Why is everyone making such a big fuss about no LTE on Nexus 4?
Ok, so I just finished listening to the newest Verge Mobile Podcast, and I heard exactly what I saw in the Nexus 4 review. "Without LTE, this phone is dead in the water". Would I prefer if the Nexus 4 had LTE? Sure. I went to Verizon and have stayed on Verizon for LTE. I've done all kinda of gymnastics, including not using my upgrade, to keep unlimited data. I use it for tethering and I was blown away the first time I used it. Coming from pathetic 3G, cable modem speeds on mobile were like water in a desert.
So why do I not really care about HSPA+ on Nexus 4? A couple reasons.
1. Both Verizon and AT&T are in the business of screwing people over. They charge an arm and a leg, and force people into 2 year contracts as a matter of course. Most people don't even think about it, but we in the mobile know realize they subsidize a 600 dollar iPhone down to 200 because they are overcharging you on your monthly bill enough to recoup the costs. That's a horrible system. Other companies do exist that have fine service, but charge 30-45 dollars a month for what you would need to pay over 100 for on Verizon/AT&T. Why don't we go to them? Because they don't have the newest hotness phone or LTE. So in summary, while I love Verizon's LTE, I'm sick of their 80 dollar a month bills, and I'm on the low end.
2. One of those "other carriers" with cheaper plans is T-Mobile. They have a 30 dollar a month, no contract plan, which, while short on minutes, is unlimited data and texts. The two things the other carriers gouge the heck out of you about. And multiple articles have pointed out that in the areas where their HSPA+ 42 is supported, their speeds are anywhere from 8-18mbps. Sure I get 15-25mbps on my LTE Galaxy Nexus, but do is that a significant enough difference to noticefor things like smartphone web browsing? I doubt it. Not to mention HSPA is much more battery efficient.
So what do we do?
We've got that AT&T and Verizon are gouging us in price and forcing us into a system that serves only them, and there are other providers out there that provide somewhat comparable service at 1/3 the price. Google releases a phone that you can buy outright for 299, and use on this ridiculously cheaper carrier, and what do we see? Every review using it on AT&T. Every Verge mobile editor on the podcast just by default said, "I don't want to use AT&T's 3G again" Ok... SO DON'T, use T-Mobile, or any of the other crazy cheap GSM carriers. What's the likely reason they don't? Because they're in contract. It's a catch 22. Google provides us a glimpse of a future where the consumer holds the cards and can go to the provider with the best deal, and people won't buy into it because they're already comfortable with the broken system that we have right now.
Let's do a little math. Let's say you use my plan, which has no texts, is unlimited data and 400 minutes. I believe it's 70 dollars a month, and that's a really good deal considering what it would cost if you signed up right now for a somewhat sizable data plan. But let's just say you could get my plan and use a 2 year contract to get a 16GB iPhone 5 for 200 bucks. Over the life of that 2 year contract, you will pay 1680 (before taxes) for your service, plus 200 for the phone. That's 1880. If you purchased even a 16 gig Nexus 4, and went with T-Mobile's 30 a month plan, that's 350 upfront and 720 for the service. That's 1070.
You are saving 810 dollars. Not to mention that you can switch carriers whenever you feel like it. Verizon makes 960 dollars extra on you taking the upgrade on the iPhone. No wonder they'll pay 400 to subsidize the phone. Do you think people would do the same if in order to use LTE you had to pay 1010 dollars for an iPhone 5, when you could get the Nexus 4 for 350? I don't think so.
In any case, go read some Nexus 4 reviews. Count how many talk about lack of LTE being an issue, and then look at whether or not they tested on AT&T (I'll bet you they did). Yes, AT&T has crappy HSPA. Horrible even. But that's like reviewing a DVD burner, which doesn't support Sony's propietary "Super-Fast burning" DVDs, only using Sony's last gen DVDs, which are known to take forever to burn, not testing any other brands, and then saying it's a crippled horribly slow burner.
I have yet to see a single review that tested its HSPA on multiple networks, which is the POINT of the whole exercise in the first place. You can choose the carrier that has the best reception, data speed and price.
That's a future I'd like to live in. And I can, starting next week, and save 810 dollars over the next 2 years in the process. Doesn't like something to moan, or have an "existential crisis", about to me.