Apple to sell 3 variants of iPhone 5 for international LTE coverage

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  • Reply 21 of 39
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ronm88 View Post


     


    Can you explain a bit more? How do you think the tranceivers differ between the versions?


     


    If Apple lists the CDMA version as supporting LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25) while the GSM A1429 supports only LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5), shouldn't the CDMA version be able to use LTE anywhere the GSM version can?



    Not necessarily. There are differences in the encoding. I can't give exact reasons. I'd have to study it, and it's very complex. But the others are are on different bands, and the transeivers can't carry all of those bands and encoding at the present time. Remember that last year, LTE needed its own chip, and before that, so did both GSM and CDMA.


     


    Next year it may be different.

  • Reply 22 of 39
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ronm88 View Post


    Apple spec sheet implies that there is no battery penalty to using LTE.


     


    Browsing time:

    Up to 8 hours on LTE

    Up to 8 hours on 3G



    Talk time too.

  • Reply 23 of 39

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Not necessarily. There are differences in the encoding. I can't give exact reasons. I'd have to study it, and it's very complex. But the others are are on different bands, and the transeivers can't carry all of those bands and encoding at the present time. Remember that last year, LTE needed its own chip, and before that, so did both GSM and CDMA.


     


    Next year it may be different.



    In this case - I think it's a software configuration only.  This page makes it clearer that there are just 2 models, but one model has two software configurations:


    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3939?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US#iPhone5


     


    The rest will just be mobile carrier settings, e.g.: (not updated for iPhone 5 yet):


    http://www.unlockit.co.nz/mobilesettings/


     


    However if you buy the device from a CDMA carrier they may 'switch off' or 'lock' the GSM features out, ditto the GSM carrier.  If you buy a fully unlocked CDMA/GSM phone then I'm guessing the GSM portion will be easy enough to reconfigure, but not the CDMA part.  So for a global roamer the best bet would be a fully unlocked CDMA/GSM phone from a CDMA carrier (e.g.: Verizon).  In a week or two hopefully there will be some tests done.  

  • Reply 24 of 39
    At least I finally got an answer to the question I've been asking for well over a year. 7 LTE bands and that's just the major markets. Doesn't feel too good to be right seeing that being right means a split in the HW design.
  • Reply 25 of 39
    ajmasajmas Posts: 600member
    Not being a comms guy, is this an indication that there is no one chip to cover all the various implementations and that adding multiple chips would have been too complicated?

    Hopefully the iPhone 5s, when it comes out, will address this, since as a user I shouldn't need to wrap my head around where my phone is 4G and where it isn't.

    Edit: Just read up on something called SDR. Is the logic for dealing with encoding and decoding hardware based or now in software?
  • Reply 26 of 39


    Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

    …is this an indication that there is no one chip to cover all the various implementations and that adding multiple chips would have been too complicated?

    Hopefully the iPhone 5s, when it comes out, will address this…


     


    Nope. Apple can't just throw money at a problem and solve it, regardless of their determination, chip engineers, or desire to work at it. That will never happen.

  • Reply 27 of 39
    ajmas wrote: »
    Not being a comms guy, is this an indication that there is no one chip to cover all the various implementations and that adding multiple chips would have been too complicated?
    Hopefully the iPhone 5s, when it comes out, will address this, since as a user I shouldn't need to wrap my head around where my phone is 4G and where it isn't.
    Edit: Just read up on something called SDR. Is the logic for dealing with encoding and decoding hardware based or now in software?

    Right, no one chip could do it. There never been a single chip model for any cellular handset to date. There are single chips that combine GSM/UMTS, and later CDMA/CDMA2000/GSM/UMTS, and now CDMA/CDMA2000/GSM/UMTS/LTE, but those aren't all the chips needed. There are all the different operating bands (i.e.: frequencies) that need to be used. Now you can't just add more of these operating band chips to the device.

    The baseband chips — in this case the Qualcomm MDM9615 — can only support so many, even if they aren't being used. Now you can interchange them but there is an upper limit to this. There is also a real financial cost in the chips, the complexity and testing of the R&D, the power consumption, internal space, and a few other areas.

