The much appreciated Nexus 4, the newest addition to the Nexus line received mixed reviews and it somehow enjoyed the critics of some who denigrated it over the lack of LTE support for their beloved U.S carriers. But as it turned out to be, the latter does indeed come with an LTE chip, for the record the iFixit teardown clearly demonstrated that it had a Qualcomm WTR1605L Seven-Band 4G LTE chip which natively supports 4G LTE bands.
But interestingly Google opted to switch off the 4G features, siding with HSPA+ in the process. The device could well indeed have LTE enabled but it would be of no use because the device does not have a built-in LTE radio to send and receive LTE data.
The reason is pretty simple, the Nexus 4 is actually a rebranded version of the Optimus G with minor differences on the PCB, so it didn’t need to institute a new process to remove the chip, and in turn, increase overall manufacturing costs. It probably costs more to include an LTE chip, but maybe not as much as it would to remove it and tweak the hardware.
Nevertheless, Google could introduce an LTE variant in the coming months if Verizon, Sprint or AT&T express their desire to have Nexus 4 supported in their 4G networks.