Difference between 5G vs LTE, and does it matter?

So you are wondering the difference between 5G vs LTE and does it matter? If you’re planning to buy a phone or thinking to switch carriers, you’re likely to come across the terms 5G and LTE. Both are mobile networks jargons, but there is still a lot of confusion about the technology.

If you’re not sure about your needs or wondering if you should buy a 5G phone, then here is the explanation that will help you figure out making the right choice between 5G vs. LTE.

In short, the G stands for generation, so 5G is the term for the fifth generation of mobile network technology. LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution, which is a 4G technology. 5G is not a replacement for 4G, so LTE and 5G technology is working together.

What advantages does 5G bring?

What advantages does 5G bring- Difference between 5G vs LTE and does it matter?
What advantages does 5G bring- What advantages does 5G bring

As per Els Baert, Director of Marketing and Communication at NetComm the main benefit of 5G over 4G LTE is faster speed because there’s more spectrum available for 5G, and it uses more advanced radio technology. It also delivers much lower latency than 4G, which allows new applications in the [Internet of Things] space.


In easy terms, 5G allows you to download and upload data much faster than earlier technologies. The top speeds for 5G are between 1 and 10Gbps download speeds and 1- millisecond latency, although the realistically minimum average download speeds of 50 Mbps and latency of 10ms can be expected compared to current average 4G speeds around 15Mbps and 50ms.

What is 4G LTE-A?

What is 4G LTE-A
What is 4G LTE-A

With the evolution of 5G, 4G isn’t finished or hasn’t stopped evolving. The updated top 4G technology to be created is LTE-A (Long-Term Evolution Advanced) and it boasts of a maximum speed of 1Gbps, though the realistic average will be comparable to the lower end of 5G. You also get LTE-Advanced Pro, which is even faster still.

While 4G LTE, LTE-A, and LTE-A Pro will work with the current smartphones you have right now, real 5G will require you to upgrade to a new phone with the compatible hardware inside.

Does it Matter?

Does it Matter
Does it Matter

The most important thing is having a high-quality connection with decent speed for phone use. It’s not about the technology, but the service being extended to the users.

5G may provide driverless cars, wireless VR gaming, remote control robots, and many other apps for the technology that will doubtlessly emerge, but 5G to offer tangible benefits for most people will take some more time.

The rollout of 5G networks is gaining speed, but AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are still only providing 5G in a handful of cities so far.

Apple is not going to release a 5G-capable iPhone until 2020. Although there are many more 5G capable phones it’s of no use unless you live in an area that gets early 5G coverage.

Difference between 5G vs LTE and does it matter?

What is the difference between 4G LTE and 5G
What is the difference between 4G LTE and 5G

LTE was devised as a reference benchmark by the International Telegraph Union Radiocommunication (ITU-R) regulator as a trademark of representing progress towards true 4G. This was ordained necessary as much of the infrastructure telecoms companies had founded weren’t clearing the bar to be tagged as offering 4G speeds.

4G LTE can, theoretically, attain data transfer speeds of around 150Mbps for installing content with 50Mbps for the upload speeds, even though these numbers vary a lot based on a multitude of facts. Location, traffic, and deployment all impact the speeds at any one time. Often, pragmatic considerations mean that 4G LTE is about to hit install and upload speeds of around 20Mbps and 10Mbps respectively.

In this particular context, the latest generation of connectivity, 5G, provides download speeds of up to a stellar 10Gbps, theoretically, even though even speeds marked in real-world settings dwindle LTE’s offerings. For example, when IT Pro first performed tests on the Vodafone 5G network, the device used installed speeds that alternated between 100Mbps and 150Mbps. 

These higher speeds are usually achieved as the 5G users are at a different spectrum to that which the 4G utilizes, namely mmWave high-frequency bands, which provide far greater bandwidth than those LTE uses. Hence, more data can be transported at once.  


Now that you’ve seen both sides of technology, it is up to you to decide which one matter’s the most!