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How Awesome is It That the New Nexus 7 LTE Works on Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T?

nexus logo

I’d hate to call it shocking, but one of the most interesting announcements out of yesterday’s Google event was the fact that the new Nexus 7 LTE model works on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile LTE networks, all from a single device. In the past, we have seen tablet manufacturers produce separate models when they tweak them to work on specific carrier network frequencies, but not with this one. Google has done something awesome. 

According to the official tech specs for the new Nexus 7 LTE, we’re looking at connectivity through North American LTE bands 1/2/4/5/13/17. Verizon is 13 (own some 4 as well), AT&T is 4 and 17, and T-Mobile is 4.But taking that a step further, it also works on HSPA+ 850/900/1900/2100/AWS (1700/2100). In other words, if you are using your device on AT&T or T-Mobile and leave an LTE area, you’ll fall back to their HSPA+ networks and still have data. That won’t necessarily work with Verizon, since this chip doesn’t appear to support CDMA, but that’s not surprising.

You are almost looking at one of the first truly unlocked LTE devices – actually, I think this is the only LTE device I can think of that works out of the box on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. How cool is that?

nexus 7 lte bands

So how does that work? The spec list doesn’t say, but I would assume that the Nexus 7 LTE takes microSIM cards, which are the same cards found in almost all phones today outside of the iPhone 5. You could essentially do two things – 1) take the SIM card out of your current phone and drop it into the tablet to get data from day 1, or 2) add the tablet to your current data plan and get its own SIM card. Verizon and AT&T allow you to add on tablets to shared data plans for $10 per month.

“OMG, that means the next Nexus will work on Verizon!” Not so fast. While this single LTE chip is something to get excited about, this doesn’t mean that the next Nexus will work on Verizon’s network. Keep in mind that tablets can do this neat little unlocked LTE trick because they are using data only. If you want a phone to work on Verizon’s network – at this time – you need it to connect to their 3G CDMA network as well, to you know, make calls. And since CDMA networks are about as locked down as you’ll find, with all power to the carriers, we’re still in the same position we have been since the Galaxy Nexus LTE. Now, once Verizon opens up Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), then things could change. And since they are planning to start their VoLTE service next year, there is always a chance that we’ll see someone take a stab at an LTE-only phone when that happens.

The takeaway here is that Google now seems ready to fully invest in LTE for their Nexus line, something they weren’t ready to do last year with the Nexus 4. As you all know, they received quite the backlash when they announced the phone without LTE support. Their Nexus 7 tablets from last year also left out LTE support in favor of HSPA+. So if anything, outside of it being super cool to have this kind of LTE connectivity, I’d say this sets the Nexus brand up nicely to return with an LTE phone this fall. I’d also be willing to bet that it’ll work on T-Mobile and AT&T’s LTE networks, much like the Google Play Edition phones currently do.

  • adamm

    I just got off the phone with Verizon and was told they would not add non-Verizon devices to their network. Told them I had an unlocked Nexus 7 LTE and wanted to add it to my account and get a SIM card for it. I’m not sure how you would go about adding this t-mobile device to your Verizon account.

  • 1ofdakoolkidz

    So…I have been wondering why this has not happened sooner this would allow manufacturers to cut cost and allow customers to have a phone work on any carrier they choose(kinda like the rest of the world)

  • bionic’s skid mark

    i don’t remember seeing a sim card tray anywhere

  • cruzfl0w

    Hmm nexus 10 or new nexus 7? What say you android fans and why

  • WickedToby741

    They could theoretically make the next Nexus phone compatible with Verizon but just have the ability turned off until VoLTE goes live. No reason they couldn’t put in the required hardware and play the waiting game.

    • joejoe5709

      This was my thought. Verizon would be excluded from the fun until they get their act in gear and that way Verizon gets more of the blame than Google would.

  • Eric

    Now to add it to the Nexus 5/4?

  • ddh819

    would the lte version be able to get sms messages if you put your phone sim in there?


      Nope, sorry.

  • Raj Bhatt

    I wonder if I could put my GNex SIM in it and use my unlimited data.


      Yep, as long as you’re on LTE of course.

