Korean Carriers Reportedly Negotiating with Apple for 800/1800 MHz LTE Service on Next iPhone

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Apple's next-generation iPhone is of course expected to support LTE connectivity in at least some markets, but given differences in LTE frequency bands around the world it is interesting to note that The Korea Times reports (via The Next Web) on comments from sources at current iPhone partners SK Telecom and KT claiming that they are currently in negotiations with Apple over LTE service for the forthcoming device.
"KT is in negotiation with Apple to persuade the latter to support KT's 1.8-gigahertz frequency in Korea for the upcoming iPhone," said one senior KT executive, asking not to be identified. KT spokeswoman Kim Yoon-jeong declined to confirm.

The company, which joined the race for LTE-enabled smartphones later rivals SK and LG, is trying to persuade Apple to have its new iPhone support LTE connectivity, according to KT officials.

SK Telecom is also pushing for the same. Officials from the nation's biggest mobile carrier are currently in Apple headquarters in California to persuade Apple to support SK's LTE frequency for its local customers.
It is unclear, however, exactly what SK Telecom and KT are attempting to achieve in their efforts to "persuade" Apple to support their LTE frequencies on the next-generation iPhone, given that the hardware capabilities of the device have long been finalized. If the hardware does support the Korean carriers' frequencies and the negotiations are simply over contractual terms, it would suggest that there could be significant expansion of international LTE compatibility for the iPhone compared to the third-generation iPad.




The third-generation iPad supports LTE only over the 700 MHz and 2100 MHz frequency bands, with only a handful of carriers including AT&T and Verizon in the United States and Bell, Rogers, and Telus in Canada being supported for the device. With SK Telecom using the 800 MHz band as its primary LTE spectrum and 1800 MHz as a secondary band, and KT operating solely on 1800 MHz, the next-generation iPhone hardware would need to have new LTE frequency support for service on those carriers to even be possible. Notably, the 800 MHz and 1800 MHz bands are also the spectrum being used for LTE in Europe, Australia, and other markets, and thus hardware compatibility with those frequencies could significantly expand the number of countries and carriers on which the next iPhone could support LTE connectivity.

Article Link: Korean Carriers Reportedly Negotiating with Apple for 800/1800 MHz LTE Service on Next iPhone
 

barkomatic

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2008
4,043
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Manhattan
An LTE iPhone that I could use with LTE speeds in Europe would be a big win. It might just be worth it to buy an unlocked iPhone from the get go.
 

landroverz7

macrumors member
May 7, 2012
40
83
Melbourne, Australia
I wish

I wish apple can create a chip that can:

Automatically change from 700 - 2300 mhz.

Support 2g/3g/4g/lte ...

Wifi 802.11ac

NFC / Bluetooth 4.0

This chip would change the world
 

Koodauw

macrumors 68040
Nov 17, 2003
3,937
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Madison
It only makes sense that the iPhone 5 will support these spectrums for LTE use in Europe and other countries around the world. Did anyone think this would be left out?
 

ghostface147

macrumors 68030
May 28, 2008
2,863
2,271
I wish apple can create a chip that can:

Automatically change from 700 - 2300 mhz.

Support 2g/3g/4g/lte ...

Wifi 802.11ac

NFC / Bluetooth 4.0

This chip would change the world
That's not up to Apple. That's up to Qualcomm or whichever future baseband provider they want to use.
 

AppleFan115

macrumors regular
Mar 8, 2012
103
145
I wonder what effect this would have on T-Mobile. I dont need LTE, I'll definitely jump ship if they can give 4g speeds on T-Mobile.
 

rmatthewware

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2009
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It only makes sense that the iPhone 5 will support these spectrums for LTE use in Europe and other countries around the world. Did anyone think this would be left out?
This is why all of the telecoms should have gotten together to agree on standards. When each carrier has different bands they operate on, it makes it difficult for phone makers. This is the same reason no one can agree on what 4G and LTE actually mean. The carriers just made it up as they went along.
 

dixido

macrumors member
Aug 29, 2010
99
278
Great news! First indication of that 'iPhone 5' might be a world phone, just like the 4s.
 

nick_elt

macrumors 68000
Oct 28, 2011
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Hope this is true, so I can use LTE here in Europe! Never heard of anyone using it here in Poland yet even tho its been here for at least a year (maybe more not sure)

Do these new Gobi chips everyone is talking about support this out of the box does anyone know? if not might be a bit late no?????
 

virtualSIM

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2012
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Since it's the same 800/1800 MHz bands used for LTE in the EU, I would presume this to be a no brainer.

