4G LTE is for the geeks, half of U.S. consumers feel like they don't need it

4G LTE is for the geeks, half of U.S. consumers feel like they don't need it
4G LTE – we hear this resounding abbreviation all the time, which should come as no surprise as it is the most advanced kind of mobile broadband that a subscriber can get nowadays. It is offered by Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, with T-Mobile expected to join the fun next year. Yet in the real world, what fraction of all cell phone users demand having 4G LTE service?

The answer to that question might surprise you. According to a research conducted by Piper Jaffray, almost half of U.S. mobile subscribers do not feel like they need 4G connectivity. That includes all popular kinds of 4G we know, namely LTE, HSPA+, and WiMAX. In addition, the study shows that more than a quarter of mobile phone users do not see any difference between the 4G flavors that are currently operational. Only 15% of all 3000 respondents are convinced that 4G LTE is the best kind of 4G available today.

As a side note, the same people were also asked whether they were planning on purchasing the next iPhone, which will presumably have LTE connectivity. 55% of all respondents admitted they were considering getting Apple's next smartphone, and 44% of them prefer to get it from Verizon. AT&T and Sprint were preferred by 29% and 14% respectively, while 13% would get the iPhone 5 from T-Mobile, in case the carrier releases it.

So it seems like 4G LTE is just for the smartphone geeks like us, and the average Joe still doesn't care about high-speed mobile internet, or at least not yet. Things are bound to change over time, however, especially since smartphones are gradually eating into the market share of feature phones. What is your opinion on the matter? Is 4G LTE now a must when buying a new smartphone? 

source: Piper Jaffray via BGR



1. wendygarett unregistered

Because half of it is using iPhone silly :D

2. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

lol I was going to say that! Man you beat me to it!!!!!!! You know what, they say that because they haven't used it. Once they have used 4G LTE they will NEVER go back. 4G LTE literally runs circles around 3G, like a Ducati compared to bicycle. & I am being 100% literal, it's that blatant. +1 AGAIN!!!!!

9. wendygarett unregistered

My country doesn't have lte either... 4g is better but I'm satisfied my current 3g data so I'm afraid I will be that half Unless 4g lte is cheaper than 3g :) Anyway +1

12. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

You know what wendygarett, you will have 4G LTE because that is where technology is going. 2G is about to go extinct real soon & once voice is handled though 4G LTE that will be the final nail in the 3G coffin. So don't worry once you get a taste of 4G LTE you will be hooked & will never go back.

16. vmoizinho

Posts: 10; Member since: Sep 08, 2011

Simple like that, SuperAndroidEvo. LTE is a huge slice of AWESOMENESS. After try it out in my Gnex I had to switch some things at home. Starting w/ a gorgeous and lightining Sky 4G LTE home router... *_*

22. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Nice that really is awesome. Good for you!

37. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

ive tasted it, and i could care less. Once they are all on it, sure fine.. but im not going out of my way to get it. I'm happy with my 3g as well. GSM 3g is 7.2mbs. Better than my crap ass home connection by a factor of 4 lol. My wife's 4g phone hotspots us between up to 14mb/s. Once I do finally break down and upgrade, I'll be running at 42mb/s... way more than I'll need any time soon. HSPA+ still gets better battery life compared to LTE most of the time and it has a much faster fall back. 42mb/s falling back to 7.2 vs LTE's 40-50mb/s falling back to 1.5 on VZW. And its still way cheaper. :)

56. iCandy

Posts: 46; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

You of all commentors must realize the 7.2mbs and 42mbs you refer to are theoretical maximums and not actuals. Though the 4G technologies may provide lower theoreticals, their greater efficiences and capacity routinely demonstrate higher actual throughputs. But at the end of the day, its not throughput that wins the battle for most of us, but the age old bogeymen of coverage and capacity. 4G is able to service more users from a given tower, and it appears Verizon and AT&T currently, or in the near future, will provide significantly better coverage for data via their networks in the US than T-Mobile. Here's hoping T-Mobile and Sprint make great efforts to refarm and bring LTE to us all soon so the cost of 4G service becomes very competitive.

57. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

HSPA+ 42/84 is actually more spectrum efficient than the current LTE technology being deployed by VZW/ATT. LTE's spectrum advancements dont come into play until LTE-Advanced which is the NEXT generation of LTE.. that 100mb/s+ speed we used to hear about. Tmobile and Sprint will be in the game by next year. Sprint is already doing testing roll outs. Tmobile promised 2013 to be the year of LTE-10.. which is faster than VZW/ATT's LTE and a minor upgrade basically to LTE-A when it becomes viable. Next year TMobile will have the fastest LTE and the fastest HSPA+ to back it up for less than every other major carrier. Right now TMobile's HSPA+ has been tested nationally to be 2nd only to VZW and only by a few mb/s on the average.

