Understanding LTE User Equipment Categories

What are the different LTE UE Categories defined by 3GPP?

LTE 
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Editorial Team - everything RF

May 28, 2020

LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the fourth-generation (4G) of wireless cellular services for smartphones and mobile devices. The 4G/LTE Standard was developed by 3GPP to provide higher voice bandwidth and data services than 3G.

The LTE protocol uses the LTE UE (User Equipment) Categories to define the performance specifications of an LTE device. Each LTE category has fixed parameters like datarates, power, bandwidth, etc. which tells users or base stations what to expect from a device. For example, LTE Category M1 is the standard used for IOT Devices and requires low data rates whereas LTE Category 18 supports very high data rates and can be used for FWA or other higher data rate applications. LTE devices usually relay their LTE UE category to a base station, which then communicate with the device accordingly.

There are 22 different LTE UE categories that have been defined in lastest 3GPP release 13.

LTE UE Categories

   LTE UE Categories   

Downlink (Mbits/s)

Uplink (Mbits/s)

3GPP Release

NB1

0.68

1

Rel 13

M1

1

1

Rel 13

Category 0

1.0

1.0

Rel 12

Category 1

10.3

5.2

Rel 8

Category 2

51.0

25.5

Rel 8

Category 3

102.0

51.0

Rel 8

Category 4

150.8

51.0

Rel 8

Category 5

299.6

75.4

Rel 8

Category 6

301.5

51.0

Rel 10

Category 7

301.5

102.0

Rel 10

Category 8

2,998.6

1,497.8

Rel 10

Category 9

452.2

51.0

Rel 11

Category 10

452.2

102.0

Rel 11

Category 11

603

51

Rel 11

Category 12

603

102

Rel 11

Category 13

391.7

150.8

Rel 12

Category 14

3,917

9,585

Rel 12

Category 15

750

226

Rel 12

Category 16

979

N/A

Rel 12

Category 17

25,065

N/A

Rel 13

Category 18

1174

N/A

Rel 13

Category 19

1566

N/A

Rel 13