Lowest end Huawei modem & iPhone/Galaxy that supports 4G LTE

Posted on 2014-04-05
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-04-08
My telco just informed that in a week's time, my data SIM
card's plan will be upgraded from 3G to 4G LTE.

Was told by the Telco that:
a) I don't have to swap the SIM card: the same existing
    3G SIM card will auto-support 4G LTE without the
    need to change SIM card.  Is it true that a 3G SIM
    could support 4G LTE (just the Telco needs to set
    /program my number to 4G LTE) ?

b) the Huawei USB modems that I have are E220 &
     E173.  What's the lowest-cost Huawei that support
     4G LTE?  What's the lowest-end Huawei that works
     with USB 3 ports?  I'll need a dialler version that
     comes with the Huawei modem that supports
     Win 7 64bit, Win XP 32bit & OS-X Mountain Lion
     (or newer OS-X)

c) What's the lowest end Galaxy Note & iPhone that
    support 4G LTE tethering?  (ie use the phone that
    has a 4G SIM card in it as Wifi hotspot sharing)?
    What's the lowest version of Android & IOS needed
    to support 4G LTE or it's purely a hardware matter
    that's not related to the OS of the phone?
Question by:sunhux
LVL 37

Accepted Solution

Kimputer earned 840 total points
ID: 39980530
A) Yes your telco isn't lying to you! Sometimes you _can_ trust them. 4G ability doesn't depend on the SIM card (it's purely used to identify you).
B) from the top of my head, you need an Huawei E3131 for 4G, but USB3 support isn't really an issue, as 4G download speeds surely won't surpass USB2 speeds.
C) All high end Galaxy phones (starting from the very first Galaxy S!!!) supported hotspot functions, if not by Android, then by Samsung itself. iPhones probably after iOS5 or 6, but networks (your telco) can disable this function (meaning, this option is greyed out, while a friend with the same phone, same iOS version, but different telco, will have this option). Tethering is an Operating System function, and it doesn't depend on 3G or 4G, if it allows tethering, it just tethers the data connection.
LVL 20

Assisted Solution

darbid73 earned 640 total points
ID: 39980843
Hi sunhux,

1. A sim card is a legacy piece of plastic that has not changed in years except for the amount of plastic it contains (size).  If the Telco base stations support 4G or LTE then they need do only 1 thing, let your account use it.  One switch of a button somewhere in you account with them.

2. The Huawei E3131 looks cheap to me too even though it does not fit your requirements of USB3.  I tried to find a cheap USB3 Version but got up to much higher prices and still did not find one.  I dont think it is worth it to get a USB3 version.

3. Teathering is also something most phones do.  If you are buying a Samsung or Apple smartphone that is brand new they have the capability to do it.  HOWEVER PLEASE NOTE the telco must allow you to teather.  A Telco can turn this on and off and for example in the case of the iphone the possibility to turn this on will then be gone from your settings.  Even if they dont do this it would be best to ask your telco if they plan on not allowing you to teather.

Note opinion that might not be shared by everyone - I would not buy a Huawei product.  It is a 100% Chinese company.  There is a big difference between buying something made in China (Apple for example) and something that is 100% Chinese.

Author Comment

ID: 39981244
One local store that has run out of Huawei modems stock told me
there's an E3267 (maybe I got the number wrong as recalling from
memory) that supports 4G LTE over at this country.

So E3131 could support Win 7 (64 bit) & Mac OS-X Mountain Lion
& Win XP ?  The dialler that comes with it run on those 3 OSes ?

So I can still insert my 4G Data SIM card into the very same
E220 / E173 modems & use them as 3G?  So far Huawei modems
only broke down once for the last 8 years I've used them.

Just curious, what's the reason for not buying a "100% Chinese company" 's
product?  Due to product quality or the Chinese's international trade
practices or ? Lenovo is now 100% Chinese-owned.

I know some items that I bought from dx.com are of very poor quality
& it's difficult to return but as I'm based in SOuthEast Asia, buying
items from other  countries may run into similar issue with warranties
unless there's international  warranty that's covered in my country.
Returning items will cost too much in terms of shipping but a couple
of Amazon dealers are willing to do partial refund when I emailed
that the products have defects
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 39981284
Hi sunhux,

Lets get you set up and working and not worry so much about the manufacturer.

To put your mind at ease your provided your SIM card is the same size you can put it into any device you want, 2G/3G/LTE and stick, modem phone or tablet.  It will work.  But it will only work to the speed in which your account allows.  Note there are at least 3 sizes of SIM cards these days and that is going to be a limiting factor here.

So the 1st question for me would be what is the size of the SIM card needed for you stick.  If it is the wrong size you are going to have to order a new sim card from your provider.  

The E3267 should do what you want.  Huawei at least says it is compatible with Win7 and Mac.  They don't say x64 but these days they should be able to do both.  But it is only USB2.0.
LVL 17

Assisted Solution

by:Sikhumbuzo Ntsada
Sikhumbuzo Ntsada earned 520 total points
ID: 39982213
LTE/ 4G is a service, as long as your Data provider has enabled it to you, it will work with your SIM card.

You will need a device that is LTE / 4G compatible - iPhone 5, (s), (c) up are compatible and also Samsung 4s upwards are compatible.

Huawei E392 are common devices that I see most people use and are affordable.

Author Comment

ID: 39982516
Ok, we shall not venture into other topics.

> So the 1st question for me would be what is the size of the SIM card needed for
> your stick
Currently my SIM is standard SIM (not mini SIM & not micro SIM).  I have a
micro to standard SIM adapter & a mini to standard SIM adapter, so regardless
of which USB modem (including iPhone 5), I should be fine, right?

> Huawei E392
Is this device of lower cost than E3131  & E3267 & can it support 4G ie comes
with a dialler that works on Win 7 & Mac OS-X & Win XP that gives 4G speed?
Any online link that I can order it online is appreciated.

Yes, my Telco allows tethering: is Tethering speed & stability of connection
via Wifi compromised  compared to plugging it using a Huawei directly to
the laptop's USB?  I've seen my colleague using tethering with Wifi connection
that often drop (he's using iPhone 4 on 3G)

Author Comment

ID: 39982613
USB2 is fine as it's not the bottleneck

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