Nexus 4 Comes With Surprise Hidden 4G LTE Radio, But Will Google Activate It?

There appears to be a hidden gem inside the Nexus 4 by LG smartphone released by Google in the form of an unactivated 4G LTE radio. When the phone was reviewed earlier, Google was criticized for not releasing a high-end, feature-rich smartphone as part of its Nexus line with 4G LTE support; Google cited that it was too difficult to work with carriers for LTE support and opted for simplicity when it decided to fly solo for its unlocked, contract-free option. However, it looks like Google has a contingency plan should carriers decide to adopt the Nexus 4 at a later date as is–without the pesky cellular contracts–in the form of a hidden 4G LTE radio inside.



A recent teardown of the smartphone by iFixIt reveals that there is a multi-band LTE radio made by Qualcomm hiden inside the smartphone that is deactivated by default. The LTE radio supports up to seven bands, making it suitable for a potential global rollout to GSM networks around the world that supports LTE networks on popular spectrums available today. Neither LG nor Google has commented on the situation and to date, LTE is not a support of the phone.

One potential reason for the LTE radio is that select partners–like T-Mobile USA in the U.S.–do not yet have an operating LTE network. Potentially, when these partners begin rolling out or expanding their LTE coverage footprint, they can work with Google to enable the LTE radio to support their home networks. This wouldn’t be the first U.S. smartphone to debut with a hidden and de-activated LTE radio. Samsung’s large phablet, the Galaxy Note II, released for T-Mobile USA also comes with a hidden LTE radio inside, which the carrier subsequently acknowledged will be activated once it deploys an LTE network State-side.

Hackers can potentially unlock the potential of the LTE radio over time as a possibility if Google does not activate it later.


According to Mobile Geeks, the report also mentions that the battery inside is secured with a very sticky adhesive, making it hard to change, though that comes as little surprise given that the phone was not advertised to have a user-servicable battery.