Don't compare 3G in 2007 to 4G in 2011: Why coverage isn't an issue re: LTE iPhone

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by parseckadet, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. parseckadet macrumors 6502a

    parseckadet

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    Denver, CO
    #1
    I know there are a lot of posts discussing whether the next iPhone will include LTE, and there are a lot of rumors swirling around. But I've yet to see anyone do this type of comparison before, so I thought it warranted a new thread. Mods, if you disagree please feel free to merge this with the relevant thread, or just direct me there and I'll post there.

    A lot of people are saying one reason Apple won't include LTE is because it just isn't widespread enough yet. They cite Apple's decision to leave 3G out of the first iPhone, and wait instead until 2008 before including it. If you follow that logic, then one might determine that AT&T's 3G coverage in 2008 is a good barometer of what Apple feels is a good baseline coverage before including a new radio technology in their phone. Well, I was able to find this map from 2008:
    att3gcoverahemap.jpg

    Now, judging by AT&T's LTE coverage today, it would seem reasonable to think that Apple would not bother with LTE this year. But the big factor that changes everything is Verizon. Here's Verizon's 4G coverage today:
    verizon4g.JPG

    Am I the only one who thinks these are actually fairly similar? Throw in the fact that AT&T has service available in 5 cities, with 11 more planned to come online in the next few months and things start to get interesting. Whatever decision Apple makes they're going to have to live with for the next 9-12 months. Competition is getting much tougher than it was in 2007, where you already see plenty of Android phones either already available or coming before the end of the year with LTE. And I think Windows phones will be a factor before next summer as well. Given that, and the fact that coverage, at least on one carrier, is similar to what 3G was back in 2008 on AT&T (the only carrier then), I'm lead to believe that Apple won't rule out LTE for coverage reasons alone.

    Now, there are still some BIG caveats. Can Apple get access to LTE chipsets that are small enough and meet their power usage requirements? This is an area where I have no clue at all, and it still wouldn't surprise me if Apple doesn't include LTE next week. But, I will say that if they leave it out, it certainly WON'T be because of coverage issues.

    Edit to add: Credit where credit is due. The first image I found on a blog post here: AT&T 3G Coverage Map – Not A Lot of Blue!
     
  2. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

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    #2
    I don't think Apple ever said coverage was a problem. Power has always been the problem (even with 3G). Coverage was used by folks on the forum as a potential justification.
     
  3. mnsportsgeek macrumors 65816

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  4. lsvtecjohn3 macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    What about coverage outside the US? In 2007 the US was far behind the rest of the world in 3G coverage. In 2011 the US is ahead of most of the world with LTE coverage. There isn't enough coverage around the world for Apple to use LTE, also power consumption is a issue.
     
  5. Nachoconqueso macrumors regular

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    Aug 17, 2011
    #5
    Didn't they say it was because the chip made the phones too bulky? I know battery life is an issue, but has someone from Apple specifically mentioned battery life as the main reason?
     
  6. b166er macrumors 68020

    b166er

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    #6
    I think right now Apple doesn't want to compromise on battery life or the overall width of the phone. Personally, I don't really care how wide the phone is because chances are they would just find a way to squeeze more battery in there. But Apple usually doesn't back track with things like that.

    If they could put 4G chips into a casing that was as thin or thinner than the iPhone 4 without compromising on battery life I think they would.

    The other factor is expense- I don't see Apple charging more than $300ish and right now including 4G in that tiny package might not be cost effective.
     
  7. Agent-P macrumors 68030

    Agent-P

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    #7
    I agree. I think battery life is the main reason. But even of they release the phone with LTE, I think I will kep it turned off unless I really need it. I like the great battery life all the iPhones have provided.
     
  8. Savor Suspended

    Savor

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #8
    The thing is there is they can always put a switch to turn on LTE or not similar to 3G and Edge. I think battery life is just a scapegoat. Might as well release one this year and get with the times with other current LTE phones. That way, they can be more familiar with it and improve upon battery life for it next year.
     
  9. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

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    Jul 6, 2009
    #9
    All the red in the map posted above is not LTE. Specifically, see the map below.

    [​IMG]

    I'm not saying the coverage is poor/excellent, by any means. I just wanted to point that out.

    *EDIT* Looks like the dark red areas are LTE. Alright, cool. There wasn't a key on the map so I wasn't sure what I was looking at. I guess I'll still leave this map up though.
     
  10. beaner454 macrumors regular

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    Apr 22, 2003
    #10
    There's a reason Apple's customer satisfaction ratings are always so high. They give you out of the box a great experience. Is it the best most optimized experience? No. But what you get is extremely usable with little to know tweaking. If you gave people an LTE iPhone that sucked down power, but put in a preference to turn it off (just like 3g and edge now), you'd find a bunch of novices complaining about how ****** their battery is. They wouldn't know about, let alone be able to find, the network settings switch. Apple's mantra has always been, if it's not ready don't ship it.
     
  11. jrodsep macrumors 6502

    jrodsep

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    Jun 29, 2010
    #11
    All I know that my decision to get the iPhone 5 will be make because of LTE. If the new iphone gets LTE I will not buy it. I can't afford a new data plan price (supposedly $50 for 5GB). If the new iphone gets HSPA+ or "faux"G I will get the new version because I can continue with my current price/plan.
     
  12. mpossoff macrumors 68020

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    #12
    LTE only matters for data cards. HSPA+ is better for high speed hand set data because of battery life and device size.
     
  13. Reaper0bot0 macrumors regular

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    Dec 28, 2010
    #13
    jrodsep, don't confuse a data plan for an aircard or a tablet with that of a smartphone. They ain't the same (on AT&T) on 3G, they ain't the same on 4G.
     
  14. vitzr macrumors 68030

    vitzr

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    #14
    A characteristic of the "system" in the USA is usually a battle of incompatible standards. Therefore there's no purpose in comparing. True hi speed connectivity USA wide, is a ways off into the future.
     
  15. shadrap macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Since Sprint is getting the iPhone, you got to admit it is coincidental that they are having a meeting October 7th announcing their migration to LTE.

    If it doesn't have LTE, I don't believe they will have the HSPA+ active.
     
  16. drober30 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    It could be that the extra delay for the iPhone 5 was so the chip manufacture could tweak the chip according to Apples specs.

    Maybe the chip manufacture said they could meet the specs but had a set back?

    I'm hoping for 4G but will be extremely disappointed if the carriers try to charge more for the service because I just cant justify spending more than the $150 a month our iPhones cost us now.
     
  17. mpossoff macrumors 68020

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    #17
    Correct me if I'm wrong since hspa+ is 3G technology it wouldn't be difficult at all to have an hspa+ iPhone. My iPhone on AT&T averages 3-4 down.
     
  18. jrodsep macrumors 6502

    jrodsep

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    #18
    Have you heard of any specific info regarding phones? I actually thought that $50 for 5gb was for phones.
     
  19. parseckadet thread starter macrumors 6502a

    parseckadet

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    #19
    This might be a decent point. However the following article was linked to in another thread:
    LTE May Kill the World Phone

    Essentially there are going to be too many LTE bands across the world to make a single device that can support them all. So if that's the case, Apple is going to have to make separate versions for North America, Europe, and Asia at the very least (maybe even more if I understand the article correctly).

    If they're going to have to make separate versions anyway, then why wait for the rest of the world to catch up to the US before including LTE? Just make two versions, one for North America which includes LTE, and one for the rest of the world that doesn't. Perhaps this explains the whole iPhone 4S vs. iPhone 5 issue as well. Just throwing it out there.
     

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