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

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PCMag reports that Verizon and AT&T's upcoming LTE ("4G") networks will be incompatible with each other:
Thinking of unlocking a Verizon Wireless LTE phone for use on AT&T's network, or vice versa? Think again. Verizon Wireless confirmed today that its LTE phones will not "be compatible on other LTE networks in the U.S." because "the phones will be on different frequencies," according to Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney.
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
 

tsuehpsyde

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Sep 25, 2009
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Well that's a shame. :( Was looking forward to a standard for once.
 
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kjs862

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Jan 21, 2004
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Seems rather obvious, have they ever shared the same frequencies?
 
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darbus69

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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?
 
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42streetsdown

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Feb 12, 2011
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Seems rather obvious, have they ever shared the same frequencies?
obvious that american wireless providers want to maintain their relative monopolies? yeah i guess so.

Obvious as in the logical move? nope.

seems to me that it would be financially beneficial to manufacturers and consumers to have standards which make it possible for cross compatibility?
to manufacturers and consumers yes, but not to the greedy carriers
 
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Rodimus Prime

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Well that's a shame. :( Was looking forward to a standard for once.
Even if they were sharing lte frequents it would not work because verizon would still use the same cdma fall back.
 
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macduke

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Jun 27, 2007
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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.
 
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ravensfan55

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Mar 16, 2009
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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.
 
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Rend It

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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.
 
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wordoflife

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

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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.
 
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kdarling

macrumors P6
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.)
 
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honeytoast

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Hooray for capitalism!
 
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SockRolid

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Jan 5, 2010
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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.
 
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rikscha

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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.
 
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Cp96alumni

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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.
 
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Jacquesass

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Hooray for capitalism!
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?
 
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Ammo

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Jun 20, 2009
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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.
 
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drewyboy

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Jan 27, 2005
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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)
 
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chrmjenkins

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Oct 29, 2007
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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.
 
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0007776

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Apple should shove it to carriers and release a reprogrammable SIM card in the phone. UP YOURS ATT & VERIZON!
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.
 
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res1233

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Dec 8, 2008
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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.
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...
 
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smithrh

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Feb 28, 2009
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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.
* 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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