Oct 29 AT 2:32 PM Taylor Wimberly 99 Comments

Poll: Is the lack of 4G LTE a Nexus 4 dealbreaker?


Google’s flagship smartphone lacks one of the most common features we expect to find on high-end devices. The Nexus 4 does not support 4G LTE networks, and it will only support GSM/HSPA+ compatible networks. As expected, the Nexus 4 will be sold in an unlocked version that supports a penta-band radio (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz), which means it can run on existing 4G HSPA+ networks from AT&T and T-Mobile.

T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network supports 42 Mbps modems, but the Nexus 4 will only support 4G HSPA+ 21 Mbps. This means customers on AT&T and T-Mobile will see similar performance, since both networks will support the same HSPA+ 21 Mbps speeds. A recent report by Root Metrics showed that AT&T offered slightly better speeds, but Verizon is still king in most markets.

Update: The Android Press site says the Nexus 4 supports HSPA+ 42 Mbps, and the Google Play Store listing has it listed at 21 Mbps.

Dieter Bohn and Nilay Patel of The Verge spoke with Google’s Andy Rubin and he said the lack of 4G LTE was a “tactical issue.” Rubin cites cost and battery life as major concerns with LTE devices and admitted the Verizon Galaxy Nexus “wasn’t a great user experience.”

It’s always possible that we could see a future version of the Nexus 4 with LTE on any one of the major carriers, but we wouldn’t expect anything like that this year. T-Mobile is the premier launch partner for the Nexus 4, and it looks like they will be the only carrier to sell the device with a subsidy.

The Nexus 4 goes on sale on November 13th for $299, and the price is really competitive for what it offers. You should expect the best of hardware and software at a price that is half of what the best unlocked phones are selling for.

I already have a T-Mobile compatible SIM card and I plan on buying the Nexus 4, but I know the lack of 4G LTE will be a dealbreaker for those already on Verizon’s network. If you were planning on buying the Nexus 4, does the lack of 4G LTE change your mind? Will you switch to a pre-paid carrier to get the Nexus 4 at launch, or will you stick with your current carrier and wait on another device?

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • txbluesman

    I am just glad to see a new Nexus at that crazy price. I will be getting one after the first of the year when my contract runs out and then it will be a pre paid plan.

    • Joel

      The price is definitley one of the biggest bonuses.
      I feel like a Nexus shouldnt lack anything though. The only thing that should be missing on a Nexus is bloatware. In the end though I dont think it will be a HUGE deal breaker.
      HSPA+ is still really good.

      • aw123

        The price is great, however, I’ve got a GNex and I’m ready to upgrade to something that outspecs it; however without LTE, there’s just not a great difference to the end user, and I won’t upgrade (yet).

        I get their reasoning, and that’s fine, but they still won’t get my money for the phone.

        i’m in Australia, where we can use LTE on an unlocked device, so missing out on features due to what’s available in U.S. just kind of sucks a little bit.

        Having said that, I’m pretty sure I’ll just wait till a nexus refresh, or the next nexus, as I hate waiting for updates and I really like the nexus program.

    • S_I_M

      Disadvantages are thin profit margins per phone and the now ‘Nexus for cheap’ approach.
      Nexus was once the top of the line, now its at the bottom.
      I dont know if this is a good idea, it could dilute the Nexus brand.

      • Deon Davis

        How in the hell is this bottom of the line? This the one of the the most powerful phones out now!

      • masterpfa

        How in the heck did you come to this conclusion?????????

        Latest CPU
        IPS screen
        2 Gb RAM
        Nexus branding
        Vanilla Android

        (Holding head in hands)

        • swazedahustla

          Well i can only compare to my EVO 4G LTE.

          Similar specs
          Evo = More storage 64 GB SD card + 16 GB internal vs 8 GB or 16 GB
          Evo = 1 GB Ram vs 2GB
          Vanilla vs CM10 on EVO (4.2 jb)
          IPS Screen- yep on both

          There won’t be a noticable difference in performance or features. And waiting a few extra weeks for KLP is nothing.

          Then add consistent LTE for the #win.

