What is LTE & how it works (2022 traveller’s guide) 

What is LTE & how it works (2022 traveller’s guide) 

We live in a world that instantly connected and there is nothing more satisfying than capturing that perfect Insta Moment and sharing it on social media. This is becoming increasingly possible through LTE which keeps travellers connected.

While fibre is the preferred, and fastest, way to connect to the internet, LTE extends this connectivity into the tows and tourist attractions that you are visiting. It also allows you to remain connected in rural areas.

What does LTE mean

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. 

LTE features 

There are a number of features that are associated with LTE, the most important of them are listed below.

  • LTE optimises audio and video streaming. LTE has faster download and upload speeds than 2G and 3G;
  • LTE enables real-time connection to services. With voice over LTE (VoLTE), users can talk to others without experiencing lag or jitter;
  • Users can experience even faster speeds with LTE-Advanced; and
  • LTE supports carrier aggregation.

LTE is the best way to plan your dream vacation using some of the worlds best travel apps.

History of LTE 

4G is the term for the fourth generation of cellular networks, succeeding 3G. Currently, 4G is the latest and the fastest generation of wireless mobile networks.

During the early 2000’s, there had been several talks and proposals for 4G. By that time, it came to a mutual decision that the next generation should be more of an “evolution” instead of a revolution as in the case of the previous cellular networks. That is why 4G is actually based on the previous 3G network, only enhanced with a new technology called Long Term Evolution or LTE.

The actual development of 4G began in 2004 when companies started working on what is called “Release 8” or “R8,” the first LTE technical specification. But it took a while before Release 8 was completed. Then the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the same entity that issued the W-CDMA for the 3G network, released the R8 for the 4G.

In 2009, Swedish telco company Telia Sonera (now Telia Company AB) became the first in the world to release 4G for commercial use, carried by devices from Ericsson (in Stockholm) and Huawei (in Oslo). On paper, Telia’s 4G service had data transmission speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps), about ten times faster than the speeds offered by 3G.

However, the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) specified that a true 4G should have speeds of up to 1 gigabits per second (Gbps) and the earliest LTE networks at the time only had speeds equivalent to pre-4G’s or late 3G’s. In 2009, 3GPP worked on the advanced form of the LTE, the LTE-A, and issued it as Release 10 or R10. They enhanced the LTE-A with some minor updates until 2013.

Russian telco firm YOTA announced that it had plans to launch commercial LTE-A in 2012, with Huawei as their equipment supplier. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that LTE-A compatible phones would become available. By the time of the launch, the maximum data transmission speed was 300Mbps, so it required more sources on the radio channels in order to arrive to the 1Gbps speed as specified by the ITU-R.

In 2010, Samsung launched the world’s first-ever LTE-enabled phone, the Samsung SCH-r900. The South Korean telco giant made big waves again in 2014 when it launched the world’s first-ever LTE-A phone, the Galaxy S5 Broadband LTE-A.

How LTE works 

LTE changes the current method of moving data to an internet protocol system. Rather than move small amounts of data, as both CDMA and GSM do, it will move large packets of data and streamline the service.

The major benefit to LTE is that in reduces the latency in data transfer. GSM uses technology called time delay duplex (TDD), while CDMA uses code division duplex (CDD). Both are a method of coding information for travel across airwaves. The advent of CDD proved to be faster, but the world operates on GSM technology. As such, GSM was improved to HSPA, or high speed packet access. Like LTE, it moves larger packets of information at a faster rate.

Benefits of LTE 

There are a few benefits associated with LTE.

It is portable. If you are a workaholic or travel junkie, you’ll see that a fixed internet solution is not much of a solution for your situation. LTE addresses this.

There are no Installation Costs associated with LTE, simply plug and play.

Compared with fibre; you’re more likely to find more areas are covered with a mobile network as LTE works with coverage from towers throughout the country.

LTE means that you will always be connected. Why not consider a travel sim card?

3G vs LTE (Key differences) 

First, the basics: The “G” stands for generation, meaning 4G is the most current generation of cell phone network coverage and speeds. 3G technology created the first networks fast enough to make smartphones practical. Before that, they were too slow to allow you do all the things that make smartphones great, like streaming videos, surfing the web and downloading music.