    This iPhone 5 with 5 LTE operating bands is impressive. I've never seen that many in any LTE device. The new iPad only has 2. If it could support at least 3 back then they could have (theoretically) eliminated an entire set of SKUs by combining the the AT&T and Verizon models. This is impressive. It was only in 2010 that we saw our first products with 5 operating bands in '3G'; first with a Nokia phone and then with the iPhone 4. This is impressive.


    edit: I wrote it about in post script last month. Either people didn't understand what I thought was clear or no cared then.
    PS: I'm most concerned with how Apple will do LTE operating bands for the rest of the world. It's one thing to focus on the US for the iPad but a smartphone is different. While LTE uses the same baseband they do need different HW for different markets (read: countries) for the operating bands. Maybe Qualcomm was able to make them a baseband that allowed for a half-dozen or more operating bands but I doubt it. I'm thinking we'll see LTE iPhones that are now regionalized because of the LTE bands.
  • Reply 28 of 39
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,164member
    The GSM A1429 might just be the CDMA version with the CDMA turned off in the qualcomm chip firmware
  • Reply 29 of 39


    What do you mean  "the hodgepodge of different LTE frequency bands used by various carriers globally"?


     


    It seems the rest of the world (yes that is more than 3 countries) are using bands 1, 3 and 5 yet the US telcos are left with bands the rest of the world are not using. If you ask me the FCC or whoever is responsible for allocating the bands has it all backwards!

  • Reply 30 of 39
    aspenboy wrote: »
    holy cow, this is confusing!

    Better hope your iPhone doesn't break when you are traveling. You might not be able to get it replaced at the stores
  • Reply 31 of 39

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    This iPhone 5 with 5 LTE operating bands is impressive. I've never seen that many in any LTE device.


     


    Actually you have. Just about a week ago on the new Nokia Lumia's and the discussion we had on this site about this very speculation.


     


    The Nokia's do Quad-band on 3G and penta-band LTE, whereas the GSM version of the iPhone5 does only Quad-band 3G and tri-band LTE. Interesting as to why the difference? I would have thought they both use Qualcomm chipsets.


     


    Also of interest is the difference in supported operating bands:


     


    The Nokia supports:


     


    LTE 800,900,1800,2100 & 2600


     


    iPhone5 supports:


     


    850, 1800 & 2100 on the GSM phone. Wonder why the differing selection? The most interesting one is the omission of 2600 MHz band, which seems to be the band where a large number of non-NA networks operate.


     


    Would have to do some analysis on subscriber counts and number of operators on each band to see if there is a reason to be found there.

  • Reply 32 of 39
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jahonen View Post


     


    Actually you have. Just about a week ago on the new Nokia Lumia's and the discussion we had on this site about this very speculation.


     


    The Nokia's do Quad-band on 3G and penta-band LTE, whereas the GSM version of the iPhone5 does only Quad-band 3G and tri-band LTE. Interesting as to why the difference? I would have thought they both use Qualcomm chipsets.


     


    Also of interest is the difference in supported operating bands:


     


    The Nokia supports:


     


    LTE 800,900,1800,2100 & 2600


     


    iPhone5 supports:


     


    850, 1800 & 2100 on the GSM phone. Wonder why the differing selection? The most interesting one is the omission of 2600 MHz band, which seems to be the band where a large number of non-NA networks operate.


     


    Would have to do some analysis on subscriber counts and number of operators on each band to see if there is a reason to be found there.



     


    I assume that the new Lumia uses a Qualcomm chipset too. Window Phone's chipset support is very poor and usually favours Qualcomm.


     


    The new Kindle Fire 4G apparently supports 10 LTE bands.

  • Reply 33 of 39
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    ajmas wrote: »
    Not being a comms guy, is this an indication that there is no one chip to cover all the various implementations and that adding multiple chips would have been too complicated?
    Hopefully the iPhone 5s, when it comes out, will address this, since as a user I shouldn't need to wrap my head around where my phone is 4G and where it isn't.
    Edit: Just read up on something called SDR. Is the logic for dealing with encoding and decoding hardware based or now in software?

    It's not the chip, it's the power amplifiers. You can only put so many into one device without sacrificing battery life and PCB space. Wait for the iFixit teardown before deciding which model is suitable for globetrotting.

    My opinion is that we will never see SDR in a mobile phone. SDR comes at great expense in battery life, and is more useful in devices that can spare the performance (do you remember "winmodem" devices, same idea, anyone who had one can tell you how their computer's performance/laptop battery tanked the second the winmodem was engaged) like a laptop and the PCB space for having all the required power amplifiers. You need one PA per frequency supported. So on a GSM model, you already need 800/900/1800/1900/2100 to support world GSM/UMTS/HSPA+, and then you need a series of different PA's for each LTE band not already covered by the GSM frequencies.

    IMO, The reason the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 have "two models" one for CDMA and one for GSM has more to deal with PCB space than it does anything else. The iPad has the same limitation because it's based on the same radio part from the iPhone. They could support every band at once, but would require many PA parts, of which most won't ever be used. I think at some point in the future once every country has rolled out their LTE networks, there will be a "global LTE" model that only contains the PA's for the most common LTE configurations, not all of them, removing support for CDMA and pre-LTE fallbacks. We're not at this stage yet.