          Its a good deal for anyone who doesn’t have a phone that was released the last 3-4 months, otherwise they already have a similar phone in every way.

          • drcmda

            lets not forget you’re actually trying to compare a hardwarebutton-crippled device to a nexus phone. jellybean and ice cream sandwhich were not written for hardware buttons – your phone breaks the sdk, if you like it or not. the os runs though an abstraction/emulation layer and you’ll loose some of its contextual features plus the snappyness of interaction without which jellybean feels kinda cheap. worst of all, you get an awful dev community all depending on cyanogenmod’s efforts. roms will be hand-down second rate ports. not to mention the unlocking hell you have to go through.

          • LG Nexus

            It’s funny watching this EVO 4G kid desperately trying to make himself feel better about his phone as he’s jealous of this god like nexus 4. A moment of silence for him as he’s probably stuck in a 2 year contract with that phone so he’s gotta resort to these measures to make himself feel better.
            I’m sorry son, sad truth, there’s absolutely nothing better about the EVO than the nexus 4. Except 4g, which if your life depends on 4G, then fine. But I’m sure 80% of us don’t have 4G coverage nearby, so we don’t mind.

      • dbest180

        Don’t mistake cheap as low quality. Or the reverse.

      • iamtpb

        it is the Fastest Phone on Earth !
        S4 Pro + Adreno 320 & 2GB RAM

        Best Flagship Phone i.e WAY Better than Apple’s iPhone 5 , Nokia’s Lumia 920 ,
        HTC’s 8X and One X+ ,Samsung’s S3 …

        And look at the cost !! it isn’t COMPROMISE , it’s FAIR PRICING ! cos other manufacturers eat up huge margins and so it isn’t hard to wonder why apple is richest one …

    • marvin nubwaxer

      most people know by now that HSPA+21 was incorrect and the correct spec is HSPA+42. t-mobile $30 unlimited data prepaid–yeah buddy.

  • Thomas Biard

    I voted that I would still get the Nexus 4 even without LTE…

    The only difference is I am on Verizon so if only Verizon 3G were available I’d still get it hands down.

    • LukeT32

      I couldn’t go without LTE and VZW. Here in Iowa there isn’t alot else for service except USC.

      • iamtpb

        LG Nexus – Verizon and T-Mobile LTE versions almost Confirmed !

    • thekaz

      yeah, it is difficult for me to leave Verizon, and this phone looks great. Wish I could get it and stay on Verizon…

      • Thomas Biard

        Look into Page Plus. No LTE, but no problem. Seriously cheap for great coverage. I’m on it.

  • Nima

    Not thrilled about it, but this way I don’t have to renew my contract with bell, and I can try mobilicity out for a month and see how the reception is.

  • Noven

    Totally fine with it. 12mbps down and 5mbps up is plenty, and am happy that they didn’t do an exclusive with Verizon again. I’m on the T-Mobile Monthly 4g and will be getting the 16 GB as soon as it is available.

    For this devout Android fan, I am more than happy.

  • redraider133

    Well lack of lte isn’t a deal breaker the deal breaker is that no non-lte phone will come to verizon so in essence I guess yes no lte is a dealbreaker. Wish google and the carriers could work together and get lte devices out there.

  • nateysmith

    It doesn’t really make me want the phone any less. I am on AT&T, and I am excited for the tech and the software on the new nexus. I already have half my family on board to get it as Nexus is the only way to go for devices now a days!

  • Dustin Earley

    Pick your poison:

    No LTE, one Nexus 4 to update and support, that works across hundreds of carriers all around the world.

    Four separate models to support, all getting updates at different times, fragmenting the rollout of new Android versions.

    • vitriolix

      Yes, the fact that updates were being blocked by the carriers, Verizon being the worst here, was clearly their motivation for going HSPA+

  • http://bodacioustripk.tumblr.com emaciscool

    The reason I’m so excited for the Nexus lines are as follows:
    1. I can upgrade for a much cheaper unsubsidized price.
    2. Pure Google
    3. Fast Updates
    4. Premium components
    5. I love my current Galaxy Nexus
    6. So I can keep Unlimited Data on Verizon

    I would throw so much money at Google they wouldn’t know what to do with it if they unleashed an LTE variant of the Nexus 4, for us not wanting to move backwards from LTE. I’m sure I’m not the only one in this boat.

