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Bande à part: LG G2 is the first announced Sprint tri band LTE handset

WiWavelength

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by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 11:35 AM MDT

 

Welcome back from summer vacation. The S4GRU writing staff, too, has returned and is ready to catch up on some of the developments from over the last two or three months.

 

In late July, Sprint released two tri band LTE mobile hotspots and one tri band LTE USB dongle. Meanwhile, Clearwire had lit up band 41 TD-LTE 2600 on numerous sites in several markets around the country. Around the same time, the LG G2 became the first Sprint tri band LTE handset to pass through FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization.

 

As is our tradition by now, we add to S4GRU's stalwart series of articles on the FCC OET authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S4 our look at the RF faculties of the LG G2:

  • CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
  • LTE bands 25, 26, 41 (i.e. LTE 1900/800, TD-LTE 2600)
  • band 25 LTE 3/5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth
  • band 26 LTE 1.4/3/5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth
  • band 41 TD-LTE 10/15/20 MHz TDD carrier bandwidth
  • LTE UE category 4
  • W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850)
  • GSM 850/1900
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
  • 802.11n MCS index 7 (single spatial stream, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval)
  • 802.11ac MCS index 9 (single spatial stream, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval)
  • SVDO and SVLTE support absent
  • RF ERP/EIRP maximum: 19.80 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 21.64 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 23.09-27.08 dBm (LTE 1900), 17.77-21.29 dBm (TD-LTE 2600)
  • CDMA1X/EV-DO Rx antenna diversity
  • NFC antenna integrated into battery cover
  • Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below)
  • Simultaneous transmission paths: (see FCC OET diagram below)

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The LG G2 is not only the first revealed Sprint tri band LTE handset but also the first Sprint category 4 UE of any kind because it is utilizing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974). The MSM8974 is a 28 nm process SoC that contains processor, cellular baseband, and WLAN/GNSS baseband all on one chipset -- à la the MSM8960 that dominated the first half of last year. The difference, of course, is that the MSM8974 has a quad core processor and a UE category 4 cellular baseband. The latter supports up to 150 Mbps on the downlink, 50 Mbps on the uplink -- though those speeds will not likely be seen on Sprint during the lifespan of this handset due to spectrum bandwidth constraints.

 

Also, we cannot confirm at this point that the G2 is actually using the internal WLAN/GNSS baseband capabilities of the MSM8974 and not a separate chipset solution from Broadcom, as has been the trend with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. But having at least both processor and cellular baseband on the same chipset should be a step in the right direction.

 

Regarding maximum ERP/EIRP, we are slightly modifying the way that we report those figures. Even within a given frequency band, max ERP/EIRP can vary according to frequency and modulation. So, if the FCC OET docs show greater than 1 dB of variance in a certain band and airlink, we now report that range instead of a single max figure.

 

As we have stated in the past, FCC OET testing includes only transmitters, not receivers. Thus, we have to extrapolate overall RF prowess based on mobile uplink transmission capabilities, and that is an inexact science.

 

In a nutshell, though, the CDMA2000 band class 0 and 1 power outputs appear to be a bit on the weak side, while the band 25 LTE power output looks good. The band 41 TD-LTE EIRP is lower than we would like to see -- especially considering BRS/EBS 2600 MHz propagation characteristics -- but TD-LTE 2600 will be used largely as an offload band for handsets, probably less so for hotspots.

 

What is missing are band class 10 CDMA2000 and band 26 LTE ERP figures. The original FCC OET filing in late July included only conducted power figures for that band class and band. Conducted power is what is delivered to the antenna, not what is actually radiated from the antenna. And even though the G2 at the end of August has already had one Class II Permissive Change filing, we expect at least one more Class II filing with additional ERP figures before this Sprint variant hits the streets.

 

Last year, the LG Optimus G had its initial, incomplete FCC OET filing in the summer, followed by a Class II change in the fall and a release in November. In our Optimus G article last summer, we wrote not to expect the street date right away, and we will offer the same caveat here. The rumored November release for the Sprint variant G2 should probably be the expectation.

 

Source: FCC

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So, to confirm I'm not reading this incorrectly... No SVDO or SVLTE means I cannot use LTE / 3G Data and voice at the same time?  This seems crazy to me.  Why does it seem the trend is going this way as opposed to the opposite way?  I can't be the only person to use the hotspot function while on a conference call at least once a week...