    The iPod Touch however is basically the previous generation iPhone PCB minus the radio entirely. That's why there's no "data-only" wireless configuration for it, it would cost the same as the iPhone if it did.
  • Reply 34 of 39
    jahonen wrote: »
    Actually you have. Just about a week ago on the new Nokia Lumia's and the discussion we had on this site about this very speculation.

    The Nokia's do Quad-band on 3G and penta-band LTE, whereas the GSM version of the iPhone5 does only Quad-band 3G and tri-band LTE. Interesting as to why the difference? I would have thought they both use Qualcomm chipsets.

    Also of interest is the difference in supported operating bands:

    The Nokia supports:

    LTE 800,900,1800,2100 & 2600

    iPhone5 supports:

    850, 1800 & 2100 on the GSM phone. Wonder why the differing selection? The most interesting one is the omission of 2600 MHz band, which seems to be the band where a large number of non-NA networks operate.

    Would have to do some analysis on subscriber counts and number of operators on each band to see if there is a reason to be found there.

    Nice! Looks like I'm a week behind on tech news.


    richl wrote: »
    I assume that the new Lumia uses a Qualcomm chipset too. Window Phone's chipset support is very poor and usually favours Qualcomm.

    The new Kindle Fire 4G apparently supports 10 LTE bands.

    I'm not so sure of that. The stated it supports LTE and that it supports 10 bands but I don't recall them specifically stating 10 LTE bands. It seems pretty ambiguous. Between the iPad or iPhone Apple support more than 10 bands on the device.

    It would be cool if Amazon was able to develop a variable 10 LTE radio chip but that seems overly advanced for a company that's still very new to HW. Why wasn't Apple or Qualcomm able to do this?
  • Reply 35 of 39

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by amiga_tone View Post


    What do you mean  "the hodgepodge of different LTE frequency bands used by various carriers globally"?


     


    It seems the rest of the world (yes that is more than 3 countries) are using bands 1, 3 and 5 



     


    Not really. Europe, for example, is using bands 3, 7 and 20 (1800, 2600 and 800 MHz). While other smartphone makers are bringing now LTE smartphones to the European market which support at least these three, the iPhone 5 only supports band 3 (1800 MHz). Even for the Deutsche Telekom network in Germany (one of the compatible networks advertised by Apple), this is not without problem: DT uses 800 MHz and 1800 MHz, the lower frequency is used mostly in rural areas. The rural 4G LTE coverage on 800 MHz is probably by now better than the rural 3G coverage (also due to regulatory requirements). Unfortunately, as a DT customer, you will not be able to take advantage of this with an iPhone 5. All in all, the choice of frequency bands is rather disappointing from a European perspective...

  • Reply 36 of 39

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by amiga_tone View Post


    What do you mean  "the hodgepodge of different LTE frequency bands used by various carriers globally"?


     


    It seems the rest of the world (yes that is more than 3 countries) are using bands 1, 3 and 5 yet the US telcos are left with bands the rest of the world are not using. If you ask me the FCC or whoever is responsible for allocating the bands has it all backwards!



     


    Currently bands 3, 4 & 7 are by far the more common ones if you count the number of operators and countries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks


     


    1 & 5 seem to be very rare as far as current deployments go (only seen in South Korea, Japan & Philippines).

  • Reply 37 of 39
    aiaaia Posts: 181member


    I asked this question in another thread but it's more appropriate here, so... any guesses as to which version will support TD-LTE on China Mobile?

  • Reply 38 of 39

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jahonen View Post


     


    Currently bands 3, 4 & 7 are by far the more common ones if you count the number of operators and countries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks


     


    1 & 5 seem to be very rare as far as current deployments go (only seen in South Korea, Japan & Philippines).



    Except that South Korea & Japan are countries with some of the most extensive cell networks - making them a very attractive market.

  • Reply 39 of 39

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by elehcdn View Post


    Except that South Korea & Japan are countries with some of the most extensive cell networks - making them a very attractive market.



     


    That's why the "as far as deployments go" and the previous post I made about "need to analyze subscriber numbers at some point". The other thing is that both SK and Japan also deploy the 1800MHz band. So the 2100 band is still the odd one out and surprising that they selected to support that instead of 2600MHz, which would have given more in terms of the number of countries with "extensive cell networks". So the subscriber number calculations per band would still clarify the issue a bit.


     


    The cell networks there are extensive, but no more extensive than say the European ones, or the ones in Singapore, or Australia, or Malaysia or...

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