How Fast is Gigabit LTE? Umm… VERY Fast

Richard Goodwin

10/11/2017 – 2:34pm

Gigabit LTE is coming and it is going to make your current 4G connection look like, well… dial-up

Qualcomm have released details of their super high-powered new Snapdragon chip.

The next BIG advancement to data connectivity is now underway, rolling out across America. Called Gigabit LTE, the new technology promises “peak” download speeds of up to 1000Mbps in the future.

I say, “peak”, because that is the theoretical limit of Gigabit LTE at present. Or 5G, or whatever you want to call it. The infrastructure and technology behind mobile data, and how it is delivered to our devices, is constantly evolving and changing behind the scenes.

Networks and companies like Qualcomm have spent billions on pushing LTE speeds forwards in recent years. The net result of this will one day be download speeds of 1000Mbps – however, we’re not quite there yet.

25Mbps vs 1000Mbps – Yep, It’s a BIG Difference

The upper limit of Gigabit LTE is kind of mind-boggling right now, especially since the average 4G speed in the UK is around 25Mbps. And LTE slows down as networks get more and more strained; this is why 4G sometimes feels so slow in cities.

“Gigabit LTE expands the bandwidth of a network to make the limits of LTE less restrictive,” notes Alphr. “Advanced technologies allow for faster real-world speed, using a smaller share of the mast’s airwaves. Downloads finish faster, freeing up the mast to serve other users sooner. Everyone wins.”

The Elephant In The Room

Remember how long it took for 4G to roll out properly? Well, Gigabit LTE will take EVEN longer, especially in the UK because, well… we suck at infrastructure.

Plus, to make Gigabit LTE work you need to combine carrier aggregation along with 4X4 MIMO and 256 QAM technologies.

Qualcomm has already made the hardware that makes Gigabit LTE a reality inside phones with its Snapdragon Gigabit LTE Modem, which leverages LTE CAT 16. Most new Android phones will run this chipset, so if you’ve just bought a brand new phone, chances are you have it.

Qualcomm and T-Mobile recently demoed Gigabit LTE in the US, where it showed a Galaxy S8 handset running download speeds of 611.33Mbps – an INSANE figure compared to the average 25Mbps we get here in the UK.

“This is what I’m talking about when I say T-Mobile has America’s best-unlimited network and the only one purpose-built for unlimited,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s CTO in a statement.

“Not only do we have a nationwide LTE footprint that’s every bit as broad as the Duopoly’s, and the fastest according to multiple third parties – it also keeps getting faster. gigabit Class LTE technology is part of the secret sauce behind our success – and why others are struggling under the weight of unlimited – and we’re only continuing to advance with LAA on the horizon.”

EE currently advertises its fastest speeds as 90Mbits/sec, however, as Gigabit LTE starts rolling out in the UK, the top-end speeds will increase dramatically. You will need to sign up for the more costly 4GEE Max to access these, however…

EE is currently the front-runner with new technology and rollout speeds, so expect it to lead the way with Gigabit LTE in the UK as we move into 2018.

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