  • AnotherAndroidKid

    Without bands 3 and 7 though, it is still meh,,, no big deal

  • Trevor

    Can’t wait for VZW to be ALL LTE (voice included). Then Google actually could make an unlocked device for us!!

  • Ben

    Now to dare to dream of a Nexus 4 with LTE, GSM, HSPA+ and CDMA with every frequency imaginable that can be activated on any carrier. One phone to rule them all.
    And really, Verizon should be all for it – why wouldn’t they want to activate a phone you bought out of pocket on their network where they charge high prices due to subsidies? It’s not like you’re using the subsidy you’re paying for. lol


      Because they love locking people into 2 year contracts.

      • Ben

        A two year contract hwere they get 2 years of collecting a subsidy for nothing. Again, I don’t see how they only allow Verizon-branded phones.

        • ERIFNOMI

          If your phone works on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile and you buy your phone off contract, you could leave Verizon and go to another carrier if they gave you a better deal. I understand how subsidies work, but if you can’t take your phone to another carrier, the cost of leaving your current carrier is more than if you could take it with you.

      • Ben

        Oh I’m not saying they wouldn’t require a contract – certainly they would.

        • ERIFNOMI

          If you can buy the phone unlocked at other places (the Play Store hopefully) or from another carrier and switch it to Verizon, VZW loses their chance to lock you into a 2-year contract. You can buy Verizon phones from places other than Verizon now, but they’re only usable on Verizon so they don’t really give a damn. Your service still includes the cots of subsidy but they didn’t subsidize your phone so they’re actually ahead. If you get service from them, buy a phone that could be taken to T-Mobile, then find out you can get service for less for T-Mobile, they might lose you.

          Bottom line: Verizon is very happy forcing people to be stuck on their network, paying their high ass prices. Their service is great, but damn do you pay for it…

          • Ben

            I think we’re talking past each other. They could decide to run unlocked phones and force contracts at the same time and because their service is so much better than everyone else, people will actually pay for it. I know I would.

  • I wonder if this, plus voice calls over Google Voice is how Google intends to launch the Moto X on all carriers…..

    • Kenton Douglas

      No it’ll have a 3G CDMA radio for Verizon and Sprint

  • Destroythanet

    Haha, this could be a nice home for one of my Verizon Unlimited LTE SIMs!!

  • fatalysis

    I think I already know the answer since I own a VZW Gnex, but if you go with a Verizon plan, the Nex7 will not get as timely updates when new releases come out vs going with AT&T or TMobile, right?

    • It will because it’s sold through Google, therefore not subject to Verizon testing. Verizon is not selling the tablet. With the VZW Gnex, Verizon was the one who sold it, marketed it, and supported it, therefore they got testing and approval on updates. This will be a non issue with the new Nexus 7. It’s all the same device. You’ll get updates the same time people on AT&T and T-Mobile will.

    • evltwn

      Wrong, the new N7 won’t be tied down to a specific carrier like the phones are. You could switch SIM cards all you want and the device will still function. All updates will come directly from Google. No need to wait for the carriers to approve the updates.

  • SparkysShocker

    Anyone else catch that the names of the new N7 (Flo and Deb) are the names of the personalities of one of the tank fishes from Finding Nemo…sorry daughter has made me watch Finding Nemo everyday the last 2 weeks.

    • Chris Hannan

      Be honest. You made your daughter watch Finding Nemo with you every day for the past two weeks.

      • SparkysShocker


  • Judging by the FCC report, it looks like it only supports LTE on Verizon. It does not support CDMA2000 in any way, so if you travel outside Verizon LTE coverage, you won’t have any data coverage at all. 3G and 1X goes out the window. I realize that Verizon has LTE almost everywhere, so this probably won’t be a big issue for a lot of people, but it’s worth noting.

    • ddh819

      there’s a couple spots on my train commute where my vzw phone drops down to 3g, would be kinda annoying to not get data at all there.

      • Yep…so if you get an N7 and use it on Verizon, be prepared for that.

    • This is exactly right. With AT&T and T-Mo, you can fall back to HSPA. With Verizon, if you leave LTE, you are out of luck.