60. jenna_23

Posts: 145; Member since: Apr 02, 2010

I agree with you on hspa+ having better life haha i hate and i mean i hate how crappy battery life is on my at&t xperia ion and galaxy note when i have LTE turned on both of them its ridiculous that i only make like 5 phone calls send a few texts and check my fb like twice and that drains more than half of my battery at first i tought it was the batteries on the phones that didnt work. But i turned off LTE and forced both phones to 3G hspa+ only and now the battery lasts all day long with heavy use on one single charge on both phones. Besides at&ts 3G hspa is not that bad sure it may not be as fast as t-mobiles hspa but way faster than verizons 3G evdo i feel bad for verizon customers who go out of a 4G area to a 3G area it must be a letdown after getting 40 mbps they go down to 1.5 like u said. Me on atts LTE also get up to 40 but on 3G j get 10-12 so its not that bad.

66. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

You need cable broadband at your house man. I get 50/8 at home. Got 2 pc's, 5 laptops, 4 smartphones, 3 game consoles and 1 tv all running off it without a hitch. And that's not even a high tier plan. Cable gives really good speed for a good price. You're in Fla. right? Is that Brighthouse or Cox or Comcast in your area?

63. thelegend6657 unregistered

Wendy you do know that the Malaysian goverment have issued license to several operators to have LTE so it's comming year end of next year right ?


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

Damn-iT Wendy, I was going to say that! Might I add that, 'they don't need it' response only justifies their stuck-on outdated 3G iPhone. Besides, 'they don't need it' because "they do everything on iWiFi", hence, they can all be found at iStarbucks.

8. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

PAPINYC, I know what you mean. I go to an iStarbucks to get a frapacchino & when I bust out my GNex & don't have to ask for a Wi-Fi signal because my 4G LTE is so boss, I constantly get the evil eye. lol


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

I know that EViL EyE all too well, that's why iStay out of iStarbucks (or I bring an iPhone just to blend in). My favorite is when I'm watching flash video content on my XOOM and the person (or group, cuz' they're always in a group; like when they're in the field) at the next table is just ALWAYS reading, then looks at me; looks at their iPad; looks at me again; looks at their iPad; looks at me again (but, this time, pretends not to be looking at me); looks at their iPad again; and, this just goes on and on until closing. I do feel genuinely sorry for them [always].

19. Phullofphil

Posts: 1822; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

What kind of Starbucks do you go to. Every time I go nobody cares what I use. That is rediculas. When your streaming YouTube and you don't have to wait to let the video load befor you can watch it is great. But like I seas lots of time before you can have 10g with 5gb per second download(just giving example) and it comes down to the plead speed of the server sending you the info. There are a lot of sites that it won't realy matter. Having said that even though LTE and other 4g sucks the battery fast I still feel that it is needed for no reason but not only does it have a lot faster experience for the most part but it is capable to get faster in the cuter where 3G is at its max almost. But another reason is especially LTE that it has a bigger band width and can handle more people on same tower and you will not get those constraint speeds that you find in congested areas and it will get more noticeable in the future. Your LTE phone will also be able to handle future upgrades making your phone last longer befor needing rlacement.


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

huh?!? (Confused look on my face :o)

43. moofoodooloo

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 04, 2011

HIGHLY doubt people are looking at you in envy because you are watching flash on your Xoom. Having both an iPad and a Galaxy 10.1, I've honestly never come across a time where I couldn't do something because I don't have flash on my iPad. Fandroids are blowing the lack of flash on iOS WAY out of porportion.

58. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

like everything, it depends how you use it. I use flash on my tablet quite often.

26. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Man that is funny, I love that you need to carry an iPhone just so you can be accepted into your local iStarbucks. lol People at iStarbucks get real mad when I use my 4G LTE GNex as a mobile hotspot & bust out my Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean Asus Transformer Prime. TALK ABOUT THE EVIL EYE & EVIL SIGH! lol


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

You GO BOY! ;)

29. moofoodooloo

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 04, 2011

Quit being so self absorbed. I HARDLY believe anyone cares what it is you're doing on your tablet. Get over yourself.

31. moofoodooloo

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 04, 2011

I wouldn't set foot in a Starbucks if it's just gomers drinking $5 coffee and showing off their devices, Apple or not. WHO CARES if you're using an Asus or an iPad! There isn't one product that works perfectly universally for everyone.

34. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

yeah those guys are making themselves look stupid on this site... knowing damn well no one in starbucks gives a damn what device they use... smh unless all this talk is sarcasm for trolling pleasures...lol

51. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yeah I think it should be VERY obvious that PAPINYC & I are just having some silly fun. I really don't think people at Starbucks care if we have Androids or not. If they do then they are VERY shallow people. We were joking to all who really couldn't tell. lol Not directed to you good2great, you did see the sarcasm even though it was more for fun than trolling.

67. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

AT&T offers free hotspots at all Starbucks in my area in NY. Verizon doesn't do that?

50. JGuinan007

Posts: 699; Member since: May 19, 2011

I like to go to Starbucks and use Wifi Kill and knock out anyone that is using an I product it's funny to hear them brag about there Iproduct then get upset that they can't connect to WiFi

52. moofoodooloo

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 04, 2011

Are you serious? You have nothing better to do with your time?

64. thelegend6657 unregistered

But in Starbucks malaysia , I see only 2 brand of mobile device here , Samsung or apple . Anything else people look like you like you are not cool or a freak

48. ZayZay

Posts: 571; Member since: Feb 26, 2011

This study is conducted by apple so when they fail at putting LTE in the new phone, they can justify it! Apple "see people don't need it, seeee!"

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