When Google announced the Nexus 4, many were surprised that the phone didn't come with support for 4G LTE. Fast forward to the launch and early tear downs indicated that the phone did have a 4G chip, it just wasn't in use.
However, it seems a Canadian Nexus 4 owner has figured out a way to get that 4G chip up and running despite the fact that the Nexus 4 lacks a signal amplifier and filter.
"Don't know if it was posted already but I just discovered that nexus 4 can be used on telus LTE network," xda-developers user a1jatt wrote on Friday. His claims were immediately met with calls for video proof, which he then provided. The YouTube clip he posted includes a speed test showing his Nexus 4 running on Telus' LTE network.
So, how did he do it? Apparently, he was able to force the phone to run on Telus 1700MHz and 2100MHz from the phone’s debugging menu. As for the missing signal amplifier and filter, Anandtech last week reported that the phone "could essentially be supported with the power amplifiers and transceiver that already are onboard the Nexus 4," so that explains that. Does this mean the Nexus 4 can do LTE? Sort of, but not really. The tweak will only work for LTE band 4, which includes Telus and Rogers in Canada, but there are over 40 bands approved for use with LTE. The Verge said it had no luck forcing the phone onto Verizon's band 13 LTE network. Similarly, AT&T's band 17 was equally incompatible. However, T-Mobile plans to launch its LTE network on band 4 soon, so customers may have some luck with that in the future.
Meanwhile, LG has offered an explanation as to why 4G wasn't included in the phone (officially) in the first place. Speaking to TechRadar, the company explained why 4G was left out of the equation.
"In order to provide the best possible specification for Nexus 4, LG utilised the same powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset as can be found in its 4G LTE product, namely LG Optimus G," a spokesperson is quoted as saying.
"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 for it to work. It therefore cannot be upgraded to 4G LTE capability through software."