  • >> Keep in mind that tablets can do this neat little unlocked LTE trick
    because they are using data only. If you want a phone to work on
    Verizon’s network – at this time – you need it to connect to their 3G
    CDMA network as well, to you know, make calls.

    Groove IP + Google Voice. Problem fixed.

    • ddh819

      does it actually work well on 3g or LTE? ive only tried it on my home wifi

      • Chris Hannan

        Works well on LTE for me.

  • Eric

    I know where I’m putting my unlimited data sim card into in a few weeks. 😉

  • duke69111

    The only problem is that it will take them 6 months to release it on Verizon.

    • brkshr

      Buy the tablet from the play store. Throw your VZW SIM in it. Done.

      • duke69111

        That’s right. I forgot it was unlocked.

      • I wonder if it actually works this way — doesn’t the activation of VZW check whether a device is approved to be used on their network or not?

        • Paul

          Yeah waiting to hear how this actually works. Skeptical that you can just pop them in and out of a device with no further troubles.

        • brkshr

          It’s my understanding that it’s just the CDMA part that needs to be registered. The LTE SIM can be moved around freely.

          • Paul

            Fingers crossed.

          • Bunklung

            I know it freely works between CDMA phones, like S4 to Gnex. You don’t need to call verizon, just SIM swap. The only limitation is the SIM size. You may need to buy a SIM cutter.

          • ddh819

            don’t all vzw android phones use microsim now?

          • This is my understanding as well. There is no CDMA connection, so no approval needed from Verizon. Toss in a Verizon LTE SIM and you should have data.

  • Tony G.

    too much math. head hurts.

  • Ian Smith

    The only thing I care about is that you guys never say “Tias!” again.

  • Paul

    So what I am getting is that I could pull out my LTE sim from my Galaxy Nexus and pop it in my Nexus and get data without having to go through Verizon customer service to initiate my Nexus on my line? It will just think it is my Galaxy nexus? I would’ve figured that you would need to link an MEID or something and it wouldn’t be that easy. I would debate getting an LTE version if this were the case and I could just pop back and forth.

    • Corey Hine

      I’m in the same boat, if it is that easy to swap sims I’ll def wait for the LTE version.

      • jscofi

        im in the same boat. its that easy. waiting on an lte myself!


      It’s because when your put your Gnex sim in the tablet, the tablet will then go through activation and take the same number that is assigned to that sim. If its left in their long enough it will go over to a nexus 7 on Verizons end. Nevertheless you can swap anytime you want because its “backwards compatiable” pretty much.

      I used to work for verizon so we did this trick alot when customers needed to lower the price of a line on their account to a tablet.

    • Bunklung

      You can SIM swap on Verizon (phone – phone OR phone – tablet/MIFI). When you log into My Verizon it will update to show the new device (MIFI, Gnex, S4). Your insurance will also transfer automatically (if you have it). That takes a few days. Verizon is almost instantly, within an hour.

  • chris420o

    my mom has a xoom pays 30 bucks for data a month…gets 1gig lol verizon is sucha rip and they wonder why people are going through lengths to keep unlimited data for 30 a month

  • ahh yes

    uhm tether?

  • While my first reaction was “Oh man! I’m totally waiting for the LTE version!”, after giving it some thought, I’m starting to think I’ll probably just get the wifi version and tether when I need data. The LTE version is going to cost me $80 more upfront, PLUS a MINIMUM of $10 per month…so let’s say I had that data plan for two years, we’re looking at a $320 additional cost on a tablet that otherwise could have cost $270 total.

    That means in two years, I’ll be able to buy another tablet and still have spent LESS than if I added a data plan to this current N7.

    I haven’t owned a tablet yet, but I’m guessing that the number of times that I would really need data on it and don’t have wifi (and just can’t accomplish the task on my phone) won’t be worth $320 over the course of two years. And again, when I’m really in a pinch, I’ll just tether…takes an extra 15 seconds, yet saves money (aaand saves battery power on the tablet because it has one less radio to run).