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The question is..will this really be the first Tri-Band phone on Sprint?  Rumors have it that this device will come in November on Sprint.

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So, to confirm I'm not reading this incorrectly... No SVDO or SVLTE means I cannot use LTE / 3G Data and voice at the same time?  This seems crazy to me.  Why does it seem the trend is going this way as opposed to the opposite way?  I can't be the only person to use the hotspot function while on a conference call at least once a week...

Its probably something that will be solved next year with the new batch of LTE handsets. At least on the SVLTE side.

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Yes, SVDO is never coming back, and SVLTE is likely going away, too.

 

Sources have told us that the cost and difficulty of including separate radio paths for CDMA2000 and LTE in multi band LTE devices are the sticking points.  While we question the veracity of some of that information, the prognostication of disappearing SVLTE does appear to be coming true.

 

So, if you want simultaneous voice and data, you will still have a few options:

  • You can be on Wi-Fi.
  • You can stick with single band handsets that support SVLTE or even SVDO.
  • You can use a third party VoIP application, such as GrooVe IP.
  • You can wait for VoLTE enabled handsets.

AJ

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The question is..will this really be the first Tri-Band phone on Sprint?  Rumors have it that this device will come in November on Sprint.

 

If the iPhone whatever -- which is what I am calling it until the official name or names are revealed -- is tri band LTE for Sprint, then it almost certainly will beat the G2 to market.  We should know in the next two weeks.

 

AJ

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Yes, SVDO is never coming back, and SVLTE is likely going away, too.

 

Sources have told us that the cost and difficulty of including separate radio paths for CDMA2000 and LTE in multi band LTE devices are the sticking points.  While we question the veracity of some of that information, the prognostication of disappearing SVLTE does appear to be coming true.

 

So, if you want simultaneous voice and data, you will still have a few options:

  • You can be on Wi-Fi.
  • You can stick with single band handsets that support SVLTE or even SVDO.
  • You can use a third party VoIP application, such as GrooVe IP.
  • You can wait for VoLTE enabled handsets.

AJ

Thanks for the detailed and thorough response as usual.  As a consumer, I must admit that I'm still frustrated.  I held off on the HTC One because of the lack of SVDO.  I then get excited about Tri-band phones only to find out they will have the same limitation.  Oh well, here's to hoping VoLTE handsets come sooner than later.  Does anyone have a rough timeline for those on Sprint?

 

Thanks again.

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Well, if we have to wait to get this device I may just consider a Note 3 if it has better RF performance. I am fairly wary of trying a new device as my current device is pretty good in the RF department.

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Thanks for the detailed and thorough response as usual.  As a consumer, I must admit that I'm still frustrated.  I held off on the HTC One because of the lack of SVDO.  I then get excited about Tri-band phones only to find out they will have the same limitation.  Oh well, here's to hoping VoLTE handsets come sooner than later.  Does anyone have a rough timeline for those on Sprint?

 

Thanks again.

 

I don't have a time line on when VoLTE handsets will be available but they need to come when the network is ready. If you think Sprint has limited voice coverage now, then you will be severely disappointed with VoLTE handsets.

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Well, if we have to wait to get this device I may just consider a Note 3 if it has better RF performance. I am fairly wary of trying a new device as my current device is pretty good in the RF department.

 

The advantage, as I have stated in The Forums, of holding the release until November is that then there will likely be bases for comparison from Samsung, HTC, and/or Apple.  Release the G2 in September as the only Sprint tri band LTE handset, well, it may have no competition.  Early adopters will go gangbusters, but they may be disappointed just a few weeks later if/when other OEMs follow suit with potentially better tri band handsets.

 

AJ

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The advantage, as I have stated in The Forums, of holding the release until November is that then there will likely be bases for comparison from Samsung, HTC, and/or Apple.  Release the G2 in September as the only Sprint tri band LTE handset, well, it may have no competition.  Early adopters will go gangbusters, but they may be disappointed just a few weeks later if/when other OEMs follow suit with potentially better tri band handsets.

 

AJ

 

I have learned my lesson with getting the EVO LTE right away!

