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LG: Nexus 4 has LTE Chip Because It’s Based Off the Optimus G, Future Software Update to Activate It Not Coming

LG Nexus 4 Review

Over the weekend, some crafty Canadians figured out a way to get the LG Nexus 4 working on their Band 4 LTE networks. The world was semi-shocked, as Google and LG released this as a non-LTE phone. Unfortunately, hopes were already raised, talk of a future software update to enable LTE was tossed around recklessly, and every person in the U.S. with the phone probably called T-Mobile to ask when their LTE network would be built out.  

LG responded to all of this chatter this morning, saying that the reason the device has an LTE chip inside, is because the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset used only comes with an LTE radio attached. This same chipset also happens to be the exact one used in the Optimus G, a device that the Nexus 4 is based off of, which actually does run on LTE networks. They also mentioned that a future software update is not going to magically allow for LTE connectivity.

Here is the statement that was given to TechRadar:

“In order to provide the best possible specification for Nexus 4, LG utilised the same powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset as can be found in its 4G LTE product, namely LG Optimus G.”

“This powerful chipset is only available with a combined processor and modem and cannot be implemented separately.”

“The modem contains 4G LTE capabilities but is only effective when combined with other essential hardware parts such as a signal amplifier and filter in order for it to work. It therefore cannot be upgraded to 4G LTE capability through software.”

While it’s tough to not call this news “disappointing,” you have to remember that Google and LG announced this as an HSPA-only device. When it cruised through the FCC, there was no LTE radio in sight. In fact, one wasn’t tested or mentioned.

Who knows, though, maybe we’ll see a separate LTE version later down the road. (Not crossing my fingers.)

Via:  TechRadar

  • Ross

    what background is that??

  • seronac
  • Trevor

    That was cool of them to come out and tell us exactly what the deal is. I like it when companies do that rather than just leaving you in the dark. Way to go LG!

  • TheDrunkenClam


  • Again: I have no idea why anyone would buy this device unless they’re a masochist or Google Kool-Aid drinker. With this + the Nexus Q, one has to wonder if Google hardware design is falling further and further under par. And I say this as a Galaxy Nexus owner who loves his phone.

    • alex drum

      because they are a person on a gsm network and they like stock android, and they like to have more less the best hardware… I would buy it if I was on gsm.

      • Considering that T-Mobile is the only major US carrier without 4G LTE, I’m guessing the N4 wasn’t aimed at US users.

        • alex drum

          right, but you said anyone… there are people outside the US. In fact most people are out of the US and are on gsm. also on a side note… there is no such thing as google hardware, its LG.

  • mbaldwin85

    Can you all stop crying about LTE chip this, and band 4 that? You knew what this phone was when you were smashing your F5 button to purchase it.
    I’ll be holding on to the GNexus for a while and I’m aware of that. It’s a reality I live in because I choose to stay with Verizon for the time being.

  • zepfloyd

    “When it cruised through the FCC, there was no LTE radio in sight. In fact, one wasn’t tested or mentioned.”

    This is still a big issue, one that will probably find a software update to nuke the LTE workaround (of course you could probably downgrade). Ya don’t mess with the FCC.

    • curaga

      The Canadians who would be doing are probably going to mess with the software anyway.

  • well at least canadians can activate it

    • just before I saw the draft which had said $5033, I have faith ...that...my mother in law was like they say actualie receiving money part-time from there pretty old laptop.. there neighbor started doing this for only about 12 months and recently took care of the mortgage on there condo and bought themselves a Nissan GT-R:. I went here, A­sk25.­­com

    • Alan

      Anyone know if Canada’s equivalent of the FCC tested the Nexus 4 for LTE? LG didn’t exactly say they’re going to disable it for the Canadians. Then again, Google controls the software and they haven’t given a response yet.

    • michael arazan

      Get the parts from the optimus G like a booster and antenna and that’s all you’ll need to finish the lte parts to switch it over .

  • JohnPA2006

    So LG finally gets to produce a “Nexus” phone, and what do they do, they gimp it by not having it use the LTE in use by the major US cell companies.
    Not a smart move LG, someone is asleep at the wheel over there.

    • It wasn’t LG that didn’t give it LTE, it was Google not wanting LTE in the phone.