    Soooo…all that being said, I think I’m going to go with the 32GB wifi version on day one…BUT I’m really glad to see that they’re at least giving the option of a universal LTE model! I’m sure there are plenty of people out there for whom the LTE is their MUST HAVE feature. And so they shall have it 🙂 Gotta love Android ecosystem 🙂

    • jscofi

      i plan to take my phone sim out and put it into my tablet when needed(rare) and save battery life by not having to do hotspot

      • A.Miller

        Can you actually do that?

        • jscofi

          if it doesnt, then i will be wasting my money!
          Im almost certain. thats how it works for phones. this shouldnt be any different

    • shooter50

      Exactly, why spend so much more for an LTE tablet. It doesnt make sense.

    • WickedToby741

      Device fees are a joke and they need to die. Just another way for them to build the cost of subsidizing a device into your plan, whether it was subsidized or not. Just another way for them to nickel and dime you.

    • Mig

      Thank you so much for this post. I was going over and over in my head about how beneficial a LTE tablet would be. I have been scouring the forums for pro and cons of network data enabled tablets. I have free tethering on my phone anyway, and the added cost to have it on my plan is ridiculous. Thanks again for putting some perspective on it.

    • joejoe5709

      Exactly… This is a well thought out idea. It’s semi-rare that I’m not on Wifi and even then I’m not likely going to need my tablet (driving, dinner dates, etc.) and for those rare occasions I do need connection to my tablet and Wifi isn’t available – Tethering is likely going to be a fine option.

    • John

      See I am going for the Verizon LTE service for the tablet. Then I can hotspot back to my T-mobile phone when I am out of T-mobile’s 4G area, and it is still cheaper per month then getting my smart phone on Verizon’s network, since they are so proud of it.

    • Barbara

      Thanks for sharing that! I was googling to find out just why I would want the LTE and you answered it! Now I’ll just stick with my original plan.

  • SkullOne

    Good start. I’m interested is knowing how Verizon will spin it for this device having an unlockable bootloader when they lock down everything else. They claim it’s for security and reliability. So why do they pick and choose what can be unlocked if that’s the case? Nice double standard there. 😉

    • d-rock

      They really can’t. This is the downfall for LTE for them in this area. They can’t HELP the new Nexus 7 being on their network. This is not a ‘blessed’ VZ device. It just has the hardware to support being on their network. You take your Tablet LTE SIM Card and put it in and bam, it’s up and running. They had to basically approve every CDMA device.

      When VoLTE hits VZ, this is going to open up a whole new era for VZ, assuming they don’t find a way to lock out unapproved devices.

      • T4rd

        I almost guarantee that Verizon will figure out a way to restrict what devices go on their LTE network just as they do on CDMA. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see them letting unlocked devices on their network in the forseeable future.

        • hoosiercub88

          I fear you are 100% correct.

        • Verizon has said repeatedly that they will approved devices to be used on their network. The question is, whether they can legally do that for LTE only devices. If I recall correctly, there is a cause in their bid for the LTE spectrum that requires them to open up the LTE network, but we all know VZW can find some ways to spin it.

          • brkshr

            From what I’ve read GSM cannot be restricted like it’s CDMA counterpart. LTE is a GSM technology.

            Edit: CDMA is what gives VZW it’s control. It’s a licensed technology, where GSM is a global standard. With that said, I wouldn’t put it past VZW to find some way to restrict consumers.

          • Tim242

            LTE is not a GSM tech. That is a huge misconception.

          • brkshr

            You might want to hit up Wiki & the hundreds of other sites stating that LTE is based on GSM tech. I know it’s not the same technology, but it is said to be based on GSM? Either way it is a lot more of an open standard than CDMA, which was the point of my post. I appreciate the info!

        • George264

          They can’t. They were restricted when they bided for some LTE spectrum. That’s the reason why the iPhone 5 on Verizon is sold unlocked.

          • Tim242

            Not totally correct. While the iPhone 5 and Droid DNA are fully unlocked, the Note 2 and GS4 are not. It takes some hacks on those.

      • Blue Sun

        I’m still really skeptical of VoLTE on Verizon being effective. We’ve seen a huge down spike in data transfer speeds over the past 12+ months on the Verizon network (basically from users use of data only, no voice bandwidth). With voice also being transmitted on the LTE band, can LTE network really handle the capacity?

