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In this paper we propose a modification to Shannon capacity bound in order to facilitate accurate benchmarking of UTRAN long term evolution (LTE). The method is generally applicable to wireless communication systems, while we have used LTE air-interface technology as a case study. We introduce an adjusted Shannon capacity formula, where we take into account the system bandwidth efficiency and the SNR efficiency of LTE. Separating these issues, allows for simplified parameter extraction. We show that the bandwidth efficiency can be calculated based on system parameters, while the SNR efficiency is extracted from detailed link level studies including advanced features of MIMO and frequency domain packet scheduling (FDPS). We then use the adjusted Shannon capacity formula combined with G-factor distributions for macro and micro cell scenarios to predict LTE cell spectral efficiency (SE). Such LTE SE predictions are compared to LTE cell SE results generated by system level simulations. The results show an excellent match of less that 5-10% deviation.