Google announced the Nexus 4 today which allows Android users to buy a phone outside of the influence of the major carriers. It turns out that freedom comes at a price: LTE. Google wants to retain control of the software without running into the sort of issues it faced last year with Verizon and Google Wallet. Google could not have released an LTE phone without working with one of the carriers.
Verizon has the largest LTE network but, like Sprint, requires compatibility with their CDMA 3G network. AT&T has said it will allow unlocked devices to access its LTE network, but can’t guarantee everything will work nor can they promise to provide technical support for such devices. Another factor besides access is cost. The cost of building an unlocked LTE phone may have pushed the price beyond the $299 Nexus 4 debut price.
Perhaps Google made the Apple-like decision to sacrifice functionality for user experience. Andy Rubin called the decision to go without LTE a “tactical issue.” The Nexus 4 will be free of potential battery life concerns due to multiple radios. “A lot of the networks that have deployed LTE haven’t scaled completely yet — they’re hybrid networks […] which means the devices need both radios built into them,” he said. “When we did the Galaxy Nexus with LTE we had to do just that, and it just wasn’t a great user experience.”
We all laughed last year when Samsung’s commercial poked fun of a well-known missing iPhone feature. “Why don’t you guys just get 4G phones?” asked the girl holding the Galaxy S II. While HSPA+ is certainly a form of 4G, it’s not capable of the speeds we’ve seen with LTE. It looks like we now know the reason why Google didn’t take Samsung’s advice in respects to “getting a 4G phone.”
Source: The Verge