LTE Meaning: Understanding What’s In Your Cell Phone


When purchasing a cell phone, there are many acronyms you might encounter that can complicate the process.

LTE is one such acronym that seems to be everywhere these days. LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution. This is a standard for mobile data technology introduced by the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R).

In this article, we discuss LTE in greater depth, clearing up some common confusions regarding the term.

Towards the end of the article, we offer our final thoughts regarding the future of mobile data technology.

What Is The History Of LTE?        

In order to understand the meaning of LTE, you must first have a sense of its origins.

As basic cell phones evolved into the smart phones they are today, the network technology to support them has also had to evolve.

LTE on phone

The 2G network technology that allowed initial smart phones to connect to the internet no longer supports most modern smart phones. Many modern smart phones offer features that weren’t even available when 2G technology was first introduced. The “G” here refers to generation.

The ITU-R sets the standards for each generation of network technology. These generational distinctions allow companies to market their products more accurately, providing a common lingo that customers and sellers can use to communicate information.

Thus, if you have a cell phone that runs on a 3G network, you can be assured that it will operate faster and more efficiently than an identical cell phone operating on a 2G network. 2G networks support basic data transfer but are ineffective at handing HTML webpages, videos, and music.

Smart phones have really experienced a dramatic evolution in the last 10 years, and the ITU-R responded by creating the requirements for a 4G network in 2008. However, these standards were unreachable by most networks, as they entailed speeds that most service providers could not deliver.

Consequently, the ITU-R backed off a bit and created the LTE standards. These are not as stringent as the 4G standards. Yet, because they offer significant improvements over 3G networks, the ITU-R has allowed companies to market their service as 4G-LTE if it meets these new LTE standards.

To avoid any confusion, the ITU-R now uses the term “True 4G” to refer to a network that meets the initial 4G standards introduced in 2008.

Why Should I Care About LTE?

When purchasing a cell-phone in store, you typically have to go through a sales associate. Stores set up the customer experience in this way in order to maximize their profits. This prevents grab-and-go customers from walking into the store and only purchasing the most basic product or service.

Yet, these sales associates are sly individuals that can manipulate customers by using technical jargon. This alienates some customers and forces them to rely on the recommendations of the sales associate. As a customer, you never want to be in this position, as the sales associate likely does not have your best interests in mind. It’s your money that you’re spending, so you should be making the decisions, not the sales associate.

One way you can avoid losing control of this interaction is by learning the acronyms that are popularly used by the sales associate, like LTE. Many sales associates will try to sell you a particular phone by claiming its 4G-LTE compatible. If you understand the underlying terms, you will be able to recognize these tactics and label them as such.

LTE is a very general term that doesn’t convey many details about the service you are receiving. If you hear this term, you should inquire into the precise data speeds that the service will deliver. Some customers even like to use the term to show the sales associate that they are knowledgeable. This usually prevents the associate from being too pushy or manipulative, as they will realize they are dealing with an empowered customer.

Most importantly, some customers might not even need a phone that connects to a 4G-LTE service. Understanding this term will help these customers avoid purchasing an inappropriate cell phone plan. Many sales associates are trained to simply market whatever technology is currently trending. It’s rare that you can rely on their expertise or recommendations.

LTE uses

Thus, before you even purchase a cell phone, reflecting on your network needs would be beneficial to prevent regret later on. Some people can afford a 4G-LTE compatible phone but can’t afford the monthly 4G-LTE network, as this can be quite expensive.

What Are Some Tips For Better Understanding Your Cell Phone?

As you can tell, understanding your cell phone is important in order to get the biggest bang for your buck. Some customers spend thousands of dollars per year on the latest technology but never fully maximize its usage.

Online Research

One way to better understand your cell phone is to do research online. The internet is a great source of information on any technological topic. There are many detailed reviews of various cell phone models that customers can read. Many customers read these before purchasing a cell phone, but we recommend reading these reviews after purchasing one as well.

This will allow you to engage in a guided exploration of your new smart phone. This will offer a gentle introduction to all of your cell phone’s features which can often seem overly abstract when marketed by the company. Many reviews are much more down-to-earth and simplify technical jargon that can be alienating.

Some of the best reviews will even offer videos that show the user interacting with the product. Some people learn better in this visual way. YouTube would a great resource in this regard.

Feedback From Peers

When it comes to understanding more abstract concepts like the meaning of LTE, we recommend talking to friends or family members that understand networks and computers on a deeper level.

As we mentioned above, sales associates are not reliable sources of information when they are actively selling a product. If you can shatter this façade, then you might be able to trust the information they provide. Some of the best sales associates understand their industry so deeply that the information they provide is reliable even when they are aggressively selling.

Overall, we think it’s important to remember that understanding technology is no walk in the park. Modern cell phones are complicated machines that have benefited from years of development. It can be difficult for any generation to understand how they work, whether that’s millennials or older generations.

Our Thoughts On The Meaning Of LTE

We think it’s important to understand the meaning of LTE in order to empower yourself when interacting with sales associates.

Understanding The Meaning

Furthermore, understanding the meaning of LTE will also allow you to choose a 4G-LTE compatible phone and service. This will provide you with the most seamless user experience possible, as streaming content, playing games, and using VoIP technology will be lightning fast.

4G LTE Evolution

When it comes to understanding your cell phone on an even deeper level, we think at a certain level, users will experience diminishing returns.

We think part of the allure of cell phones is the enigma they represent. It’s truly baffling that a device so small can be this powerful. Sometimes it’s best to remain ignorant with regards to its inner workings, as this can create room for appreciation and awe.

Learning The Lingo

In fact, we think a case could be made for staying as ignorant as possible when it comes to cell phone technology. This doesn’t mean you have to shun these devices. Instead, it merely means you don’t stress about staying up to date on the latest lingo used in the industry.

Some people take this approach because they realize that companies will perennially invent new terms and concepts in order to alienate customers. This allows these companies to remain in control, thus allowing them to maximize their profits each year. Thus, it seems that no matter how much effort you make to learn these new terms and concepts, you’re still playing by the cell phone’s companies rules.

Some people even think that companies purposely introduce complicated concepts in order to generate controversy and attention. These companies think that any kind of media exposure is good exposure, and in a sense, this is true.

Really, the only way to combat this technique is to not indulge the lingo. This is why some customers try to distance themselves from the body of knowledge surrounding cell phone technology.

The Future Of Cell Phones And Networks 

mobile apps

We think cell phones in the future will no longer be distinguished by the speed of their network. Instead, each region of the world will be so developed that internet connectivity will be taken for granted.

Every user will experience revolutionary speeds, as future devices will likely necessitate it. While current devices might be able to get away with compromised network speeds at times, future devices might not have the luxury to be occasionally inadequate.

Just imagine a future flying taxi, for example, that relied upon an internet connection to self-drive to pick up a client. Slow internet speeds mid-flight would certainly not be ideal, as this could result in profound danger.

Thus, we think the standards for network technology will be radically different in the future in order to fulfill the needs of revolutionary new products.

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Digital Poet at BurnWorld Inc.

I am the Team Leader here at BurnWorld. I am an audio/video enthusiast and have been in this industry for over 10 years. I love testing DVD/Blu-Ray and Video software.

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