You recently bought a new generation smartphone with the specific intent of activating a promotion with Internet included on your SIM and, among the many options offered by your operator, you came across the so-called 4G. To clarify your ideas immediately, this standard, also known as LTE (as LTE is the most popular type of 4G network at the moment), is used to define the fourth generation of Internet connections on the move, characterized by truly remarkable data transfer speeds, although lower than those of the most recent 5G.
Here, I knew it, now you are no longer in the skin and you are wondering how to activate 4G on your brand new mobile phone! Well, know that I am happy to help you personally, with this guide of mine: in the paragraphs to come, in fact, you will find explained in detail everything concerning this now widespread technology, providing you with the necessary information and on the type of connection itself. and on compatible operators and devices. Finally, it will be my care to explain to you how to enable the high speed of 4G on Android and iOS (as well as on iPadOS).
How do you say? Can’t wait to get started? Perfect: make yourself comfortable, take a few minutes of free time and read what I have to tell you about this interesting and very topical topic. I am sure that, at the end of the tutorial, you will be perfectly able to subscribe to the most suitable offer for you and to use, immediately after, the high speed offered by 4G technology. Having said that, I just have to wish you good reading and … have fun!
- Preliminary information
- How 4G is activated
- How to activate 4G on Android
- How to activate 4G on iPhone
Before telling you how to activate 4G , there are some preliminary information that it is my duty to provide you, to allow you to have perfectly clear ideas on what to do.
As I have already briefly mentioned at the opening of the post, 4G is the name that denotes a technology for connecting to the Internet via a cellular network. To be more precise, 4G is a sort of abbreviation of “4th generation “ , and it is the next technology to connectivity 2G (GPRS / Edge) and 3G (UMTS / HSPA / HSPA +), but older than 5G .
In this case, with 4G you get a maximum speed of 150 Mbps : you will agree with me that these are truly remarkable performances, with a connection quality that also allows you to enjoy streaming content (e.g. music or movies, much more. to name a few) without running into annoying slowdowns. This, of course, as long as the area from which you connect has the 4G coverage offered by the operator!
Generally speaking, 4G can work on different frequency bands (which can also vary according to the operator chosen for the connection): in Italy , the frequency bands used by 4G / LTE networks are 800 MHz, 1600 MHz, 2000 MHz and 2600 MHz . Therefore, in order for your smartphone or tablet to be compatible with the 4G technology offered by the telephone company, the device must include in its technical data sheet the possibility of exploiting the aforementioned bands.
In this regard, I advise you to pay particular attention to the purchase of smartphones from China , since the Chinese frequencies are different and the phone may not support those needed in Europe and Italy (first of all the now famous 20 band at 800MHz) . Always keep this in mind before facing any expenses.
In addition, 4G also provides for a subdivision into categories : they differ from each other both in data exchange technology and in the frequency band used. In practice, this means that each category of LTE can achieve a different maximum speed. Below you will list the ones currently most used.
- LTE Cat. 4 – provides a maximum speed of 150 Mbps in download and 50 Mbps in upload.
- LTE Cat. 5– in this case, the maximum download speed is 300 Mbps, while the upload speed is 75 Mbps.
- LTE Cat. 6and 7 – the download speed is still 300 Mbps, while the upload can reach speeds of 50 and 150 Mbps, respectively.
- LTE Cat. 8– in this case, the maximum download speed can go up to 3000 Mbps, while the upload speed can reach 1500 Mbps.
- LTE Cat. 9and 10 – the download can go up to 450 Mbps, while the upload reaches speeds of 50 and 100 Mbps respectively.
- LTE Cat. 11 and 12 – these categories offer download speeds of 600 Mbps and, again, upload speeds of 50 and 100 Mbps respectively.
- LTE Cat. 13 and 14 – offer maximum download speeds of 400 Mbps and upload speeds of 150 and 100 Mbps.
- LTE Cat. 15– this is currently the best connectivity in terms of quality: it offers download speeds of up to 4000 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 1500 Mbps.
- LTE Cat. 16– in this case, the download speed can reach 1000 Mbps, while the upload speed can reach 150 Mbps.
- LTE Cat. 18– in this case, the download speed can reach 1100 Mbps, while the upload speed can reach 150 Mbps.
- LTE Cat. 21– in this case, the download speed can reach 1400 Mbps, while the upload speed can reach 150 Mbps.
To be even more precise, 4G or “simple” LTE includes categories 4 and 5, while from category 6 onwards we talk about LTE Advanced ( LTE-A ) or 4G + ( 4G Plus ): technically speaking, these categories are able to reach higher speeds by exploiting two different frequencies at the same time and combining their respective signals.
To take advantage of LTE Advanced connectivity, therefore, you need both specific support from the telephone operator and that from the device in use: to be sure, make sure that the wording LTE is specified in the device’s data sheet. Advanced , 4G + or that the category of LTE supported is equal to or higher than 6.