    • Thomas Biard

      How are you going to keep your unlimited data on Verizon with this phone?

      • http://bodacioustripk.tumblr.com emaciscool

        I’m saying these were the reasons I like Nexus devices in general, had they continued releasing CDMA devices like my current Galaxy Nexus, hence the bottom little paragraph. If they released a version I could use on Verizon, I’d order one instantly.

        • Thomas Biard

          Ahh. I misunderstood you there. Yeah if Verizon had this phone I’d be all over it already.

  • mortodestructo

    Since the only carriers with service in my area are CDMA-based, it’s a dealbreaker for now. Fortunately, @black_man_x is hinting that we’ll have a Verizon model in January.

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    I do wish the new nexus had 42mbps Google’s page has 21mbps.

  • united_martian

    HSPA speed is fine, T-Mobile’s coverage however “unlimited” is terrible. This is fact

  • Mix

    I don`t really care and it doesn’t effect me at all.

    I don’t really want my cell phone speed to be faster than my home internet connection especially when those faster speeds come with 49900% less data allowance.

    /Canada (5-25mbps home speed)

    1gb on a cell plan allowed compared to 500gb home and the cell plan is more expensive

    • Scott

      Of course you realize….

      That is 99.8% less.


      • Mix

        Hahah yeah I no edit button and I used the increase rather than decrease :(

  • Matt

    If it wasn’t a LG, I’d be all over it. The price will be a no brainer for most folks though.

  • Kizipotamus

    I don’t care if it’s not LTE, because LTE basically has no coverage in the US anyway. Not to mention the dismal battery life it causes.

  • shadhussain

    To quote a friend “the Nexus4 is no Jesus Phone” but it’s still pretty goddamn awesome. If Google were to put in LTE, micro sd expansion slots, all-in for $300-350, we wouldn’t really need any other phones would we?

    To me, this new Nexus series firmly establishes the lowest, most competitive bar for Android phones. OEM’s can run with this template and add more features, killer product designs to compete against Apple. The market will sort the rest of it out.

  • jd

    My contract with Tmo runs out at the end of November, and I am currently using a GNex. I’m dumping both GNex and Tmo very soon. Prepaid all the way.

    • Charlesbrown79

      I wish I could go prepaid. I am too much of a data hog.

    • JB

      Why dont you just keep T-Mo, switch to value and get the unlimited data plan and get yourself a Nexus. I have a GNexus, also and am on T-Mo on the Value plan with 1000mins UNL Text and Data for $130 with two lines. Cant beat that. I use about 8-10Gb/month so pre-paid is definitely not for me. I love not having to worry about Data caps anymore on T-Mo.

      • droid5

        I have two smart phones on verizon with unlimited data and texts for $150/month.
        One is sammy S3 and the other iphone 4S. Much better coverage where i’m at.
        I can’t even get 3G on t-mobile where I live.

      • marvin nubwaxer

        absolutely can beat your $130 for 2 lines try $30 prepaid unlimited data, but only 100 minutes talk then $.10/minute. i’m a downloader more than a talker.

  • GrendelJapan

    I’m getting one. I’m not sure if I’ll go for the unsubsidized one or not. It sort of depends if I can use my existing T-Mo plan or not.

  • stepquick

    That’s a great price, and I really like the new stuff. I care less about 4g. I care about everything else, and hspa is decent speed. I’m definitely buying this soon. Probably when it’s available.

  • Adam

    Your choices are not exhaustive. I said “no” but its not due to wanting LTE speed. With my family, changing carriers from Verizon just isn’t feasible. I would be thrilled to have a CDMA nexus even at 3G speeds…

  • RX-78-7

    I have an S2 with HSPA+, personally the speeds are enough for me. I will be switching to a nexus 4 , the question is when.

    I don’t really want to retire the S2, it’s still fully functional, and the exynos has been able to handle every game to date without problems, so it makes it hard to justify getting a new phone.

