Verizon and AT&T's LTE Implementations Won't Be Compatible

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    PCMag reports that Verizon and AT&T's upcoming LTE ("4G") networks will be incompatible with each other:
    LTE is the next generation data transfer technology beyond 3G and is frequently labeled 4G.

    It turns out that AT&T and Verizon will be using different frequencies for their LTE implementations which will make it more difficult for manufacturers to support both networks. Of course, it's possible to support multiple networks in a single device, but it does require additional consideration in communication parts and antenna design.

    Apple presently offers two separate iPhone models to support Verizon's CDMA and AT&T's GSM networks, but Apple is expected to consolidate support into a single device with the iPhone 5. Meanwhile, rumors point to Apple holding off on supporting LTE until at least the 2012 iPhone revision.

    Article Link: Verizon and AT&T's LTE Implementations Won't Be Compatible
  2. macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2009
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    Well that's a shame. :( Was looking forward to a standard for once.
  3. macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2004
    Seems rather obvious, have they ever shared the same frequencies?
  4. macrumors regular


    Mar 3, 2009
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    seems to me that it would be financially beneficial to manufacturers and consumers to have standards which make it possible for cross compatibility?
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2011
    Gallifrey, 5124
    obvious that american wireless providers want to maintain their relative monopolies? yeah i guess so.

    Obvious as in the logical move? nope.

    to manufacturers and consumers yes, but not to the greedy carriers
  6. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    Even if they were sharing lte frequents it would not work because verizon would still use the same cdma fall back.
  7. macrumors 601


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Of course they aren't going to make it easy on us. They're wireless companies. They exist to piss us off and take our money. The only difference between now and five years ago is we have the iPhone and Apple to help us cope with their terrible service.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2009
    The reason they're on different frequencies is because that's how the FCC allocated the spectrum blocks. Also Verizon and AT&T each handle way too much traffic to share frequencies. This is no different than GSM operating on different frequencies. Phones for years have had quad band GSM radios, I'm sure that companies are already working up multiple-band LTE radios.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2003
    United States
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    They both use parts of the 700 MHz band. There's no real challenge to make a radio that covers all blocks of this band. If a device manufacturer, such as Apple, wants to make a universal phone for Verizon and ATT, it could be done.

    Problem is that the carriers have no incentive to encourage this behavior. Devices that are specific to narrow blocks of frequency are good for no one but the greedy carriers.

    Note that ATT also uses AWS band (1700/2100 MHz) for some of it's LTE deployment. But, the argument above still applies: world-mode phones have been around for awhile.
  10. macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    Wouldn't service degrade for everyone if all phones were connected at the same frequency?
  11. macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2008
    This isn't news and doesn't point to the fact the handset makers can't make handsets that will cover all the necessary frequencies. It comes down to cost for them and any stipulations carriers put on them lock their phone to their networks.
  12. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    Device engineer 30+ yrs, touchscreens 24+.
    As pointed out above, this is no different than GSM phones requiring support for many bands to be "world" phones. It took years before that happened, too.

    It's also similar to when UMTS-3G came out for GSM phones.

    Most people don't remember how much worry there was back then about compatibility, because there was no single worldwide 3G standard frequency. (There still isn't.)
  13. macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2004
    bay area, CA
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    Hooray for capitalism!
  14. macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2010
    Almost Rock Solid
    Carriers will all be dumb pipes soon

    The carriers are still trying to lock us in with early termination fees and incompatible technologies. Fending off their inevitable fate as they devolve into generic dumb pipes. I can't wait.
  15. macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2010
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    They should probably come to Europe to see how it is done properly across more than 40 countries. One phone only for all networks across Europe. The whole verizon - AT&T thing doesn't make sense.
  16. macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2011
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    Customers think twice about switching if they have to buy a new expensive phone plus break a contract. This benefits carriers and keeps prices high. If customers could jump carriers and keep their phone more would do so, carriers would have to offer better prices and service.
  17. macrumors regular

    May 6, 2003
    I agree COMPLETELY. Capitalism will give a market advantage to whoever provides a phone that works on multiple networks, across all bands, around the world - instead of having government mandated "standard phones" (see: TD-SCDMA) that won't work in other places.

    Capitalism will also drive the chip companies to make less-expensive, more-efficient radio/baseband processors, in an effort to secure design wins for those compatible phones, lowering prices and spurring innovation.

    Do you really think that if Apple decides that they want to simplify their manufacturing/stock management by releasing one iPhone that works across all networks (as rumored for the next iPhone), that the chip companies won't want that business?
  18. macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2009
    Like what was previously stated: it wouldn't matter because the CDMA network is incompatible with the GSM network.

    Now, if the phone has a "world radio" in it that can handle all network frequencies, then we're talking.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2005
    Apple should shove it to carriers and release a reprogrammable SIM card in the phone. UP YOURS ATT & VERIZON!

    Edit: I'm glad apple is at least willing to give us FREE sms amongst ios5 devices. Take that ATT and shove your f'n text fees cuz you suck and charge me something that costs you $0.00!

    Edit2: If text fee's aren't robbery, I don't know what is.

    Edit3: I'll stop w/ the edits, it's just I'm very passionate about how much North America cell carriers suck (at least in the US)
  20. macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    This was known way back when they had the 700 MHz spectrum auction. Shouldn't surprise anyone.

    Also, remember that the qualcomm radio inside the verizon iphone 4 is penta-band GSM along with being CDMA. They can just as easily add two LTE bands for their forthcoming 28nm LTE chips.

    The real problem will be China's largest carrier (name escapes me) who have a proprietary LTE implementation.
  21. macrumors 6502


    May 29, 2009
    Boston, MA
  22. macrumors 603


    Jul 11, 2006
    The carriers would love that as they are the only ones who would benefit. It would kill unlocking.

    As for the implementations of LTE being incompatible I have to say it doesn't surprise me at all. It's a little annoying but not surprising.
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2010
    Philadelphia, Pa, USA
    What's the big deal? I'm mystified by everyone being surprised.
  24. macrumors 65816


    Dec 8, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Actually no, the method I heard Apple propose is one where they, rather than the carriers, have control over the SIM, and provide carrier switching through them, to make the entire process through one company. Apple has motivation to do this while the carriers don't. It's too bad this also means the carriers would never agree to it...
  25. macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    * Yes, this has been assumed for a while, the news is that it's confirmed

    * The Chinese company you are thinking of is China Mobile. Note, they are pursuing TD-LTE, but it is not proprietary in any way, it's a companion standard to FD-LTE.

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