How to know whether you can connect to 4G LTE on your phone

Airtel Uganda 4G

So you bought a new smartphone and can’t wait to show it off. You’re seriously tempted to strut around town waving your piece around. Thanks to the Chinese and the likes of Tecno and Infinix, affordable big-screen touch smartphones are now a thing. Starting from as low as $50, you can get your hands on a smartphone. But not so fast. Before you can connect to that Smartphone Network or before you get on the 4G LTE network Everywhere You Go, are you sure you can? Let me break it to you. Not all smartphones are made equal, despite appearances.

For starters, 4G smartphones cost a bit more than regular 3G devices, even when the specs are more or less the same. The reason for this is that 4G smartphones ship with extra inbuilt hardware to support 4G networks. This hardware doesn’t come cheap, hence the steeper price tag. Now you know.

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Does your smartphone support 4G LTE?

Google it

GSMArena

GSMArena screenshot showing phone specs

Believe it or not, but a good place to start is Google. Websites such as GSMArena and PhoneArena specialise in phone specs and reviews. Us at Dignited also usually cover devices that are often not written about by the rest. The likes of Infinix, Tecno, iTel e.t.c. are restricted to developing countries, that’s why. Manufacturer websites are also a treasure trove of information about their devices. When in doubt, just hit us up and look through for your particular phone specs under Cellular/Connectivity/Network. If you don’t see any mention of 4G LTE bands, that should be telling.

Check the Box

Xiaomi Note 3 specs

Xiaomi Note 3 specs showing 4G support. Image credit zinggadget.com

If at all you’ve already bought your smartphone, another option opens up to you. It’s standard practice to include specs either on the back of the box a booklet included in the contents or a plastic sticker on the actual phone. 4G LTE is a major selling point for these devices, so they won’t be shy about trumpeting the fact.

Do you have a 4G SIM card?

Airtel Uganda 4G

Before you wonder why you’re not getting the much touted 4G LTE, ask yourself if you have a 4G SIM card. Much as 4G networks are backwards compatible, the same doesn’t apply for 3G networks. 3G networks won’t magically pick 4G, but only 2G and below. One more thing, a 4G LTE SIM card won’t help you much in a device which doesn’t support it. In the same vein, a 3G card in a smartphone that supports 4G won’t take advantage its hardware.

Have you the 4G LTE card? It’s usually as simple as looking at the network icon in the status bar. Usually, it shows what network you are connected to (E/EDGE, G/GPRS, 3G/H/H+, 4G). Suffice it to say, if you don’t see the 4G icon at some point when you have a 4G card, your phone might not be able to support 4G.

Check Phone settings

4G lTE Prefered network type

4G lTE Prefered network type

You can also go in phone settings to check out whether you can pick up 4G networks. We are aware that various Android phone generations change where these settings are. But this ought to point you in the right direction:

 >>Go to settings

>>Wireless and Networks

>>Mobile networks

>>Preferred network type