Super-fast LTE cell phone service is just arriving in my neck of the woods, but I won't be upgrading my phone to use this 4G mobile broadband.
Why? Well, for one thing, my old phone works perfectly fine and I don't need to replace it. The greenest devices are often the ones you don't need to buy.
But for another, evidence is coming out that LTE phones use a lot more energy than those employing other technologies. One study was conducted by Nokia Siemens Networks, itself a big seller of LTE phones. They found that their LTE devices increased power drain by 5 to 20% compared to the same usage on their previous HSPA 3G network (the results depended on what applications where being used at the time).
The tech website Gigaom
did some digging to find out why LTE phones suck battery life more than previous devices. It turns out that LTE phones use two antennas, each of which are constantly pinging your network, drawing power the whole time. Plus, since there are still fewer LTE towers out there, the devices have to work harder to maintain their connections.
LTE and other 4G services are being rolled out around the country at a pretty quick pace as mobile providers seek the high profits these broadband services deliver. But speed comes with a price, and that price, for you, could mean higher charging costs.