  • tmoore4075

    I said no. Maybe if I had LTE I wouldn’t want to go back but on T-Mobile now with a GSM Galaxy Nexus so don’t really see a need for it.

  • stenzor

    There’s barely any LTE here in Canada so I’m not too worried.. for my needs HSPA+ is fine as well. Next year should be better coverage and I’ll expect LTE

  • MikeG

    My phone is on a wifi network 99% of the time, so I’m not concerned about not having LTE coverage. When on the go HSPA+ is acceptable, and I expect the new processing power will render pages a lot faster than my current phone, so it will still feel faster even with the same data speeds.

    Also, when I’m on the go (driving on the highway, etc.) I’m often in areas that don’t even have HSPA+ yet and it bumps me down to regular 3G, so these places will certainly not have LTE any time soon.

  • sknoslo

    T-Mobile’s HSPA+ is plenty fast for me, and their coverage is at least on par with all other carriers in my area. There is no LTE near me anyway so my HSPA+ bests just about anyone else. Plus T-Mobile is a fraction of the price.

  • Dave

    Well lack of LTE isn’t a deal breaker the deal breaker is that it’s made by LG.

    • Jarl

      couldnt agree more. still no ICS for my Optimus 2X!
      and my friends Optimus 3D has been sent in for repairs/replacement for the 6TH time!!
      life’s good with LG? i dont think so!

  • paul

    The deal breaker is only 16gb this would be a step down from my 32gb phone

  • acey_zero

    I don’t really care about LTE, but the limited storage with no SD slot is what kills it for me.

    To me the problem with the situation is that the Nexus hardware doesn’t work for everyone for one reason or another, but they get such good software support that it makes everything else seem rather disappointing. The Nexus line were meant to serve as reference devices to show manufactures what can be done with Android, but it turns out that the main killer feature they have is their software support, and this is something other manufactures cannot replicate.

    I think Google should make more variants of Nexus devices, or else provide direct software support for other manufacturers. The manufactures could may pay Google for the support, and the devices wouldn’t have to be called Nexus.

    There was that AOSP experiment for that Sony phone though, so maybe there is some hope for something like this…

  • Chris

    I still prefer phones without LTE for exactly the reasons that Google explained. I’ve actually been saying exactly that to people since LTE came out.

  • Kaushal

    You should match the post title with the Yes/No options in the poll. My vote was incorrect because I quickly hit the “No” answer after reading the post title: Is the lack of 4G LTE a Nexus 4 dealbreaker; only to realize a second later that I hit the wrong option.

  • iamXiV92a

    I’m ok with it not having LTE – I’m on WiFi most of the time anyway (keeps me off my still “Unlimited” data plan) and I don’t have LTE in the area I live in TX anyway AND my battery will most likely last longer.

  • Daniel

    No LTE is fine. CDMA is going to be the dealbreaker.

  • Deon Davis

    As for CDMA, then you have to deal with carriers that won’t allow you to bring just any device onto their networks. Verizon has to certify and approve any phone on its network – 700MHz block C “open access” provisions be damned, because Verizon’s CDMA network basically nullifies those requirements. Sprint is the same. That then means these carriers don’t want you selling the hardware strings-free. They want to sell it with a contractual commitment. Then there’s the cost of carrier certification, and going through the carrier software update approval regime. And that’s if Verizon even wants a Nexus phone after its numerous PR boondoggles with the poor-selling Galaxy Nexus.

  • Nathan D.

    I have been using hspa+ 21mps and it is plenty fast for browsing and streaming videos and anything else. Although, I wish it had 42mps but I’m completely fine with current speed I have. Plus, I’m mostly on wifi anyways.




  • thejuiceman236

    I will buy day one. No LTE and all.

    Does is support T-Mobile’s 42Mbps HSPA+? It only mentions 21Mbps on the product page. But with T-Mobile being the premier carrier I would hope that it would.

  • Steve

    No LTE is a deal breaker for me.

  • David

    Haha. I’m an Android user all the way, but I have to say that releasing a flagship phone without LTE is downright embarrassing for Google and its fans.

