You Asked, We Answered: What does LTE mean for me?

We get questions all the time about some of the technical phrases and industry jargon that are thrown around when people talk about cellular phones and devices.  In this new series, I’ll select and answer a few of the more frequently asked questions so you can get a better understanding of what these commonly used terms mean—and how they can affect your service or device.

This week: “What does LTE mean on my phone, and why is it important when using data?”

Smartphone apps and features like email, maps, and Internet browsing rely on sending and receiving data across a cellular provider’s network.  When describing cellular networks, you’ll commonly hear the terms 3G, 4G, and LTE. This identifies the generation of network technology:  3G, or the third generation network, was developed before 4G.

After that, LTE data was introduced. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, and currently 4G LTE is the most advanced option available. When your phone is connected to 4G LTE, you’re getting the maximum data speed possible with your service, giving you superior download speeds and performance capability.

Older cellphone models may not support newer data network technology, so it’s important to select a model that supports a data speed that works for your needs.

At Consumer Cellular, all of the smartphones we currently offer are 4G LTE capable, and our nationwide network has LTE in more areas than ever before. You can check out our selection of affordable smartphones to find out specific information about each phone’s specifications. We’re sure to have at least one that will fit your lifestyle!

61 Thoughts on "You Asked, We Answered: What does LTE mean for me?"

  1. Bo says

    You state CC has LTE, but don’t mention whether CC utilizes 3G or 4G. I currently use a iPhone 4S, which shows its using the 3G network. If I upgrade to a newer 7 series iPhone, will it use 3G, or 4G?

    reply to Bo

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s a great question, Bo. We utilize 3G, 4G and LTE coverage where available. Depending on where you live and the device you have, you may be able to connect with each. If you upgrade to the newest iPhone, you’ll be able to access 4G LTE coverage if you’re in an area that has it. That means you’ll get the fastest speeds available when checking email or surfing the web. We’re happy to talk with you about your options at 888-345-5509 if you like. Thank you for posting today!

      reply to Ashley

  2. LEO SMITH says

    i need to find out about the ZTE home phone does it have a hand held reciever or do you have to talk to the unit IT’S SELF.

    reply to LEO

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Leo! You would use a home phone handset that you already have, and instead of plugging it into the wall, you’ll plug it into our Home Phone Base. That way, you can use the phone you already have. We appreciate you taking the time to post!

      reply to Ashley

  3. Kelly Van Ess says

    I have an android phone. I don’t use a lot of the apps but I do send and receive a lot of photos. I don’t see that there is a charge for data. I mostly use my phone while connected to my home wifi but if I turn my data off I am unable to send or receive photos so I’m just curious how this works.

    reply to Kelly

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Kelly! When you send a text message with a photo attached, it does require a very small amount of data. That’s why you need to have data enabled in order to send one. This feature uses such a small amount of data that you shouldn’t really see if reflected in your usage. If you have any other questions about sending photo messages, we’re happy to answer them at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you taking the time to comment!

      reply to Ashley

  4. william jones says

    I want to know why your batteries will not stay charged more that one,or two days at the longest? I have a flip phone,and only make 3-4 short calls per day! I have had this problem since it was new. Around three months now. I am thinking about going back to the other company that I was able to go a complete week without charging the battery.

    reply to william

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for reaching out to us, William. I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing issues with your flip phone. In general, most phones will get about 3-4 days of standby time on a single charge. We’re happy to speak with you over the phone and discuss the options available to you if you would like a different device. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we can assist you. We appreciate you taking the time to post today, and we look forward to speaking with you!

      reply to Ashley

  5. Kevin S. says

    Regarding the ZTE, does it operate if there’s a power outage? Does it have a backup battery to allow it to operate on it’s own in an emergency?

    reply to Kevin

  6. Roger says

    I had kept my landline phone to send and receive faxes since the phone was connected to a fax machine. Will this still work with your new service?

    reply to Roger

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Roger. The Home Phone Base is not meant to be used with a fax machine, so if you need to be able to send a faxed message, it may not be the best fit for you. We appreciate you commenting today!

      reply to Ashley

  7. Patricia Burke says

    When calling for phone assistance the technicians are most helpful and I believe I am understanding what they said. But when I try, whatever it might be on my own, without assistance, it doesn’t seem to work correctly. I learn better by being shown how to do something, and it is not because I am 86 years of age. If only you had stores we could go to when asking for help rather than just phoning. Yes, I’ve tried doing lessons with a group but one-on-one would be the preferred way. And I’ve tried your tutorials. Our phone is the Motorola Moto E LTE 8GB.