        • ERIFNOMI

          Voice doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth. Once the networks are built out, we’ll be fine.

        • Tim242

          Capacity and speed are not interchangeable. LTE has far more capacity and far lower latency.

        • d-rock

          They will likely make it handle it. After all HSPA handles data + voice because they make it, but it’s also the reason why AT&T had huge dropped call issues after putting the iPhone out there.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Only because we know what that means…

  • Luke Olson

    Now please do this on every phone ever. Thanks

  • Alex Goings

    Not sure if I should upgrade to the wifi one. Just not sure about the 7″ thing. I currently have the asus transformer prime TF201 which is 10.1″.


      I thought the smallest tablet I’d like would be a 10 inch tablet until I got (GOT, not bought) a Xyboard 8.7 (or whatever size that thing was). Honestly, a smaller tablet you can hold in one hand is really nice. I’d say it’s the way to go. But if you don’t want a smaller tablet, Sammy is making a new Nexus 10.

      • Alex Goings

        My dad has the Nexus 7 and I havent really played with it. Now I guess ill have to just to get a feel for the size. Then wait for the Nexus 10 announcment and see what I think of that!

  • Guest

    This awesome -> | |

  • now if they can just make PHONES that work on all carriers.

    • brkshr

      This will happen when VoLTE becomes the standard. Until then, it’s not too likely.

  • Curtis

    I think it’s time to upgrade from my TF101!! I don’t need LTE support on my tablet, but I am happy with where this is heading.

  • d-rock

    I’m not really surprised b/c it doesn’t include CDMA. CDMA was really the only sticking point of having a more universal network operation.

    • Dee Mann

      Exactly! No voice over CDMA is needed so it is simple to have LTE on every carrier!

      • hoosiercub88

        Right, but on fringe areas of Verizon LTE where there may or may not be solid LTE yet, it will drop to no data.

  • Bionic_Pags

    Let’s pray they do this on the new Nexus phone!

    • Perhaps we could figure out something that might be a little more effective…

      • Tim242

        My sentiments exactly!

  • tony2x

    I just hope the new N7 doesn’t suck like the old N7. I thought it was only me but apparently most people are having the exact same problems.


  • Greg Morgan

    Great promise for VoLTE and Nexus devices.

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      This. When I saw this new fact about the nexus 7, I’m thinking the new nexus phone might be like this, and El goog might release their messaging system to make it easier to switch. And probably have voice over lte. It’d be nice 🙂

  • EC8CH

    Die CDMA Die!

    • hoosiercub88

      Not quite ready for that yet.. they need to buff out LTE a little more.

      I’m going to miss my call quality though.

      • Ej McCarty

        You forgot about the time you were a hooker in NYC. I’m sure that paid more. This jocelyn girl sounds like a complete whore.

      • CasperTFG

        This is none of my business but, where you ever a hooker in New York City?

      • tomn1ce

        They still have the rest of the year to continue expanding and reinforcing their LTE coverage. I always have my G-Nexus on 4G, I rarely put it manually on 3G. 98% of the time when I take out my G-Nexus it always have LTE signal.

    • sroluis

      Jocelyn. if you,
      thought Denise`s article is inconceivable, on monday I got a top of the range
      Toyota sincee geting a check for $7485 recently and also ten k this
      past-munth. no-doubt about it, this really is my favourite job I’ve ever
      done. I began this eight months/ago and pretty much straight away started to
      earn minimum $72.. per/hr. I work through this website, w­w­w.b­a­r­2­8.c­o­m

    • Tyler Durden

      Still have til next year 🙁

    • KevinMCo

      The funny thing about CDMA is that it’s actually the best technology. Code division multiple access is the foundation of LTE technologically. What we hate about CDMA is the *implementation* that American carriers have been allowed to do, since CDMA is not as tightly regulated. (GSM isn’t even a specific technology anymore, it’s a standards group.)

      So yes. Verizon and Sprint CDMA deserve to die a painful death. But CDMA itself is great.

      • Justtyn Hutcheson


        LTE is based on GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technology. CDMA has no competing alternative afaik. That is why 4GLTE devices on Verizon use SIM cards for network authentication rather than CDMA’s IMEI network-based device authorization.

