Galaxy S4 with LTE-Advanced: A phone faster than the US can handle

Samsung is working on an LTE-Advanced version of its Galaxy S4 smart phone. But it's unclear when carrier technology will catch up to the phone. 

Samsung exec J.K. Shin holds up Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphone at an event in New York in this 2013 file photo. Samsung plans to sell a variation of its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone that will transmit data at nearly twice the normal speed, Shin said this week.

Samsung is prepping a super-fast version of its globally-popular Galaxy S4 smart phone, Samsung mobile business chief J.K. Shin has told Reuters. 

According to Mr. Shin, the newest iteration of the S4 will utilize LTE-Advanced technology, which comes close to doubling the data download speeds of the current-model Galaxy S4. So how fast will this new Galaxy S4 be? Well, some estimates suggest that an LTE-Advanced equipped tablet or smart phone could hit peak download speeds of 3 gigabits per second and peak upload speeds of 1.5 gigabits per second. 

By comparison, AT&T's regular old 4G LTE network – the best in the country – boasts average download speeds of 16.7 megabits per second and average upload speeds of approximately 7.4 megabits per second (hat tip to Don Reisinger of CNET). 

Couple things to note here. First is that Samsung sure is getting a whole lot of mileage out of that Galaxy S4 brand. There's the regular Galaxy S4, and the Galaxy S4 Mini, and last week, we got word of the Galaxy S4 Zoom, which packs many of the same features as the more traditional Galaxy S4 Mini smart phone, and also a 16-megapixel, 10X optical zoom lens. 

Second is that the reality of a super fast phone may be a few years off. After all, it's one thing to slap an LTE-Advanced antenna on a smart phone, and it's another to have an LTE-Advanced network to tap into. 

"Russian carrier Yota [has an LTE-Advanced network], and AT&T plans to begin rolling one out later this year," writes John Paczkowski of All Things D. "Verizon and T-Mobile are working on LTE-Advanced deployments, as well. But it will be some time before we see the sort of ubiquitous coverage necessary to get the best use out of this new Galaxy S4 that Samsung’s planning." 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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