    reply to Patricia

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for the feedback, Patricia. We understand that our customers are a diverse group, and what works for some may not for others. We do our best to offer many solutions so that you can get to know your phone. If we begin offering any one-on-one training courses or personalized support, we will be sure to let you know. Please know that we are always happy to help you over the phone at 888-345-5509, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need us to walk you through something more than once. We truly enjoy helping our customers, and we want you to feel comfortable and confident while using your device. I’ve passed your feedback on to our managers, and we very much appreciate you taking the time to post today!

      reply to Ashley

  8. Charlie Poole says

    When I got my Doro Flip Phone a few years ago I set the alarm at the time needed daily and have not changed it. Now I have reason to change it and do not know how. It does not come up in the settings, it is not shown in the manual and the directions I found on line do not work. If you can tell me how to change it, I am going to write it in my manual so I have it for future use. Thanks Charlie

    reply to Charlie

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      I’m happy to help you with that, Charlie! I took a look at your account, and it looks like you are using our Doro 626. To get to the alarm, press the Menu button, then Organizer, then Alarm, and select the On option. Use the keypad to enter the time you want to set the alarm for. If you only need this once, choose the Single option, or if you want a repeated alarm, select Repeated. Then press Save to confirm your choice. We’re happy to walk you through it over the phone if you like at 888-345-5509. Thank you for posting, and we hope you have a wonderful day!

      reply to Ashley

  9. Laurie Thonhoff says

    Do we and/or have to transfer data from our current SIM card to yours? If we have to, how do we do it?

    reply to Laurie

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Laurie. In general, the only thing that is often saved to a SIM card is your list of contacts. Depending on your phone, you may want to make sure your contacts are saved to your phone before disposing of your old SIM card. If you have any questions about your contacts or about using your new SIM card, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-345-5509. We will be happy to assist you! We appreciate you taking the time to post, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  10. Rodney Leathers says

    Suddenly I “Couldn’t sign in” to any mail accounts. My user name and password do not work. I have tried all combinations to no avail, any suggestions

    reply to Rodney

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Rodney. I would recommend closing the email apps on your phone, then reopening them. You may also want to make sure that you aren’t unintentionally capitalizing any letters in your email address or password. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, you may want to try resetting your password or using other account retrieval options made available by your email provider. You can also give us a call at 888-345-5509 if you have any questions about using these apps on your phone. We appreciate you posting, and we wish you the best of luck!

      reply to Ashley

  11. Don DeMaio says

    I have an iPhone SE and am using the AT&T network. Phone call quality is not good. But I noticed when I turn off LTE call quality goes way up.

    I’m reluctant to discontinue such a valuable service as LTE but I don’t seem to have any alternative. I’m vice president of my condo association and I am responsible for handling the vendors who are onsite to fix things but a number of times I’m being told they can’t understand me on the phone.

    What alternatives do I have? My phone is only two months old.

    Thank you.

    reply to Don

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for reaching out to us, Don. We can work with you to troubleshoot this issue, and try sending some updates to your phone. We can also try a new SIM card with your device to see if that provides a better experience. Please give us a call at 888-345-5509 when you can, and we will be happy to assist you. We appreciate you taking the time to post today!

      reply to Ashley

  12. Gaye Reynolds says

    I have a samsung Galaxy S5 I transferred from ATT to CC. I had 4G, and did not have to rely on being where thee was WiFi to search and receive. Now, since switching to CC, I cannot send receive unless I am somewhere with WiFi. Do I not have 4G now?

    reply to Gaye

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Gaye. It sounds like we may need to adjust a few settings on your phone so that your data and messaging will work properly. Please call us at 888-345-5509 at your convenience, and we’ll get that resolved for you. We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us, and we look forward to assisting you!

      reply to Ashley

  13. carolyn salamon says

    So what Carrier do you all use – do I need to make sure there are towers for say AT&T if that is who you use are nearby my house?

    reply to carolyn

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Carolyn! We offer coverage on two of the nation’s largest networks. You can get a good idea of the coverage in your area here on our website. If you like, we can also take a look at other areas you visit often so you’ll know what to expect. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509 at your convenience. We appreciate you posting, and we hope you have a wonderful day!

      reply to Ashley

  14. David Lounsbery says

    I have an older Motorola 3G phone. In the past I have been able to search the web. Now when I try no matter what time of day I get a connection failed message. Can I still use my Motorola for the internet?

