Galaxy S9 hits 1Gbps download speeds on Telefónica’s ‘4.9G’ network

Samsung’s flagship smartphones are capable of hitting gigabit LTE speeds. The Galaxy S8 was its first flagship with a gigabit LTE chip. T-Mobile conducted a test with the handset in a lab to hit peak download speeds of over 900Mbps. The average user won’t get speeds anywhere near that, though.

While not quite the gigabit connection, AT&T’s Licensed Assisted Access service delivers peak download speeds of up to 500Mbps but with its own caveats. It’s only available in some cities and requires the user to be in the vicinity of the LAA site. Telefónica has now demonstrated a better way of achieving 1Gbps LTE with the Galaxy S9.

Galaxy S9 can hit 1Gbps download speed on LTE

Telefónica’s “4.9G” network is obviously not 5G but it delivers speeds close to what the next-generation standard promises. It’s powered using existing Samsung and Nokia hardware to deliver LTE speeds of up to 1Gbps before 5G is ready to kick things up a notch.

The carrier jointly announced with Samsung and Nokia that they have been successful in delivering gigabit LTE by aggregating three bands of licensed radio spectrum. They’re calling the LTE Advanced Pro technology 4.9G because it almost rivals the speeds expected on 5G networks. 4.9G doesn’t deliver reduced latency, though, like 5G and doesn’t have the enhanced security features as well.

The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ have the hardware required to function on the 4.9G network. In areas where the network is available, they will be able to enjoy significantly higher LTE speeds. The availability is understandably limited right now.

Telefónica has launched its 4.9G service commercially in Segovia, Spain with Nokia’s AirScale base stations. It will expand it to other locations including Talavera de la Reina which also rolling out 5G-capable hardware over the next two years. The carrier expects to launch its commercial 5G service by 2020.

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