By Joe Levi | August 2, 2013 1:02 PM
Google’s Nexus 4 is essentially an LG Optimus G, which has LTE support — so why don’t we? In short, Google disabled it. But we’re Android Power Users, aren’t we? Yes, we are! Here’s how to get LTE on your Nexus 4.
First up, some disclaimers. This information has been around for a little while and some of you may say that it’s “old news”. That’s partially true. Although the radio in the Nexus 4 has support for LTE, it doesn’t have the certification and some hardware optimizations that are needed to implement it fully. Originally, you could simply make a few changes and get LTE to work for a little while — but it would revert back eventually. Then Google pushed an update that disabled this work-around.
Before too long, various methods to restore LTE were released, but they all had one problem: voice calls stopped working properly. A fix came out for that, too. Then, Amit Biswas shared a tip with me in the Pocketnow Forums. The information he pointed me to worked great — until Android 4.3 broke it. Hence the delay in sharing this information with you.
Now, the “All-In-One” (AIO) that Amit originally shared has been updated with some “hybrid magic” that includes support for Android 4.3 as well. After all that, LTE on the Nexus 4 is finally easy enough and stable enough that I’m comfortable sharing it with you!
- Flashing firmware comes with inherent risk. Flashing incorrectly, flashing a file that may have gotten corrupted during downloading, etc. may cause serious damage to your device. By continuing you assume these risks.
- Next your Nexus 4 will need to be rooted. If you’re not already rooted, use your favorite method to do so, then come back to these instructions.
- Next you’ll need to download the “all-in-one” package with the radio that you prefer. I’d suggest you grab both so you can test which one works best for you.
- Boot up into recovery mode.
- Navigate to and flash the .ZIP with the radio you want to try out, then reboot.
- Go to Settings, Wireless & Networks More, Mobile networks, and change your network mode to “LTE /GSM/WCDMA” (if you don’t see that option, go to your dialer and key in *#*#4636#*#*, tap WCDMA under “Set preferred network type”, then select “LTE/GSM/CDMA auto (PRL)”).
- Go to Settings, Wireless & Networks More, Mobile Networks, Access Point Names, and make sure you have an entry with fast.t-mobile.com and that it is selected (if not, create one).
- Test your new LTE speeds. Note the results, then go back to Step 4 and flash the other radio. Use whichever one gives you the best results.
Is is worth it?
Most of the time I’ll get around 8Mbps up and down. That’s about double what I’d get over HSPA+ download speeds, and 16 times faster than my upload speeds. In the video you can see I’m getting around 12Mbps up and 8Mbps down easily. At night, when usage is lower, I’ve gotten above 30Mbps down and 15Mbps up. That’s worth it right there!
Additionally, I attend quite a few City Council meetings. City Hall is built with a lot of metal framing and my data speeds are horrible, if they exist at all. Thankfully, since T-Mobile’s LTE uses a different frequency, the signal punched right through and I was able to get 6Mbps up/down on 2-3 bars. Again, very worth it!
T-Mobile doesn’t have LTE everywhere yet, and in those cases I fall back gracefully to HSPA+, HSPA, and finally to EDGE. If you’re a T-Mobile customer with a Nexus 4 and are already rooted (or don’t mind rooting), getting LTE doesn’t get much easier than this!