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Stands for Long Term Evolution. LTE is a 4G telecommunications standard used for transferring data over cellular networks. It supports data transfer rates of up to 100 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream.
While the terms 4G and LTE are often used synonymously, LTE is actually a subset of 4G technologies. Other 4G standards include Mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e) and WirelessMAN-Advanced (IEEE 802.16m). However, since LTE was designed to be an international telelcommunications standard, it has been widely adopted by the United States and several countries in Europe and Asia. Therefore, LTE is by far the most common 4G standard.
In order to use LTE, you must have an LTE-compatible device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or USB dongle that provides wireless access for a laptop. When LTE first became available in 2009, most devices did not yet support the technology. However, most major cellular provides now offer LTE and therefore most phones and other mobile devices are now LTE-compatible. Many devices, such as iPhones and iPad will display the letters LTE in the status bar at the top of the screen when you are connected to an LTE network. If 4G is displayed instead, LTE may not be available in your area.
NOTE: LTE may also refer to LTE Advanced, a newer version of LTE that supports peak download speeds of 1 GBps and upload speeds of 500 Mbps (10x the speeds of standard LTE).