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The Nokia 3310 finally gets the 4G LTE update it needs

It arrives in early February, starting with a single market.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

When we first saw the retro Nokia 3310 last February, it was nostalgia-laced love at first sight

The colorful little phone reminded us of simpler times when T9Word was the best way to text your friends and before you'd "accidentally" spend hours scrolling through social media feeds. But although nostalgia helped the phone gain its appeal, using it was like taking a step back to the cell phone stone age.

Now the Nokia 3310 is getting a much-needed update. HMD Global, the company behind today's Nokia phone brand, announced the Nokia 3310 4G, which will come with 4G LTE connectivity like most other modern smartphones, allowing you to connect to the internet at much faster speeds.

The 4G Nokia also can be used as a portable WiFi hotspot to access the internet on other devices, and it comes with VoLTE, allowing you to call someone using your 4G connection even if the voice network is weak. Besides that, the phone is just like the standard Nokia 3310 with similar specs and design.

So far, we know that the Nokia 3310 4G is coming to China in early February, but we aren't sure which other markets will get it  and when. The 3G version of the phone came to the US in late October, 8 months after it was first announced globally, but a 4G update would definitely be welcome. We're also hoping to see the 4G version in other global markets.

China is an important market for many phone makers, who look at the world's most populous country as a quick way to gain global market share. The Nokia 3310's rock-bottom price tag could help it get a foothold in cities and provinces where citizens can't afford to buy the highest-priced smartphones.

Perhaps we'll hear more about the 3310 4G at next month's Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show, where -- in addition to 3310 news -- we were promised to see something "awesome." Last year, HMD unveiled a slew of phones at MWC, including the Nokia 3310.

HMD Global did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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