    • Dr. Mark Lipschitz

      What are you talking about? It was Google that did not want the LTE in the Nexus 4 not LG. LG put LTE in the Optimus G which is why the LTE chip is even in the the Nexus 4. It has been all over the net for almost a month. Your the one asleep at the wheel. http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/29/3569688/why-nexus-4-does-not-have-4g-lte

      • alex drum

        the only person asleep at the wheel was whoever chose LG out of all the manufactures

    • esfe

      That was Google’s decision. So you should say “Not a smart move Google, someone is asleep at the wheel over there.”

      • alex drum

        the only person asleep at the wheel was whoever chose LG out of all the manufactures

    • MrWicket

      out of the major US carriers 1 has worthwhile LTE and it’s CDMA which the N4 wouldn’t run on anyways, the next is ATT and it only has 70 markets which isn’t even a 1/4 of what Verizon has so it makes perfect sense to not waist money and battery life to have LTE, plus the rest of the world doesn’t have LTE so why would Google and LG limit themselves to 1/16 of the world market. Personally I think if we do see a LTE version it’ll be like the Galaxy Nexus on Sprint (doubt Verizon will ever see a Nexus again) and be only on contract through them only.

  • Tim Buchanan

    Shame they couldn’t have used that space for expandable storage…

    • What space? The modem is integrated into the chipset. Besides, the micro SD wasn’t left off because of space issues, Google simply doesn’t want it there.

      • Tim Buchanan

        Exactly my point. Why would El Goog leave out such a simple and helpful feature? It doesn’t make sense to me. Cloud storage be dammed.

        • Because the SD card had to be a different format to be mountable on a computer, and having one storage location is simpler. I don’t mind not having an SD card personally, I just wish that they would sell devices with at least 32 gigs of storage.

          • Tim Buchanan

            More on board storage would be equally acceptable. I got rid of my iPod in favor of my GNexus. I hope future Nexus offerings won’t make me regret that decision. 64+gb would be ideal.

          • It would be neat if some company would start making cases that had an SD slot that plugged into the phone and worked via the USB OTG mounting. Kind of similar to the extended battery cases.

          • Jeff Tycz

            well you will be left unsatisfied then because you will never EVER see a SD card slot in a nexus device…sorry

          • alex drum

            it has pretty much faded off all high end phones, not just nexus… idk why people are absolutely obsessed with removable storage… all I was is some more storage options… such as 32, something they had on previous nexus… but I guess they decided that we dont need that much space

          • capecodcarl

            I don’t think that’s the only reason since most of us would be fine with just formatting the SD card as EXT4 and never mounting it directly on a Mac or Windows box. I imagine 99% of the Android users never take the SD card out of their phone so they could just setup the SD card volume to use the same MTP protocol that the internal flash access uses.

            In fact, they could even support a more advanced configuration like using LVM and merge the SD card space with the user-accessible flash space built-in to the device. That way you could buy a cheap 8GB phone and buy a 32GB SD card later, merge it with the internal space and have a 40GB volume (minus overhead).

        • tookieboy

          There are countless articles out there, and direct from Google’s engineers. One thing that is hot is user switching. Have you heard of Android 4.2 Jellybean?

          Please go read it up if you don’t, then go google for the words that the engineers said. That ought to clear up whatever doubts you have.

          tl;dr: Get updated with tech. Managing files if you have multiple users is not going to be secure if you have an external FAT32 card.

  • Qbancelli

    You make no sense. Software update to activate it?
    It is working perfectly in band 4. Like it was intended.

    • No amplifier though. It only works on band 4 because it has that band. It wasn’t ‘intended’ to work on band 4 at all. It’s still missing bands for EE in the UK and Verizon in the US. The band 4 LTE is just a simple work around.

      • Qbancelli

        Wow! No amps?
        Did you bother to even read on the internet before making comments?


        Of course it has all the hardware it needs to work on band 4, which 140 millions ppl in Canada and Mexico(Tmobile next year) can use.

        • No amplifier for the actual, inactive, LTE chip. That’s what I was referring to.

          As I said, this a workaround. It’s not ‘real’, proper LTE.

          • Jeff

            From the article:

            “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.”

          • dcdttu

            If the device was missing any of the required hardware for LTE, LTE simply wouldn’t work or would be gimped to 5mhz rather than 20. This is obviously not the case.