To date, the most common categories are 4 and 6, but recent generation smartphones and tablets can also count on the following categories.
How 4G is activated
Now that you have understood what 4G is and the advantages it brings, it is time to understand how 4G is activated , then to use it in practice. Firstly, what you need is that your smartphone or tablet is compatible with this type of technology, which you can easily check by looking at its data sheet.
Secondly, it is necessary to subscribe to specific offers that include 4G: in general, all the promotions currently marketed by the major national operators ( TIM , Vodafone , WINDTRE and Iliad ) include 4G traffic, however I want to point out those that, to date, are the most convenient.
- TIM Super 4G– this rate offers unlimited calls, unlimited SMS and 50 GB of 4G Internet, with TIMMUSIC included in the price. Read more here .
- Vodafone Red Pro– this rate offers unlimited calls, unlimited SMS, unlimited minutes to the EU and 50 GB of 4G Internet. Read more here .
- WINDTRE More Full 5G– this rate offers unlimited calls, 200 SMS, 50 minutes to foreign countries and 100 GB of 5G Internet which, however, can also be used in 4G in case of lack of coverage. Read more here .
- Iliad Giga 80– this offer offers unlimited calls, unlimited SMS and 80 GB of 4G Internet. Read more here .
Clearly, these are just some of the promotions made available by the various operators. If you are looking for a 4G tariff tailor-made for you, perhaps that includes more voice traffic, SMS or that only makes the Internet available (useful for a 4G Internet key or a tablet, for example), I recommend reading my specific guide on offers for mobile telephony , in addition to the use of Sos Tariffs , the site that allows you to compare telephone offers (and not only) and to easily and quickly identify the tariff plan that best suits your needs, using the appropriate filters available .
Furthermore, as I have already told you, to take full advantage of 4G connectivity, coverage needs to be available in the area where you reside, or that you regularly frequent: to make sure of this, I recommend that you carry out the necessary checks using the dedicated pages. to control coverage of TIM , Vodafone , WINDTRE and Iliad . If you need further clarification regarding the control of 4G coverage, I should refer to my guides focus specifically on 4G coverage TIM , Vodafone 4G coverage and coverage 4G WINDTRE .
How to activate 4G on Android
Have you signed up for a mobile subscription with 4G connectivity, have a compatible smartphone or tablet and now you can’t wait to activate 4G on Android to take advantage of it? Don’t worry, the operation is really simple and only takes a few seconds away.
To begin with, grab your device, unlock it (if necessary), access the home screen and / or the drawer and tap the Settings icon (the one in the shape of a gear wheel ). In the screen that you now see, touch the items Other and Cellular networks or Other Networks and Mobile Networks or, again, SIM Cards & Mobile Networks> [SIM name] and turn ON the switch next to the Data connection item .
In addition to as I just indicated, you can enable the use of the data connection from the Android Notification Center , recalling the latter by swiping from the top to the bottom of the screen and then pressing the Mobile data button (generally it is the one marked by two arrows ), so that it changes from gray to colored .
After completing the above steps, go back to the Android settings section relating to the cellular network, tap on the Preferred network type or Preferred network type option or, simply, Preferred network and tap on the LTE or 4G option , Prefer LTE networks or Prefer 4G networks : after a few seconds, the smartphone will lose field and access the Internet again using the 4G connection, as you will notice by looking at the network indicator above.
If in carrying out the steps I have just described you are unable to activate 4G on your device, it is probably because the data connection has not yet been configured on the mobile phone or tablet or because the configuration has not been done correctly with the manager parameters . telephone in place. To remedy this, just follow the instructions you find in my specific guide on how to activate the Internet on your mobile .
Keep in mind that the information I have given you in this step may be slightly different from what you see in the Android settings, depending on the version of the operating system you are using and the make and model of the device.
How to activate 4G on iPhone
If, on the other hand, you are using an iOS device (or iPadOS) and, therefore, you are interested in understanding how to activate 4G on the iPhone (and iPad ), the instructions to which you must follow are the ones you find in this step.
To start, grab the device, unlock it (if necessary), access the home screen and / or the App Library and tap the Settings icon (the one in the shape of a gear wheel ). In the screen that you now see, touch the Cellular item and turn ON the switch that you find next to the Cellular Data item .
Alternatively, you can activate the data connection via the Control Center , recalling the latter with a swipe from the top right corner of the screen downwards if you are using an iPhone with Face ID or an iPad or by swiping from the side at the bottom of the display upwards if you are using an iPhone with Touch ID, and then pressing the Cellular Data button (the one with the antenna ), so that it changes from gray to colored .
Subsequently, go again to the section of iOS (or iPadOS) relating to the cellular network, press on the wording Cellular data options , access the Voice and data section and select the 4G option from the proposed list: after a few seconds, you will be able to browse using the LTE connectivity .
If in carrying out the above steps you are unable to activate 4G on your iPhone (or iPad), it is evidently because the data connection has not yet been configured or because the configuration has not been performed correctly with the telephone operator parameters.