so we cant use it. Go ahead an bill us for it anyway.”

    To me the DISH thing is way to soon. I can’t imagine that before the next Nexus is ready. So why put it in?!

    • Npompei

      Wow chrome and discus suck! Wtf just happened to my post!

      • Oh man that happens ALL the time to me. Really sux


    Poor Kellen burying himself in his work after the Ducks went down…

    • mbaldwin85

      As a Notre Dame fan, I thank him.

      • ERIC REED

        As a Buckeye fan we get to stay home this year and may go undefeated…hope they are enjoying those tattoos!!!

  • zepfloyd

    This IS because of the Optimus G. It’s cheaper to run on one production line. It has no amplifier and no antenna. It won’t work, ever. Sorry folks. Nothing to see here. (unfortunately)

    • Mark F

      However there is an antenna socket- check step 19 “The daughterboard is home to the micro-USB port, several spring contacts for the speakers, a hidden unidentified antenna socket, and a microphone (located on the underside.)”

      • zepfloyd

        Yes a SOCKET. It probably is where the antenna is on the Optimus G. It’s completely possible Google at some point refreshes the hardware to include LTE, in fact it almost seems obvious they would…but it’s not happening on the models out now.
        Keep in mind Google wanted to keep costs down on the 4, and not licensing LTE helps them do that. If it were at all possible to enable it, it would have been declared in FCC testing, it was not.

        • Aaron

          Given that the chips and the socket are already there, could it be possible to get the hardware from an Optimus G to make this work? I know the software would still need work, and the antenna would be hard to come by. Just curious.

          • zepfloyd

            You’d still need the LTE radio amplifier somehow, which is probably the bigger issue than the antenna, nevermind the baseband firmware, and software updates and bla bla bla….

          • michael arazan

            Maybe if someone who works at Verizon could have access to all the information would leak it, but the lte code is proprietary to verizon and they wouldn’t allow oems to have it to push updates out faster, which is why they build the updates for the phones and then verizon test it and let’s them know if it works ok on their network or tells them to what they want changed.Verizon, half assing everything.

      • The antenna socket is probably for DVB terrestrial antenna for the TV that the optimus G has.

      • michael arazan

        No lte antenna, so it won’t work, unfortunately and speculation says it is missing the software you would need to run it on an lte network as well.

    • 4n1m4L

      Why not just leave the solderpads blank then? If your going to leave out a key support component why leave any vestiges?

    • adc

      Why populate the space with a chip? Can someone explain why waste a chip that can’t be used? They didn’t install the implifier and antenna but installed the chip anyway.

    • Tim

      Apparently it does work: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6474/nexus-4-includes-support-for-lte-on-band-4-aws

      Now, you can copy and paste this new info.

      • zepfloyd

        They had already said a week ago it would be theoretically possible in Band 4 but no one believed that the software was there to support it, as it turns out OOPS, they didn’t fully strip it from the Optimus G board. There’s a complex reason to why Band 4 is the only one that does. The other facts haven’t changed, it’s still missing the an amplifier and antenna. You can also be assured LG is going to nuke this ASAP, unless they want to be fined out the ying yang. It’s a major violation of the regulatory process in the US and CA as it was not declared on initial submission.

        • Copy and Paste

          zepfloyd said: “The other facts haven’t changed, it’s still missing the an amplifier and antenna.”

          I’m just copying and pasting from the article so here it is:

          “I tore down the Nexus 4 to ascertain whether PAs were present that could
          work with LTE, and saw indeed that at least bands 4, 2, and 1 did have
          Avago power amplifiers (A5704, A5702, and ACPM–7251) which noted support for LTE.”


          “The Nexus 4 does include Rx diversity for every band, and thus it’s
          entirely possible on Band 4 that users will see the full 2×2 MIMO rates.”

      • Gus

        It’s the internet. It’s normal for people to just repeat what they read. Be it right or wrong.

        • James

          Haha, nice the OP edited his comment to remove his never and impossible comment.

  • duderex

    Kellex! Try putting your VZ sim card in the nexus to see if it works on Verizon.

  • It has the chip but not the signal amplifier. Basically no amount of software in the world will make it access LTE. It’s hardware handicapped

  • Guest

    Looking to the future for Dish + Google? Here’s to hopeful thinking!

    • Doogle

      • Guest


        • Mr. Orange 645


          • Adam


        • JustTrollin69

          Goosh McDoogle

          • Droidzilla

            Big McLargehuge

  • Mike

    Upon hearing this news, I’m quite sure there are people infinitely more intelligent that I am who will immediately begin trying to bring LTE to the N4. That would be the brass ring in terms of mods for this phone.

    • angermeans

      It really doesn’t matter if our wonderful dev community gets it to work the carriers (AT&T) will still have to enable it and that will more than likely not happen. This isn’t just getting something to work it is the LTE and knowing how Verizon works I can tell you it will have to be enabled on the carrier end and if that is not done no hack is going to work no matter how much you and I wish that would happen 🙂

  • Chris Badalucco

    Future Proofing for their eventual dive into the Wireless Service Provider realm? (DISH + GOOGLE anyone?).

    Here’s to hopeful thinking

  • admin

    What a tease….

  • Someone should root that thing & give it 4g

    • Root it, and give it an LTE amplifier and antenna?

      • Diablo81588

        Good thing the bootloader is unlocked. That alone makes adding missing hardware possible.