But it’s 4G that’s really allowed smartphone technology to spread its wings. That’s because it’s much, much faster than 3G. So when you want to download a new game or stream a TV show in HD, you can do it without buffering and lags that make the experience not worth the wait.

4G is pretty much everywhere now, but even if you happen to be in a place that only has 3G, your phone will automatically switch to 3G so you’ll experience no call problems—just slower Internet speeds.

Is LTE the same as 4G?

The simple answer to this is that there is a difference.

The difference between 4G and LTE is that 4G is faster than LTE. The reason for this is that 4G meets the technical standards designated for it whereas LTE data transfer speed standard is merely a stopgap measure standard devised until actual 4G speed is realized.

Can the average consumer tell the difference between 4G and LTE? In most cases, the download speed is comparable unless you reside in a major city. As cellular carriers continue to update their LTE networks, they have closed the gap between LTE and “real 4G”. This is especially true with LTE-A, which is currently the fastest option available.

LTE vs 5G (4 Key differences) 

Download SpeedsSpeed of around 1 to 20 GbpsRange of 50 to 100 Mbps
LatencyLess than 10 millisecondsAround 50 milliseconds
Data RateAbout 10 GbpsDownlink of 300 Mbps, Uplink of 75 Mbps
Number of Connected Devices on the networkIt can support 1 million devices per square kilometreIt can support 250 devices per sector.

How popular is LTE in the world  

LTE is a success worldwide, with 6.6 billion subscriptions connecting two-thirds of mobile users globally, according to the Global mobile Suppliers’ Associations (GSA – January 2022 report).

Research shows that 791 telecom operators are running LTE networks in 240 countries and territories across the globe.

Make sure that you know where are some of the best cities in the world to travel to this summer.

What is private LTE 

Private LTE is a network that is run specifically for the benefit of an organization, such as a utility, factory or police department. Only authorized users of that organization have access to the network. The organization decides where there will be coverage, how the network will perform, who has access and priority.

What is voice LTE 

Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) is an LTE high-speed wireless communication standard for mobile phones and data terminals, including Internet of things devices and wearables.

VoLTE has up to three times more voice and data capacity than older 3G UMTS and up to six times more than 2G GSM.

LTE frequency bands  

The frequency band of LTE is Up to 6 GHz.

The frequency band of 5G is 30 GHz to 300 GHz.

How fast is LTE 

The speed of LTE range from 50 to 100 Mbps.

LTE and the Internet of Things 

IoT-friendly LTE chipsets are the foundation for the new wave of LTE device development and the best solutions are flexible, efficient, and low cost. There are LTE chipsets and modules available today that have been designed for exactly this. Highly optimized for M2M and IoT devices, these new solutions provide all the features and functionality required to build robust, long-life LTE devices for numerous applications at a low cost. Features include a small footprint, ultra low power consumption, a mature and customizable software suite, and “drop-in” simplicity for ease-of-integration, necessary for the many non-traditional device-makers without wireless expertise. Overall, single-mode LTE chipsets and modules offer an ideal balance of feature functionality and cost for a price to performance ratio that solidifies the business case for many types of devices.

The rate at which LTE is being adopted for IoT devices is astounding. We are already seeing LTE embedded in utility meters, automobiles, health monitoring devices, security cameras, and public safety systems, and new applications are being invented and deployed almost daily. It is clear that LTE is the future of the IoT, so, to be future-proof, IoT devices, which in many cases will be in the field for ten years or more, must be LTE.

Phones that support LTE 

Most modern mobile phones (which are smart phones) are LTE enabled. This is the main way which your mobile carrier transfers data such as calls, messages as well as the uploading and downloading of data.


  • How do I access LTE?
    LTE is accessed through mobile phone towers that are prevelant in any country that you visit.
  • Do I pay extra for LTE?

No, LTE is simply the generational development of the technology that mobile operaters use to make calls, send messages, access social media as well as download and upload data.

  • Is LTE better than 3G?

LTE is often refered to as 4G which is the fourch generational development of mobile networks. LTE is significantly better than 3G

  • Is LTE better than 5G?

5G is the next generational development of mobile networks and is significantly better than LTE.

  • Will I experience connectivity issues with LTE?

LTE is currently the most advanced generational development in most countries and is known for its stability.