5GE vs. LTE: What’s the Difference?

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5GE and LTE are just two abbreviations among several that are used to describe the technology behind what makes your cell phone work. Many of us have been hearing about LTE several years now, but 5GE is a newer term sometimes used within the context of a 5G network.


Newer Standard: 5GE Is Really 4G, But LTE Is 3.9G
  • Also called LTE-A and LTE+.
  • It’s considered true 4G.
  • Incorrectly called 5G.
  • A lesser form of 5GE.
  • An improvement over the original 3G.
  • Incorrectly called 4G.

Part of identifying which network type is better and how 5GE and LTE differ involves untangling the confusion around 4G jargon. Put simply: 5GE is an advanced form of LTE that sometimes goes by the name LTE+ or LTE-A (for Advanced). It’s faster and more reliable.

When it was first introduced, the specification required that for a device to be 4G-compatible, it would require a minimum download speed of 100 Mbps. When companies couldn’t reach that minimum, they came up with a term to describe an “almost 4G” speed; a technology that was on its way to true 4G. This is where 4G Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) was born.

As LTE was improved upon, another effort was made to describe an even newer tech: 4G LTE Advanced (also called 4G LTE-A and 4G LTE+). Where it gets confusing is that 4G LTE-A also has a minimum download speed of 100 Mbps, the same as 4G. So, technically, 4G LTE-A could be considered 4G. So where does 5GE fall in all of this? Just like how LTE is used to describe an evolution toward 4G, AT&T uses 5G Evolution to describe 4G’s path toward 5G. They call it the foundation and launchpad for 5G. You could also consider it a “pre-5G” network.

Performance: 5GE Is 3x Faster:

  • 1 Gbps peak download speeds.
  • 500 Mbps peak upload speeds.
  • Latency under 5 ms.
  • 300 Mbps peak download speeds.
  • 75 Mbps peak upload speeds.
  • Latency under 10 ms.

The strategy there is to make it seem like their network is better than the 4G network offered by other companies. There’s just one problem: the two terms are actually identical. 4G LTE-A = 5GE. When AT&T puts 5GE on their phones or talks about 5G Evolution, they’re really referring to 4G LTE-A.

Putting it all together with the above in mind is now a lot easier: 5GE and 4G LTE-A are the same, and it’s newer and faster than 4G LTE.

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