          • Jeff

            Are you talking to me? I’m pointing out how these guys who are copying and pasting stuff aren’t even copying and pasting correctly. The Nexus 4 has perfectly working hardware for LTE in Canada. At least that’s what I’m copying and pasting since I’m just going by AnandTech.

        • zepfloyd

          You should read a little deeper, the phone is missing it’s primary LTE antenna and amp, Band 4 LTE overlaps with attenuation of HSPA in the chipset which is why it works weakly.

          • Joe

            I’ll take the 75 Mbps speed of the 1×1 antenna configuration with the LTE supporting amp in there.

          • Qbancelli

            You’re the one who should read better.
            ” For the 1×1 configuration I could test, however, I saw the expected ~75 Mbps on 20 MHz FDD LTE which is very close to the maximum of 75.376 as shown. Gallery: Nexus 4 Anritsu LTE Testing”

        • sk3litor

          Mexico has cell phones?

          • Mario II Valenzuela

            @LIxt7fgnPc:disqus The world’s richest man is Carlos Slim Helu. Want to know why he is so rich? He OWNS most of the cell phone carriers in Mexico. So yeah, Mexico has cell phones and those cell phones made a Mexican the richest man in the whole fucken world.

          • sk3litor

            I was just poking fun at ignorance. I meant no disrespect my friend

          • alex drum

            haha, it was a joke, but thank god for oversensitive people like you!

  • Scott

    The Samsung Galaxy Nexus still has reception problems while this thing lacks the ability to access LTE. Can someone create a Nexus to be reckoned with please?

    • Scott


      • I’m quietly waiting for this day… Sadly it probably won’t happen with a CDMA radio still in the device. At least for the near future.

        • Hothfox

          I have a hard time believing that a Motorola Nexus wouldn’t have CDMA/LTE in it. Then again, I also have a hard time believing Motorola will make a Nexus, especially since the RAZR line seems to be their baby.

      • alex drum

        when was the last time motorola has come out with a phone that moved anything forward? (besides OG)… seriously people say motorola to just about everything, when I bough my G-nex, my friend got the razr… the only good thing about that phone is the radio. honestly… I dont understand the motorola obsession, just look at their financial state… but really, it took motorola to make the razr hd to finally put in an hd screen… something my nexus had almost a year before.

    • The GNex’s reception problems and the N4’s LTE deficiencies are symptoms of hardware design problems at Google https://jdrch.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/hey-google-the-lg-nexus-4-is-embarrassing/ . Until those get fixed (and the Nexus 4 was actually a step backward IMO), Nexus hardware will continue dazzle on paper but suck in real world operation.

      • Hothfox

        I was fortunate to receive a GNex with good reception and no issues with that, but yes, that was an issue. I agree that the lack of even GSM based LTE in the N4 is a huge mistake and a step back. AT&T DOES have an LTE network, TMobile WILL have an LTE network. There is definitely a market in the US and abroad for an LTE (even if only on GSM carriers) Nexus.

  • ne0

    sorry but i’ll be sticking with my gnex for a while to come!

    • Tom

      That’s going to be forever if you’re waiting for a Nexus. Although, some may argue that your current Nexus isn’t really a Nexus either.

      • Hothfox

        It’s definitely a Nexus, but one that Verizon has their tentacles wrapped around. If it’s “really” a Nexus is debatable, determined by what everyone’s definition of a Nexus is – and everyone seems to have a different definition.

      • And those people are idiots. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus still receives updates before any other non-Nexus phone receives updates. It has AOSP support. It has provided factory images and downloadable proprietary binaries. It still gets updates from Google. It might be delayed a bit, but you know what, in the end, that doesn’t matter. The average person doesn’t care when they get updates. In fact, they don’t even know updates are available to other users on other carriers. They just want a phone to work. That’s it.

        • +1 @fc0af819063dadaf47a0194433e239dd:disqus: even if my updates don’t come right away, at least I know they’re in the pipeline. VZW have delayed Nexus/Google Developer Device updates, but AFAIK they’ve yet to block one.

          • sk3litor

            Fast as fast can be they’ll never block me

          • 4n1m4L

            And they come from Google. Not Samsung.

        • alex drum

          maybe so but isnt that a bit of a moot point because you posted this on an android enthusiast blog? but those people would not be idiots, a nexus is known to get updates straight form google, not go to a 3rd party for months of testing and finally be given the ok and sent to us… thats not direct if you ask me. I want my updates when they are ready, not 3 months later.