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LTE worth it?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My cellphone contract is about to expire, so I was thinking about going LTE. However, many factors are making me think twice:

1) LTE data plans cost $10/month more than standard data plans. They do come with more data (unlimited plans don't exist here - the carriers don't even pretend they do), but I've never even gotten close to the cap.
2) The standard data plan is HSPA+ 42 mbps. As I understand, LTE isn't that much faster, but I'm expecting LTE cellphone radios won't be the bottleneck the way HSPA+ cellphone radios have been - when I got my current phone back in 2009, HSPA+ 21.1 was already available, but neither the iPhone nor the handful of Android phones back then fully supported it. Then again, I've never noticed that 3G was any slower than wi-fi, even on my ancient 7.2 mbps radio...
3) The LTE phone selection is still very limited. There's a handful of models per carrier, most of which are the same flagship phones like the SGS II LTE Edition. On the other hand, there's dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of HSPA+ phones.

Have I overlooked any major aspects of LTE that would make it a lot more competitive vs HSPA+?
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post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peon View Post

My cellphone contract is about to expire, so I was thinking about going LTE. However, many factors are making me think twice:
1) LTE data plans cost $10/month more than standard data plans. They do come with more data (unlimited plans don't exist here - the carriers don't even pretend they do), but I've never even gotten close to the cap.
2) The standard data plan is HSPA+ 42 mbps. As I understand, LTE isn't that much faster, but I'm expecting LTE cellphone radios won't be the bottleneck the way HSPA+ cellphone radios have been - when I got my current phone back in 2009, HSPA+ 21.1 was already available, but neither the iPhone nor the handful of Android phones back then fully supported it. Then again, I've never noticed that 3G was any slower than wi-fi, even on my ancient 7.2 mbps radio...
3) The LTE phone selection is still very limited. There's a handful of models per carrier, most of which are the same flagship phones like the SGS II LTE Edition. On the other hand, there's dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of HSPA+ phones.
Have I overlooked any major aspects of LTE that would make it a lot more competitive vs HSPA+?

At the apple ipad event this week they showed side by side comparisons of HSPA+ vs LTE. It's astonishingly faster. I think it mostly depends on how much you intend to use the data side. If you do a lot of browsing on your device LTE may well be worth it, especially if you are regularly streaming video or anything like that. Otherwise it may not be worth it for you. thumb.gif
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post #3 of 10
I have LTE with my Galaxy Nexus and it's awesome. I will sometime stream 720p youtube videos while on my way home from work. Navigation is really fast, finding places on Google Maps and search is fast when I'm in a pinch to get some info. It is really quite nice.

Lucky for me, the 2 places I go to the most have excellent LTE coverage, my home and my office.
post #4 of 10
LTE is worth it if you have good service in your area and plan on using a lot of data. Otherwise, if you have HSPA+, you really don't need it.
post #5 of 10
LTE is infinitely times better HSPA+. HSPA+ is glorified 3G, especially with the pings it gets...it's def worth it for the extra cost and battery life.

LTE definitely makes using your phone less of a chore, so it opens up the door for a lot more things. You no longer have to wait to get back home to your wifi if you want to download something relatively big...browsing the web is remarkably fast. If you're concerned with battery life, you can always turn it off or get Juice Defender or something. Besides, I think you can make the argument that LTE actually gets you better battery life because it will take you much less time to get what you want with less screen on time (assuming you turn off the radio when not in use). The ratio of Mbps to battery drain is higher for LTE than any other "4G" or 3G network.
Edited by quentin - 3/9/12 at 11:59pm
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peon View Post

My cellphone contract is about to expire, so I was thinking about going LTE. However, many factors are making me think twice:
1) LTE data plans cost $10/month more than standard data plans. They do come with more data (unlimited plans don't exist here - the carriers don't even pretend they do), but I've never even gotten close to the cap.
2) The standard data plan is HSPA+ 42 mbps. As I understand, LTE isn't that much faster, but I'm expecting LTE cellphone radios won't be the bottleneck the way HSPA+ cellphone radios have been - when I got my current phone back in 2009, HSPA+ 21.1 was already available, but neither the iPhone nor the handful of Android phones back then fully supported it. Then again, I've never noticed that 3G was any slower than wi-fi, even on my ancient 7.2 mbps radio...
3) The LTE phone selection is still very limited. There's a handful of models per carrier, most of which are the same flagship phones like the SGS II LTE Edition. On the other hand, there's dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of HSPA+ phones.
Have I overlooked any major aspects of LTE that would make it a lot more competitive vs HSPA+?

There's a huge difference between theoretical speed and actual speed. You'll never see anywhere near 42mbps HSPA+. LTE on the other hand.. you'll easily get 10mbps+, even on a bad day.

