Google goes LTE-Advanced with its new Nexus phones

Apple isn’t the only one taking the leap into faster mobile networking technologies with its new flagship phones. Both of Google’s new showcase handsets, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, sport new Qualcomm chips that can tap into the growing number of LTE-Advanced networks being built worldwide.

Considering the plethora of new features included in these devices (we’ll drill down into the sensor stack in a later post), LTE-Advanced isn’t something Google is focusing on in this product launch. But buried in the tech specs of both phones is the designation “LTE cat. 6,” which means they’re capable of achieving theoretical peak speeds of 300 Mbps – assuming they have the proper network to connect to.

The LG Nexus 5X (Photo Credit: Google)

The LG Nexus 5X (Photo Credit: Google)

The Nexus 6P and 5X join the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus as the latest phones sporting LTE-Advanced. Apple, without a doubt, will sell a lot more iPhones than Google will Nexus devices, but the Nexus was never intended to be an iPhone-killer. Rather it’s a showcase for Google’s technology and applications, and with this Nexus generation, Google seems intent on showing off the newest mobile networking technology.

OpenSignal’s State of LTE report released last week found that several operators around the world with LTE-Advanced networks are seeing their average speeds climbing. So there are plenty of networks, from the U.K. (EE) and Romania (Vodafone and Orange) to South Korea (KT, SK Telecom and LG U+) and Singapore (Singtel, StarHub and M1), on which these new Nexus phones can shine.

Google is also offering both devices on its own virtual operator Project Fi, but the U.S. will be a more difficult place to show off raw speed. Neither of Google’s partners T-Mobile and Sprint can support full-fledged LTE-Advanced speeds today, though Sprint has long promised to turn on ultra-fast networks in its 2500 MHz frequencies. When that day finally happens, Google’s new Nexus devices will be able to tap that network.

If you get your hands on either the Nexus 6P or 5X when they go on sale in October, we encourage you to download the OpenSignal app (available in Google Play). If you’re able to connect to one of these new LTE-Advanced networks, you’ll likely notice a significant boost in your Nexus’s performance — plus you’ll be contributing data to OpenSignal’s crowdsourced network testing community.

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