The step counter works separate from the GPS. GPS positioning measure distance better than the step counter alone. The GPS function does not need to use the cellular watch connection (on the LTE model). I have the GW LTE model but never activated LTE. Since the watch is specified to have A-GPS (assistance over internet) it should acquire the position much faster and better if it can access internet via Bluetooth to the phone cellular connection but I have used the Watch GPS standalone also.