Why LTE Has Become (Almost) Indispensible In A Smartphone In Germany

So far my main phone I have in use is not LTE capable. While I am in cities I do not mind, the 3G networks in Germany are fast enough so there is not a lot of difference to LTE. But there is one big advantage LTE phones now have in Germany, fast Internet connectivity in the countryside.

Due to spectrum auction rules, network operators had to deploy LTE on 800 MHz in the German countryside first and where only allowed to use this frequency range in cities once rural areas where covered. As a consequence there are a lot of places today with LTE + GSM coverage but without UMTS.

That means that my 2G/3G phone drops down to unusably slow GSM/EDGE in the countryside while my LTE phone in the other pocket continues to enjoy hyperfast connectivity. I've set the 'almost' in brackets in the title because I have a way out: Wi-Fi tethering. Whenever I am in a place with LTE only coverage, Wi-Fi tethering from my LTE phone provides connectivity for my 3G phone. This works very well in practice and the battery of the LTE phone powers the internal Wi-Fi access point for around 8 hours. That's usually more than enough. Agreed, it's a kludge but it works.

One thought on “Why LTE Has Become (Almost) Indispensible In A Smartphone In Germany”

  1. That’s a really interesting observation about LTE vs 3G that I hadn’t considered. Do you know if other European countries have a similar requirement (city coverage last) for LTE rollout? If so it could see the LTE market develop more quickly than 3G, which seemed to take an age.

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