There’s a relatively simple way to enable LTE on your T-Mobile Nexus 4

July 12, 2013
T-Mobile subscribers who own the Nexus 4 can enable LTE connectivity by following the relatively simple instructions provided by a Reddit user.

Google LG Nexus 4 Logo aa 1 1600

Sleek, powerful, and affordable, the Nexus 4 is just about perfect for many customers. However, the device co-developed by Google and LG lacks a crucial feature for many users in North America – LTE connectivity. At a time when every Android flagship comes with LTE support, the fact that the speedy standard is not supported on the Nexus 4 has proved a deal-breaker for many potential customers.

You may remember that soon after the Nexus 4 started shipping last year, an intrepid user in Canada found a way to enable partial LTE support, by simply changing a setting on the phone. The catch was that the Nexus 4 was only supporting LTE in the so-called AWS band, which contains spectrum in the 1700 and 2100 MHz blocks. Back then, the AWS band was only used by some Canadian carriers, and Google eventually disabled the “feature” with a software patch.

In the last few months, T-Mobile has switched on its LTE network in a number of US markets, making use of the same AWS band employed by Canadian carriers. This means that, with a little hacking, it’s possible to obtain at least partial LTE connectivity and benefit from superior download speeds on your T-Mobile Nexus 4.

How to enable LTE

Reddit user Yarzospatflute published detailed instructions on how to enable LTE on a T-Mobile Nexus 4 here. Of course, in order to benefit from the trick, you need to live in an area where T-Mo has rolled out its fledgling LTE network.

Update: Also, see the comment from Lugnuts McGruff in the comments section below for a few clarifications.

The most difficult part is flashing a .zip containing three files – a radio firmware file, a patch to fix the audio for the new radio firmware, and a build.prop file that will enable the phone to present itself as an LTE device. You will need an unlocked and rooted device to flash the files, but you won’t need a custom ROM – the stock firmware works just fine. After you flash the files, you will have to configure a new APN and enable LTE from the phone’s Settings menu. If everything goes well, you should be enjoying faster speeds immediately.

Yarzospatflute’s Reddit thread provides instructions and links to the required files. Make sure to carefully go through everything before taking the plunge. The instructions may work on other carriers (including in Canada) that use AWS (also known as Band 4) LTE, though you will obviously need different APNs.

Finally, note that even if you live in an area where T-Mobile has already rolled out LTE, the drawbacks of hacking your access to LTE may not be worth the benefits. Because the Nexus 4 wasn’t actually designed to work on the standard, enabling LTE will cause increased battery drain. For the same reasons, you probably won’t get the top speeds that T-Mo advertises in your area.

Comments

  • Francisco Costa

    Just to get this straight… For the time being, LTE in Brazil is running on 2500MHz to 2700MHz… no point in trying to enable LTE right?

    • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

      Yep, won’t work for you.

      • Francisco Costa

        Thanks Bogdan!

  • whywhywhy

    Does anybody no the late frequncy in Australia? IF its compatible I might just try this.

  • Lugnuts McGruff

    Kinda of a “Welcome to 6 months ago” information but that’s fine, more info is always good…

    Anyhoo, Please be aware of the following!!!

    After you flash the old v0.27/v0.33 radio [url="http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=36400943&postcount=1"]here[/url].

    And the T-MobileNoAudioFix [url="http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=40411100&postcount=537"]here[/url].

    And the LTEenabler [url="http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=39908391&postcount=281"]here[/url].

    After flashing the LTEenabler file and restarting your phone you [b]MUST NOT[/b] go in and manually change your Preferred Network Type from WCDMA preferred to LTE/GSM (read: do the *#*#4636#*#* thing) as this will disable the automatic functionality of the LTEenabler build prop modification going forward unless your factory reset your phone and start from scratch again.

    You basically just have to be patient and wait for your phone to connect to T-Mobile’s (or whoever’s) AWS/Band4 4G/LTE network.

    [b]Don’t[/b] get impatient and manually switch the network type yourself or you’ll have to do that forever more every time you restart you phone. Just trust that after a short while your phone will see the LTE network and connect to it.

    By the way, if you’d prefer to flash one big [url="http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=43463403&postcount=1"]All-In-One[/url] file that does it all instead of 3 separate files feel free to make use of bpear96’s contribution.

    Cheers!

    • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

      Thanks for the info. I know it’s not new, but I think the info is relevant now, as TMo is rolling out LTE in more markets.

  • Lugnuts McGruff

    guess we’re not allowing bbcode then, feel free to clean that up if you wish…

  • Simon Belmont

    Hopefully the next Nexus supports multi-band LTE out of the box. Although, I’m really happy with HSPA+ so far (just switched to T-Mobile).

    Why am I happy? I switched from Sprint. Yeah. Makes sense doesn’t it?

    • Cal Rankin

      I wouldn’t be too terribly happy. I live in a smaller city, sandwiched between FOUR MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREAS, and T-Mobile has no better coverage in my area than 2G. Sprint, on the other hand, has LTE. That makes Virgin Mobile and Ting much more valuable in my area.

      • Simon Belmont

        I’ve had great coverage with T-Mobile so far and I travel quite a lot. So, yeah, I’ll remain happy. :)

        But you’re right, it’s all about the location. Some folks enjoy better coverage than others. ;)

        • Cal Rankin

          That is why their press conference pissed me off: they kept talking up how they were #1 in all these metropolitan areas, and how they were expanding LTE, when so much of the US has only 2G.

          • Simon Belmont

            They are indeed a smaller network than VZW, AT&T, and even Sprint, but at least they’re rapidly expanding. I came from Sprint and their LTE roll out is no where near as far along as T-Mobile’s is, and Sprint has had a way longer time to get their act together.