Not to mention the huge latency advantage LTE has over HSPA+ biggrin.gif
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post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peon View Post

My cellphone contract is about to expire, so I was thinking about going LTE. However, many factors are making me think twice:
1) LTE data plans cost $10/month more than standard data plans. They do come with more data (unlimited plans don't exist here - the carriers don't even pretend they do), but I've never even gotten close to the cap.
2) The standard data plan is HSPA+ 42 mbps. As I understand, LTE isn't that much faster, but I'm expecting LTE cellphone radios won't be the bottleneck the way HSPA+ cellphone radios have been - when I got my current phone back in 2009, HSPA+ 21.1 was already available, but neither the iPhone nor the handful of Android phones back then fully supported it. Then again, I've never noticed that 3G was any slower than wi-fi, even on my ancient 7.2 mbps radio...
3) The LTE phone selection is still very limited. There's a handful of models per carrier, most of which are the same flagship phones like the SGS II LTE Edition. On the other hand, there's dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of HSPA+ phones.
Have I overlooked any major aspects of LTE that would make it a lot more competitive vs HSPA+?

1) The extra cost of LTE is worth it if alone just for the speed increase. That extra data will come to good use with the faster speed.
2) If the carrier has a reliable and widespread LTE trust me it is MUCH faster than HPSA+. Theoretically HPSA+ is capped at 42Mbs while LTE is capped at 100Mbs while Extended LTE is capped if I am not mistaken at 1000Mbs. Currently more phones support HPSA+ only compared to LTE. This means that HPSA+ will result in slower speeds than typical since the majority of the carrier's customers are still on the HPSA+ network for data compared to the LTE.
3) This is true. In my opinion if you do not like any of the phones that offer LTE in your country, then LTE is not worth it. I switched from AT&T (iPhone 4S HPSA+ network) to Verizon for the Galaxy Nexus (LTE). The phone sucked so badly mainly due to the horrible antenna that Samsung designed. I returned it and got the HTC Rezound instead. While the signal was far better than the Nexus, I still missed my iPhone 4S so I ended up selling the Rezound and purchased an iPhone 4S (full price) for Verizon.

Summarize everything here
1) LTE Consumes more battery than HPSA+ devices (The majority of the Android phones have horrible battery life with LTE. Apparently the new iPad's battery life will not be affected from the transition from 3G to LTE so we may see improvement within the next year)
2) Faster speed means data is consumed much faster. Therefore you will need more data.
3) As you said limited phones that support LTE. (If I am not mistaken they are all Android devices)
4) LTE is useless if you travel a lot and your carrier has a limited LTE market. (In America Verizon is worth it for LTE but AT&T not really due to the smaller market)

In my opinion, you may be better of waiting a little longer. If you like Apple devices then wait for the iPhone 6 (90% chance that it will have LTE). Even if you want Android I think you are better off waiting. HTC are releasing some of their new phones soon. It's only 5-6 months away from the fall and I can guarantee you that the next generation of phones will have the whole LTE battery issue solved.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by eikast View Post

...
1) LTE Consumes more battery than HPSA+ devices (The majority of the Android phones have horrible battery life with LTE. Apparently the new iPad's battery life will not be affected from the transition from 3G to LTE so we may see improvement within the next year)...
In my opinion, you may be better of waiting a little longer. If you like Apple devices then wait for the iPhone 6 (90% chance that it will have LTE).... It's only 5-6 months away from the fall and I can guarantee you that the next generation of phones will have the whole LTE battery issue solved.

Where are you getting these facts from? You have no idea what you are talking about, there hasn't been any evidence to support the fact that Apple will be able to solve "the battery life issue" with LTE any faster than Android manufacturers. The only reason why the iPad has LTE this time around is because Apple was able to shrink the internals and throw tons of battery at it. That's why it has a 45Whr battery, is thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. Do you think they will be able to do that with the iPhone? Until LTE is native to the SoC, the iPhone likely will not get LTE. When that does happen, Android phones will be able to take advantage of that as well.
post #9 of 10
What carrier do you have that they charge extra for LTE?

Almost all new phones have LTE now so I would rather not go with an older phone. I've never used HSPA+ but say you get between 3-5Mbps, that's PLENTY fast for a cell phone and it won't kill your battery like crazy which LTE does. I have Verizon and their 3G network it really slow because it's EVDO Rev. A so I really enjoy their 4G LTE network in comparison to their slow 3G network.
    
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post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by eikast View Post


1) LTE Consumes more battery than HPSA+ devices (The majority of the Android phones have horrible battery life with LTE. Apparently the new iPad's battery life will not be affected from the transition from 3G to LTE so we may see improvement within the next year)
2) Faster speed means data is consumed much faster. Therefore you will need more data.

1) By saying "majority of the Android phones", you mean the Verizon LTE phones. Verizon LTE phones require both CDMA and LTE radios to be powered on simultaneously. AT&T LTE phones with circuit switched fall back (CSFB) consume way less battery by letting the 3G radio stay dormant until a call is received.

2) Faster speed does not mean you're going to consume more data. If your browsing habits don't change, you're not going to suddenly consume more data.
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