        • Tim242

          LTE is not based on GSM. HSPA is not even based on GSM.

          LTE in a Nutshell

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Thank you sir. When I originally read about LTE technology, I took “follow-up” to be equivalent to “derived from”, but I now see they are all completely unrelated, excepting in that they are all terrestrial mobile network technologies. Have a great weekend 🙂

      • ERIFNOMI

        LTE is based on GSM and UMTS and is developed by 3GPP (the group responsible for what people call ‘GSM’). What people call CDMA is developed by a different group, 3GPP2. CDMA, as you state, stands for Code Division Multiple Access but that doesn’t apply to just cell phones. CDMA, as its name suggests, allows multiple radio transmitters to communicate on a single band of frequencies. There are other ways of doing this (Time Division Multiple Access, TDMA, for example).

        Honestly, I don’t blame people for confusing the two. We call AT&T and T-Mobile GSM carriers but does anyone actually use EDGE anymore? Everyone is on HSPA which is UMTS and LTE now, but we use their legacy name. What we need is every carrier to use the same standards which, thanks to LTE, is where we’re heading. Hopefully all carriers adobt the 3GPP standards and we won’t have to call them “GSM” or “CDMA” anymore.

        • Jeremy Erickson

          Most T-Mobile users still use EDGE when outside major metro areas, except when they’re using GPRS. That’s because those are the best data standards T-Mobile supports outside of metro areas that have HSPA+.

          • Ben

            I’m not in a top 200 metro area and have plenty of HSPA+ coverage. To just talk in generalities is easy. Still, if I could get an unlocked phone on Verizon I’d do it.

          • Jeremy Erickson

            Where are you at? I am actually a T-Mobile subscriber (using a Galaxy Nexus), and was speaking from my general experience. I have a mix of EDGE and HSPA+ in the Chapel Hill, NC area where I live, and I see similar coverage in places like Madison, WI and Peoria, IL where I’ve also spent a lot of time. I almost always have good HSPA+ coverage when travelling in major cities (and I’ve been all over), but EDGE or GPRS even on Interstate highways between cities and in smaller towns.

            I like T-Mobile’s prices and new policies, but do get annoyed with the coverage when I go on road trips.

          • Ben

            Pekin, IL. At home i routinely get between 3-4mbit down and .5-1mbit up, with decent ping. If I drive a half mile I’ve pulled as much as 10mbit. In downtown Peoria I can get 13-14mbit on an HTC One S. Now if I drive 10 miles south to my parents’ house in a rural area I’m in GPRS land, sure, but it’s a solid GPRS signal and I can do voice/text even inside the house. My sister on AT&T can’t get reception, and is on EDGE in the yard. My mom’s on Verizon LTE and of course gets LTE everywhere.

            The big saving grace for T-Mobile and the high-frequency bands they’re stuck with is wifi calling. I have it turned on when I’m in my mother-in-law’s house. In her yard I get a really strong signal, but she has aluminum siding so coverage for all the major carriers except Verizon and their 850MHz 3G inside the house is awful. Wifi calling rocks.

          • Jeremy Erickson

            Yeah, T-Mobile has great speeds where the HSPA+ does work. I also like the WiFi calling, although it doesn’t work on the Galaxy Nexus, so I use GrooVe IP and GrooVe Forwarder for a similar solution. I give out my Google Voice number instead of my T-Mobile number anyway and use the Google Voice app both to text and to make outgoing calls. For outgoing calls, the Google Voice app basically sets up a conference call between your real number, Google Voice, and the other person, so the other person’s caller ID shows your Google Voice number. You do have to have some sort of data coverage (possibly WiFi) to initiate the call, but the call happens over voice rather than data, so even GPRS works. That setup means no one has to know my real number or whether I’m actually going to be using T-Mobile or GrooVe IP.

            Having an unlocked GSM phone is also great when I am outside the United States, as I can just buy a local SIM card. Another tip is that if you’re using WiFi in a foreign country, you can use either GrooVe IP or T-Mobile WiFi calling at no extra charge. You do have to have your T-Mobile SIM in the phone to use the T-Mobile WiFi calling.