            Now, I know that’s mostly because they’ve been strapped for cash and SoftBank should ameliorate that, so I won’t be too harsh. But it is one of the reasons I switched to T-Mobile from Sprint. I had the choice of getting a new LTE phone with Sprint, with NO LTE coverage and losing the great Wi-MAX coverage I DID have, or just going somewhere else (T-Mobile) that had great coverage for me that was fast (HSPA+) even without LTE. I’m getting MINIMUM 8-10 Mbps on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ around here, and it’s peaking quite a bit higher than that, so it sort of speaks for itself in my case.

          • Cal Rankin

            That’s good for you. I have heard lots of great things about T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network. It’s great that they’re rapidly expanding, but I would like to get at least 3G in my area, and lots of major carriers, except for T-Mobile, has it here. I have a large business headquartered in my town, but still stuck on EDGE. In my opinion, Sprint should have rolled out LTE to wherever they had WiMax. That, or they should have kept WiMax modems in their new LTE smartphones.
            I would LOVE to have T-Mobile because of that great 4G coverage, but, as I have said, I have to drive about 40 minutes to get into their 4G coverage area.

          • Simon Belmont

            If they had rolled out LTE where Wi-MAX is, I might have had another reason to stay with Sprint. Wi-MAX where I work and at home is strong for me (and fast), which is why it was a tough pill to swallow to give that up when I “upgraded” my phone.

            Yeah, it’s a shame some places are so woefully under covered by T-Mobile. I hope that improves in the near future.

          • Cal Rankin

            I certainly hope. The deals are great, but 2G is a dealbreaker, unless you want a feature phone.

          • bucdenny

            Sprint did not build not build Wimax network, Clearwire built the Wimax network. Now that Clearwire was recently bought out by Sprint, ALL Clearwire sites will get converted to Sprint core. We will see amazing LTE TDD in all major cities with speeds up to 100Mbps. Expect LTE TDD launch in a few weeks.
            Now that Softbank owns Sprint, TDD deployment will be done in the masses, first Wimax areas will get converted first.

          • Cal Rankin

            Good. Then WiMax is dead, and we get LTE. I’m just fine with that.

          • marque2

            WiMax was suppose to cover a wider area per transmitter than 4G – at least that is my understanding, and why WiMax doesn’t work in areas like San Diego with lots of Valleys. Not sure if purchasing clearwire gave them all that many more antenna points.

          • bucdenny

            T-Mobile already had fiber back-haul to most of their HSPA sites. It is simple as installing new antennas and cabinets. You cannot compare it to Sprint because they are rebuilding their entire network, new fiber back-haul, cabinets and antenna’s. Fiber back-haul takes the longest, averaging 6 months and some can take over a year to get. Sprint is rebuilding its entire 3G network, and 4G will cover its entire 3G network.

          • bucdenny

            I don’t think T-Mobile has any plans on its road map to upgrade its “2G” network to 4G LTE anytime soon. You will expect that from Sprint part of the “Network Vision” rebuild.

          • Simon Belmont

            Yeah. I’m aware of this.

            Guess what? Either way, Sprint is pretty far behind their planned LTE deployment whether comparing to T-Mobile or not. Sadly, that loses them customers. Not to be harsh because I was pretty happy with their 3G and Wi-MAX service, but broken promises and slow deployment doesn’t look good. They should under-promise and over-deliver. Not the other way around.

          • marque2

            Well Sprint chose wrong. The went with WiMax and invested a lot in that technology – only to realize it wouldn’t work in many areas – like San Diego, CA. So they are now supporting WiMax in addition to adding LTE and still need to support a CDMA network.

            When I get it the HSPA+ does work fairly well, and I can get pretty good download speeds. Probably the same as LTE in most locations.

          • marque2

            There are spots where T-Mobile claims coverage where it doesn’t really exist. I was driving on I-20 between El Paso and Midland Tx, and there was about a 300 mile stretch of highway with no phone service.

            I know because my credit cards stopped working (blocked – due to travelling out of range – some security measure) and needed gas, and had to call. In the end I had a Spare Phone app which can connect me to Google Voice over WiFi, I was able to make my call to the CC company at a hotel with WiFi. Twas frustration. I-20 is a pretty major freeway – It wasn’t like I was on some farm road in the boonies.

          • Cal Rankin

            And hence, why I was ticked off. They have so many areas where they could improve coverage, and by that, any coverage at all or anything beyond 2G, instead of this LTE rollout. I hope that they start expanding their coverage period. This is where Verizon and AT&T have them beat.

          • marque2

            Part of the problem is our corporate law system. It might make sense for T Mobile and Sprint to share efforts in rolling out the new 4g since they are both late to the game and need coverage quick to compete, but the government would call it collusion.

          • marque2

            They are small, so they have to update where the customers hang most first, and then upgrade along the freeways. Supposedly the phones will roam for voice, and so in areas with no phone services, I assume AT&T is also guilty of low coverage.

          • marque2

            I keep posting at you :-)

      • marque2

        Yeah, try to get a Nexus 4 or Nexus 5 that came from the google play store and set it up on Virgin Mobile.

        Sprint is allowing Nexus 5 from the google play store, but are forcing the 2 year contract on you – so you end up pay twice for your phone.

    • gentleman559

      Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much sense. LOL

  • AndroidBrian

    Awesome. I just got a text from T-Mobile saying LTE is available in my area.

  • tongku04

    tinyurl.com/l3cselt

  • Jm Cotto

    So I got 4G working on my Nexus 4, but I notice that the Play Store gives me a,”No Connectivity”, message every time I’m on 4G. Does anyone else have this problem?

  • marque2

    So if I root the phone to get this LTE patch, my phone will no longer have updates pushed on it by Google – like if I did this today, would I get Kitkat in a week or two?