Some smartphone-savvy Nexus 4 users have done the seemingly impossible. Tech tinkerers in the XDA Developers forum have discovered that Google’s Nexus 4 handset can in fact be used on LTE networks after a few simple tweaks.
Google’s recently released smartphone, which made its debut through the Google Play Store on Nov. 13, does not feature the signal amplifier and filter required to provide LTE service, as Tech Radar reports. The device does have a disabled LTE chip, but LTE can only work if the chip is combined with these missing components.
“In order to provide the best possible specification for Nexus 4, LG utilized the same powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset as can be found in its 4G LTE product, namely LG Optimus G. This powerful chipset is only available with a combined processor and modem and cannot be implemented separately. The modem contains 4G LTE capabilities but is only effective when combined with other essential hardware parts such as a signal amplifier and filter in order to work. It therefore cannot be upgraded to 4G LTE capability through software.”
However, it is possible to push the phone on to an LTE network by using its debugging menu, but this only works with an LTE band 4 (1700MHz and 2100MHz) on Canadian carriers Telus and Rogers.
A YouTube video posted by user "raj c" demonstrates exactly how much faster the Nexus 4 is when operating on an LTE network. When calculating the speed test, the dial moves from zero to the other end of the spectrum almost instantly.
Although the post in the XDA Developers forum featured raj c’s video, the post contained no instructions on how to activate LTE on these Canadian carriers. However, a video from technology site Tek.Gadg does take users through a tutorial of how to perform this hack on a Nexus 4. The LTE modem can be activated through a simple keystroke command, as demonstrated in the footage.
It is unclear if the hack referenced in Tek.Gadg’s video is compatible with all carriers or if it is exclusive to Telus and Rogers like the XDA post had indicated.
According to test results from AnandTech, Band 4 LTE appears to be fully supported, but other bands with similar frequencies are not. For a thorough analysis on the Nexus 4’s LTE capabilities head over to AnandTech.
Check out the videos below to see the Nexus 4 operating on LTE.
Lisa Eadicicco is a reporter covering mobile technology and video games for The International Business Times. Lisa joined the editorial team at IBT in January 2012, and has...