    • David

      The design of the Nexus 10 is only slightly less embarrassing. At least 4.2 looks solid and the Nexus 7 continues to get even better.

      • David

        After watching the Verge’s video, I take back what I said about the Nexus 10 – it actually looks quite nice. Hopefully the Nexus 4 will come out with some modern cell radios later and make this a perfect release…

        • masterpfa

          How fickle you are, LMAO

          • David

            Ummm. Look at the photo and Google promo video in the Nexus 10 post on this website and combine that with shots leaked prior to today’s release. It looks atrocious. It looks good in that Verge video, which is the first instance I’ve seen it look good. Please, revisit your working definition of the word “fickle.”

    • https://plus.google.com/105652260730187717963/posts erik knudsen

      LTE is not standardized across the globe. It doesn’t make financial sense for them to put out a model for each and every LTE market worldwide.

      • David

        It exists in the largest smartphone market on the planet, however (the US). When I purchase a new gadget, I generally want it to be as future proof as possible. Therefore, no LTE is a dealbreaker for me, seeing as how I currently have a phone with LTE.

  • https://plus.google.com/105652260730187717963/posts erik knudsen

    TMobile confirmed the Nexus 4 to be HSPA+ 42mbps compatible.


    Who needs LTE when you can get a phone like this unlocked and no contract for only $350?

  • Mix

    How do we go about seeing if this will work with a certain provider?

    I’ve never owned an off contract phone and I am not sure what Bell Canada can or can not handle or allow.

  • cj100570

    The lack of 4G and the lack of more than 16GB of storage. Looks like my 32GB Verizon LTE having Galaxy Nexus will be replaced by a Galaxy Note II instead of a Nexus 4.

  • Ardrid

    Absolutely not a deal-breaker. I don’t have LTE coverage in my location and I can’t say I’d be hurting for download speeds on HSPA+. This will be my phone in November!

  • Streamerman

    I can smell manufacturer politics here. Google is motivated to get users buying content from the Play Store – a cheap, powerful device opens the door to those on the fence. Leaving out 4G leaves HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony et al. a market to push the premium 4G into. Why else would users choose to buy these premium flagship devices?

  • Max.Steel

    Who cares? HSPA+ is more than enough.

  • islander

    I am getting 4-5 mb/s down on my straight talk sim and my friend is pulling down 3-4 mbits down on her LTE Verizon device. I don’t feel like I’m missing a ton with the lack of LTE. Just gaining battery life/talk time

    • islander

      oh and I’m using ATT’s network…. my friends iphone is pulling down 7-8mbits on 3G

  • Hah

    Way to give Apple the LTE ammo right back to them. The goal is to move forward, not backward. How does a company as large as Google release a “flagship” phone that doesn’t work on the 1st and 3rd largest carriers in the US? No way this can compete with the GS3 or iPhone5. Sales will disappoint and they will be forced to re-work it with LTE, which they should have done from the start.

    • Kevs87

      in US maybe but global this phone is gonna be better because of the low price… LTE is scarce in the rest of the world… IP5 is like 3 times more expensive.

  • Scott

    I need to persuade my mom to get me to switch the Straight Talk after my contract is up with Sprint. Any good ideas that i can give her to say yes???

  • birdman

    I am on tmobile and 4mbps down and 1mbps up is plenty for me. Until 2 years ago I was on dsl with 3mbps down and I did fine!

    I can even tether my t-mobile hspda+ and play left 4 dead 2 just fine with no lag

  • DroidPower

    hspda+ is definitely plenty for regular use. idk of a user case where you need super fast internet connection on your phone.

  • johnny holland

    Big mistake, the bar had been set. 4g is now the standard. This was i phones biggest year yet because of the 4g. Need to know what your competition is doing. Major deal breaker, I didnt upgrade my phone because I was waiting for the new nexus, I’m going to get the gs3 now. Maybe they will get it right next year…

  • h0ruza

    I think the issues with the GNex wasn’t the fact it was an LTE phone. The issue was verizon selling the phone when they could have skipped carriers much like they are doing now and give consumers the choice.