    reply to David

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for posting, David. First, if you haven’t done so already, please try stepping outside and powering off your phone. Wait a few seconds, then turn your phone back on. This will allow your device to reconnect to a tower with a strong signal. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, please call us at 888-345-5509 so that we can perform additional troubleshooting. We may need to send some updates to your device, so please call us from another device if possible. We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us!

      reply to Ashley

  15. Tucker says

    On the Consumer Cellular Coverage map there is an asterisk next to 4GLTE*. It goes nowhere. (This is not unusual). What does the asterisk mean? What does it relate to?

    reply to Tucker

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Tucker. Per the notes at the bottom of the page, the asterisk references a note that a compatible device is required to receive 4GLTE coverage. We’re happy to answer any other questions you may have at 888-345-5509, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We appreciate you posting, and we hope you have a lovely day!

      reply to Ashley

  16. Deanna Hardin says

    Do you offer a wireless charger for your phones. I have a Android Motorola.

    reply to Deanna

  17. JOHN says

    how can I confirm if my Samsung J230A is 4G LTE compatible?

    reply to JOHN

  18. Bob Wilson says

    So when I’m in the back country, how do I know whether I have weak data reception? Is it related to the number of bars I have, or is that just an indicator if voice reception?

    reply to Bob

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Bob. The bars of service on your phone indicates the reception in the current area, which can affect call quality and data speed if you’re below 3 bars. If you need assistance with your service, you can give us a call at 888-345-5509 or chat with us here.

      reply to Nicole

  19. BA Pope says

    Why since LTE was placed on my phone from 4G, has my phone slowed down?
    My phone is ” DATA STARVED ” now & very slow ( constantly buffers ).
    Is CC saving cost by placing it’s customer’s on LTE rather than the quality 4G network.
    Also, why does my phone think I’m in a different location / State?

    reply to BA

  20. Brian says

    Question. I have a LG 5 phone that shows LTE(ATT network). Will this still work with 4g

    reply to Brian

    • Hi Brian, thanks for your interest! If the phone is VoLTE compatible, and GSM-compatible as well as being unlocked, it may work on our network. We can’t guarantee compatibility for all models, but we’ll do all that we can to get it connected for you. If you’re already a customer, and if you haven’t received an email from us letting you know that we need you to upgrade your phone, then you should be okay for moving forward.

      reply to Jacob

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  27. Dana Dougan says

    My son’s phone went back to factory mode…how do you get back to be able to use the phone .. won’t turn off either

    reply to Dana

  28. Rayanna says

    I received an email saying that my current phone uses 3G and it will no longer be available with Consumer Cellular that I need to upgrade to a 4G or 5G compatible phone. My phone uses LTE I thought was 4G so I’m a little bit confused of why it says my phone isn’t support with 4G. I have a Moto Z3 play I just got it last year. So I’m wondering if I were to get the same type of phone another Moto Z3 play or a moto Z4 will it be compatible?

    reply to Rayanna

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Rayanna, with 3G service being phased out a phone needs to be VoLTE-compatible with our service in order to continue working, and VoLTE isn’t a feature that’s available on all 4G LTE devices. You would be receiving that email because our system has flagged your Motorola Moto Z3 as not compatible with the changes, so an upgrade is needed to continue using the service.

      reply to Nicole

  29. Gary says

    I have a Doro 3g phone and use my husband’s At@t unlimited account. Can I buy a Doro 4g from CC, as they are phasing out 3g?

    reply to Gary

    • Hi Gary, thanks for your post. Our phones our locked to our network, so you would not be able to purchase one and immediately move it to AT&T. We currently don’t offer the Doro as an option, but we do have our Consumer Cellular Link II as an option. You can more details on this phone by going to our website here

      reply to Jacob

  30. Christine says

    I have an iPhone 11 which I bought last year, it does not have an option for 4g but if I keep it on LTE is that the same thing and will I still have service?

    reply to Christine

  31. Christine says

    I received an email saying I will need to upgrade my phone to 4g and 5g or else it will not be supported. I have an iPhone 11 and I just bought it, all of my friends that have consumer celluar and iPhone 11 have 4g except for me, why is this and how do I fix this?

    reply to Christine

  32. Steve Nolting says

    I purchased an LTE compatible Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Activation of the LTE service requires the QR code of the sims card used in the phone (see URL from Samsung explaining activation – ). Consumer Cellular’s help line was not familiar with the process and was not able to help. How do I obtain the QR code for the service provided to my phone? Consumer Cellulars coverage for the area I live in coincides with the coverage AT&T provides so I am guessing they are the phone company providing service. However in trying to log into AT&T they do not recognize my phone number. Could you please provide some guidance on how to proceed.

    reply to Steve

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