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What is LTE?

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What is LTE?
How to check whether you are surfing the LTE network

LTE has established itself as a cellular standard with high speeds. We explain here what LTE actually is..

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Image: <span> Shutterstock / Juan Aunion </span>

LTE is the abbreviation for Long Term Evolutio n. Behind it stands the fourth generation of mobile communications - which is why 4G is also a common name. LTE was introduced in Germany in 2010 as the successor to UMTS (3G) and has since established itself as the standard for mobile Internet. In this article, you can find out what properties LTE has and how you can check whether you can use LTE.

What is LTE?

LTE the standard for cellular communications in the fourth generation. The technology was developed as the successor to UMTS in order to guarantee faster internet for smartphone users. When making calls, LTE also ensures improved reception as so-called Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE for short). Nowadays you can use it to make mobile phone calls without any problems using applications such as WhatsApp or Skype. LTE is now the standard and has long since replaced 3G. The successor is also in the starting blocks. The expansion of the fifth generation of the cell phone network began in 2019.

We come to the technical data: The abbreviation LTE stands for the English expression Long Term Evolution - in German something like "long-term development". This term can also be taken literally. In fact, the LTE network is constantly being developed and expanded. This also explains the repeatedly adjusted maximum possible transmission rates . You can now download files with LTE at up to 1200 megabits per second. This is a big step compared to older standards like 3G or 2G. The LTE network can now be used in 95% of German households. Due to the constant expansion since 2010, Germany is providing ever more extensive network coverage. The shutdown of UMTS by summer 2021 will also play its part..

In order to further expand its 4G and 5G networks, Telekom is gradually converting its 3G radio masts to the newer fourth or fifth generation standards. This is particularly noticeable for users of older cell phones. The network quality is slowly but surely deteriorating. Therefore, you should use a smartphone with LTE in a future-proof manner. But how do you even check whether your smartphone is surfing the LTE network? Everything about this in the next section.

How to check whether you are surfing the LTE network

You can tell whether you are using LTE at the top of your smartphone's screen. If the LTE network is available, a corresponding icon is displayed in the status bar - provided you are not connected to the WLAN and mobile data is activated. You can then recognize the LTE network by a symbol. Depending on the provider and software, it says: LTE, LTE +, 4G, 4G +..

An icon is displayed in the status bar as soon as the LTE network is available. This is a great way to ensure that you have fast mobile internet on the go.

If you do not see the LTE symbol, there can be several reasons:

  • Your cell phone does not support the cellular standard. This is largely due to the age of the phone. Check the manufacturer information here.
  • You currently have no access to an LTE transmission mast. This often happens, for example, when traveling by train. The reason for this is the lack of a comprehensive network along the railway lines.
  • Cheap prepaid tariffs do not offer LTE access.