    Google and Android need to hold one thing true and everything will fall into place.

    Give us the choice and freedom to have our phones the way we want them and we’ll be happy loyal Google nexus owners.

    Let the carriers sell every other phone with there bloatware and silly skins but leave the Nexus pure.

  • Kevs87

    Given the price i think is just perfect. My Gs2 still cost $400 on tmo w/o contract… so this w or w/o lte is just fine

  • walker

    Given the attractive pricing, I was expecting it to be priced at $449 at Australia for 16gb, but now that it’s officially confirmed at $399, you can’t get an unlocked phone at this price for any better.

    Since there are no pre-paid LTE networks in Australia yet, there’s no point in craving for Nexus 4 to support LTE… so I’d rather wait two so years down for the line before considering an LTE smartphone.

    Can’t wait to read its review. :3

  • orangestrat

    In canada, we have AWS LTE nearly everywhere on all three carriers, and only Rogers (AT&T evilness, Tmobile spottyness and Sprint slowness all rolled into one awful mess mess) has worthwhile LTE phones. An LTE nexus for canada would be awesome, but we’re a tiny market to waste that much effort on. I’m crushed that they couldn’t even try to do LTE, but it could be worse.

  • jian9007

    If you’re already on T-Mobile (like me) then it’s a no-brainer. We don’t have LTE up yet anyway so we’re missing nothing. The absolute earliest any cities will roll out LTE for T-Mobile will be next summer. By the time T-Mobile rolls out LTE, the next Nexus (and many other phones) will be here. So the day this phone is on sale, I’m purchasing it on the Play Store and will be enjoying timely updates, and the quad-core goodness of the S4 Pro and 8MP Sony BSI camera. I wish it was on sale right now. Two weeks is too far away!

  • zyphbear

    Honestly, I would have to say that being able to have faster speeds on the go is great so I don’t have to worry about buffering or other similar slowness when i want to use it, and disable LTE when I would prefer to save battery.
    But the other side effect is that the Nexus4 is now not available on Verizon at all. I had switched to Verizon (from T-Mobile due to lack of coverage), and I have been very happy with the choice I made. LTE is fantastic and since I had gotten a nice data plan, I don’t have to be concerned about if someone Invites me to a hangout when I’m not at home or if i want to Watch Netflix in my car while waiting for someone to finish up with an appointment or work. It allows me to decide how I want to use my device according to my needs instead of network congestion on HSPA+ dictating my usage (as it was on T-Mobile in my area.)
    I understand that the updates on my Verizon Galaxy Nexus have been delayed some due to updating the LTE software/firmware, but at least I can have my full Vanilla Google Experience on Verizon.

  • n25philly

    No, but the crap storage options definitely are

  • Oscar Ortega

    im perfectly fine with using hspa+ it provides with a decent amount of speed and i dont normally stream anything when im out traveling around.

  • sdude

    Am I right in thinking buying this unlocked would allow me to get the latest upgrades asap. That will help me make the choice whether to get it or not as my average download speed is 3mbps. Great phone great price but no LTE. Do you think that they will make one with it on later? Thanks

  • LVirus

    Yes it is a deal breaker. And it’s not only that, the fact that you can’t take out/upgrade battery or SD card are another deal breaker. These phones are becoming like iPhones, which is a damn shame!

  • Groinko

    Update: The Android Press site says the Nexus 4 supports HSPA+ 42 Mbps, and the Google Play Store listing has it listed at 21 Mbps.

    42 Mbps baby ;)
    From the french Google Play:

    GSM/UMTS/HSPA+ (déverrouillé)
    GSM/EDGE/GPRS (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
    3G (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz)
    HSPA+ 42

  • olc

    “T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network supports 42 Mbps modems, but the Nexus 4 will only support 4G HSPA+ 21 Mbps. This means customers on AT&T and T-Mobile will see similar performance, since both networks will support the same HSPA+ 21 Mbps speeds.”

    No, what it means is that you are wrong. The Nexus 4 does support HSPA+ 42. Mbps

  • kookeetree

    Seems silly nowadays not to have 4g LTE. Or is it only me?