How I got 4G LTE on my Nexus 4 (on T-Mobile's Network)

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If you're interested in checking out some T-Mobile LTE, just follow this easy tutorial

The Nexus 4 shipped with an oddity - a 4G LTE modem that wasn't quite turned on. Many people have done this in the past, but I wanted to give a quick and dirty rundown of how I did it. I'm routinely getting over 20Mbps in DC, and will do further testing. Do not try this unless you are in one of the markets outlined in this document, or travel there frequently (you won't see much value). Note: do not attempt this with stock firmware, or without being rooted. If you do not know what that is, this is not the guide for you! I would suggest you make a Nandroid backup or the like (I did a Titanium Backup myself).

I currently have my Nexus 4 running on AOKP JB1-6, running Android version 4.2.2. The baseband (radio number) was .48, which is the wrong version for LTE fun. I had to download the .33 radios from XDA (here). I downloaded the .zip file and saved it to my internal storage. This has been said to work with both AOKP and CyanogenMod ROMs, I cannot promise that it will work however!

My next step was to download the Franco Kernel. Franco is a developer who develops excellent kernels for numerous Android devices. You can find his Nexus 4 thread at XDA as well (here). Again, just download the kernel (.zip format) to your internal storage.

And now it's time to boot into your recovery. You need to have the current versions of your ROM as well as the GAPPs package to reinstall locally. Once in recovery follow these steps:

  • Flash the .33 modem file.
  • Wipe data/factory reset
  • Flash ROM
  • Flash GAPPs package
  • Wipe dalvik cache/cache
  • Flash Franco Kernel
  • Reboot!

Your phone will now reboot in a fresh version of Android. You are now ready to set the phone version to LTE and update your APN.

First, go to the native phone dialer:

  • Dial the following code: *#*#4636#*#*
  • Click on Phone Information
  • "Set preferred network type:" and choose LTE/GSM/auto (prl)

Now go to your phone settings and change the APN. Change it to: "fast.t-mobile.com" (just the APN field itself). You are now ready for T-Mobile LTE speeds! I'm getting those 25/14 Mbps in the Arlington, VA area, so your results may vary.

*I have heard this works on Solavei as well, but have yet to check it myself.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments or on twitter: @ryan_kamauff. Cheers, enjoy some super fast data speeds!

About Ryan Kamauff

Ryan Kamauff is a senior analyst with Crucial Point LLC. He produces technology focused content for CTOvision.com and reports on analytical megatrends at the new analysis focused Analyst One.

7 comments
jon 5pts

Hey, just a bit of an update. I'm using cyanogens android 4.4 ROM on my nexus 4. I didn't have to flash the Franco kernel to get LTE to work. In fact, when I did flash the kernel my phone wouldn't boot. Hope this helps

enrique leon 5pts

With the new android version 4.2.2 they changed the broadband radio. You have to root and flash in order to get back to .33 and check if you can get Lte in your area. The author of this article gives the link on where to start on top.

steve 5pts

I have it working but it will routinely revert to wcdma (preferred). Does anyone know how to make the setting "stick"?

Chris Jones 5pts

Hi Ryan, I'm in Houston, TX and I've come across some people on XDA saying that they have LTE on their I717 Notes on Tmobile, but nobody has actually said how. "I flashed a stock ATT Rom & Radio" that's all I've seen. I flashed one and I can't change all of the APN settings that I was told to do. Any Ideas?

Ryan Kamauff 5pts

It's okay, the HSPA reliability goes down substantially so I switched the modem back myself, it was more an exercise to see if it were possible.

Cedrick Miller 5pts

Same here, Steve. If anyone knows how to fix that, let us know :D