As if Apple didn't plan to support LTE in Europe by mid 2012. I originally expected it to roll out a year ago, and was utterly disappointed to only see the limited support for it in The New iPad.
 

iSamurai

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Nov 9, 2007
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ɹǝpun uʍop 'ǝuɐqsı&#
This is why all of the telecoms should have gotten together to agree on standards. When each carrier has different bands they operate on, it makes it difficult for phone makers. This is the same reason no one can agree on what 4G and LTE actually mean. The carriers just made it up as they went along.
But then again individual countries control and designate each spectrum to different purposes (e.g. Tv, radio, military) wiki. So it would be really difficult for a worldwide standard to be implemented. Analogue tv in Australia will be shut down soon and that band (700MHz) will be used for 4G.
 

Bezetos

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May 18, 2012
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I wish apple can create a chip that can:

Automatically change from 700 - 2300 mhz.

Support 2g/3g/4g/lte ...

Wifi 802.11ac

NFC / Bluetooth 4.0

This chip would change the world
Apple are not radio/wireless hardware manufacturers so you need to hope that Qualcomm or a similar company invents it (however there are many technical difficulties when it comes to achieving such full compatibility).
 

ddarko

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2007
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This is why all of the telecoms should have gotten together to agree on standards. When each carrier has different bands they operate on, it makes it difficult for phone makers. This is the same reason no one can agree on what 4G and LTE actually mean. The carriers just made it up as they went along.
The carriers didn't just "make it up as they went along." The frequencies are all over the map around the world because much of the LTE bandwidth was taken from other services that were already using it. For example, in the UK, a lot of the LTE bandwidth will come from the frequency where analog TV is. That means a lot of internal coordination needs to be done before LTE frequencies can be picked and assigned - the UK isn't going to turn off the BBC tv signal for its citizens in order to harmonize LTE with Singapore, for example, and the USA didn't pick the same frequencies as Europe because those EU frequencies are already used for something else in the USA (and vice versa). The carriers aren't at fault for the frequency assignment - that's the result of the fact that frequencies in different parts of the world are used for different things, some of which could be moved to other frequencies but others which are still so widely used that it's virtually impossible to refarm the frequency. Of course, some carriers in the world do deserve blame for delaying the introduction of LTE. In the UK, carriers have delayed the LTE auctions repeatedly by threatening to sue Ofcom because a decision wasn't to their commercial liking, forcing the regulator to hold off on auctions until the carrier squabbling can be resolved.

Since it's the same 800/1800 MHz bands used for LTE in the EU, I would presume this to be a no brainer.
Being in the same band doesn't make compatibility easy - a lot of AT&T and Verizon's LTE bandwidth overlap in the 700Mhz band but they're not compatible because they're tuned to different frequencies in the band. You need to have a specific antenna that tuned to the frequency, which adds cost and complexity to the device. This issue is also a wrinkle in any move to require carrier interoperability on the LTE band - if the FCC ever issue such a rule, all current LTE phones won't interoperate because none of them contain all the necessary antennas.

LTE frequency support is especially troublesome for Apple because it tries to have a single device that can sell globally and avoid regional hardware customization. Other device makers have no problem introducing country-specific phones but Apple has tried to avoid that although obviously, if the market is big enough they will do it, e.g. AT&T LTE iPad and a Verizon LTE iPad. Software radio frequency tuners have been in the works for years but it's still not commercially deployed.
 
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moniker

macrumors member
Jun 15, 2007
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London, UK
... although LTE is technically not 4G.

True 4G is defined as 100 Mbps sustained speed. LTE is close but not quite there as it can theoretically reach 80 Mbps.

Regardless (I mean, who really cares whether it's 60 or 100 Mbps on a mobile phone), I really do hope they will support the South Korean frequencies as they are pretty much the same as the one's used for LTE in most of the rest of the world. Except for N. America, that is.
 

Dwalls90

macrumors 601
Feb 5, 2009
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Apple are not radio/wireless hardware manufacturers so you need to hope that Qualcomm or a similar company invents it (however there are many technical difficulties when it comes to achieving such full compatibility).
True, but Apple gets what Apple wants. If they throw enough money at a supplier, they could get such a chip. But you're right in that it wouldn't be a cake walk and would take lots of time and money...
 

radus

macrumors 6502
Jan 12, 2009
439
276
lte in europe is a need

it is easy - if they support lte in europe friends of mine and me will by - if not we will see what the competitors can do for us - Android/Linux is not that bad...
 

macneubie

macrumors regular
Aug 8, 2011
146
0
for this release, it is likely Apple will only fit baseband chips to match the telco market they are selling. fitting all the bands from 700MHz to 2600MHz is simply not practical at all. for a start the costs for these multi-band chips will be prohibitively high.

imagine if the LTE phone goes out of 4G coverage, the time it takes to scan all the frequencies in an attempt to find its home network will take ages to complete.

so in this respect, the new iPhone will not likely be a world phone where one can roam around LTE networks wherever countries have LTE service.

Also, it will be at best 2T2R mimo configuration, but that depends on operator support again. one thing for sure, the battery life will suck big time as I'm currently using the upcoming Galaxy Note 2 with support of 1800MHz LTE.
 
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69650

Suspended
Mar 23, 2006
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Dear Ofcom, please get off your lazy backsides and get moving with the UK 4G auction. By the time we get 4G in this country it will already be out of date. Grrrrrr :(
 

techsmith

macrumors member
Aug 3, 2011
50
8
for this release, it is likely Apple will only fit baseband chips to match the telco market they are selling. fitting all the bands from 700MHz to 2600MHz is simply not practical at all.

imagine if the LTE phone goes out of 4G coverage, the time it takes to scan all the frequencies in an attempt to find its home network will take ages to complete.

so in this respect, the new iPhone will not likely be a world phone where one can roam around LTE networks wherever countries have LTE service.

Also, it will be at best 2T2R mimo configuration, but that depends on operator support again. one thing for sure, the battery life will suck big time as I'm currently using the upcoming Galaxy Note 2 with support of 1800MHz LTE.
Could always use the GPS to limit the choices to what is available in that country.
 

macneubie

macrumors regular
Aug 8, 2011
146
0
Being in the same band doesn't make compatibility easy - a lot of AT&T and Verizon's LTE bandwidth overlap in the 700Mhz band but they're not compatible because they're tuned to different frequencies in the band. You need to have a specific antenna that tuned to the frequency, which adds cost and complexity to the device. This issue is also a wrinkle in any move to require carrier interoperability on the LTE band - if the FCC ever issue such a rule, all current LTE phones won't interoperate because none of them contain all the necessary antennas.

LTE frequency support is especially troublesome for Apple because it tries to have a single device that can sell globally and avoid regional hardware customization. Other device makers have no problem introducing country-specific phones but Apple has tried to avoid that although obviously, if the market is big enough they will do it, e.g. AT&T LTE iPad and a Verizon LTE iPad. Software radio frequency tuners have been in the works for years but it's still not commercially deployed.
Carriers will have to migrate their legacy cellular networks to make way for LTE, and that is what is done in Singapore.

Software defined radio has been around for few years, widely used in cell tower transmitters, but to find its way into energy efficient mobile chipsets remains to be seen.

----------

Could always use the GPS to limit the choices to what is available in that country.
Why do they need GPS to limit the choice? ETSI and FCC keeps an updated database of which carriers using what frequency bands.

So a North American 700MHz LTE phone will not work when roaming in European countries.