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Thanks for the detailed and thorough response as usual.  As a consumer, I must admit that I'm still frustrated.  I held off on the HTC One because of the lack of SVDO.  I then get excited about Tri-band phones only to find out they will have the same limitation.  Oh well, here's to hoping VoLTE handsets come sooner than later.  Does anyone have a rough timeline for those on Sprint?

 

Thanks again.

 

2016 or later. Personally, I don't think that Sprint will utilize VoLTE until after it's had time to acquire and deploy some 600 MHz spectrum, and after some further improvements are made to LTE-A in Release 12. LTE signal is just that much more fragile than 1xA.

 

Your reason for holding off on the One was actually one of the things that spurred me to purchase a S4. I knew that tri-band handsets wouldn't support SVDO or SVLTE, but at least the S4 and One support the latter. These new tri-band handsets are sort of like taking two steps forward and then one step back.

 

Fortunately, the current PCS G LTE carrier shouldn't get loaded up too much once most of the heavy data users begin to use the other two bands.

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Thanks for the detailed and thorough response as usual.  As a consumer, I must admit that I'm still frustrated.  I held off on the HTC One because of the lack of SVDO.  I then get excited about Tri-band phones only to find out they will have the same limitation.  Oh well, here's to hoping VoLTE handsets come sooner than later.  Does anyone have a rough timeline for those on Sprint?

 

Thanks again.

 

SVLTE is not good enough for you?  I mean the HTC One and GS4 both have SVLTE support.  Even if you don't have LTE where you are at currently, eventually it will get to it and you can take advantage of it. Like AJ said, I don't think its worth the money to keep SVDO support.

 

However I do wish that SVLTE should have been left alone.  I think SVLTE could still be beneficial for everyone including myself which I rarely talk and browse but I can see the benefit of the times I do need to search for something while on the phone.

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SVLTE is not good enough for you?  I mean the HTC One and GS4 both have SVLTE support.  Even if you don't have LTE where you are at currently, eventually it will get to it and you can take advantage of it. Like AJ said, I don't think its worth the money to keep SVDO support.

 

However I do wish that SVLTE should have been left alone.  I think SVLTE could still be beneficial for everyone including myself which I rarely talk and browse but I can see the benefit of the times I do need to search for something while on the phone.

Excellent point, SVLTE is good enough for me.  However, I'm currently in a market that does not have LTE (currently 8 towers live out of 400).  Therefore, I have six months to a year before I can truly trust that SVLTE will hold me over.  Therefore, I've been waiting for a new Tri-band device so I can harness the beauty of TD-LTE 2600.  The market I'm in has very good WiMax coverage and from the hearsay around the market it may not be too long before it is converted to TD-LTE 2600.  Fast forward to my decision of which device to purchase.  Do I purchase a Tri-band phone which doesn't have SVLTE or SVDO or do I purchase a current phone that has SVLTE (which won't be available for 6 months to a year) and no access to TD-LTE 2600 which may be ready in the same time frame.  As gnoj mentioned, either choice is two steps forward and one step backward.  I'm not trying to complain, just trying to make sure my next device purchase is well thought out.  I appreciate everyone's opinion and help.

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Excellent point, SVLTE is good enough for me.  However, I'm currently in a market that does not have LTE (currently 8 towers live out of 400).  Therefore, I have six months to a year before I can truly trust that SVLTE will hold me over.  Therefore, I've been waiting for a new Tri-band device so I can harness the beauty of TD-LTE 2600.  The market I'm in has very good WiMax coverage and from the hearsay around the market it may not be too long before it is converted to TD-LTE 2600.  Fast forward to my decision of which device to purchase.

 

You seem like a good candidate for a tri band LTE mobile hotspot, since you can use it with any Wi-Fi capable handset or device that you please.  Because your phone would be on Wi-Fi for its data connection, simultaneous voice and data would be possible.  Plus, you are apparently in a market that is still early in its LTE deployment.  The two tri band mobile hotspots released thus far have much stronger transmission and reception capabilities than most handsets do, making the hotspots more functional in still incomplete markets.

 

AJ

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Almost perfect until 

  • SVDO and SVLTE support absent

I almost had a nerdgasm.

 

That sounds more like an almost fatal nerdeurysm.

 

AJ

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here's too the galaxy s5 having SVLTE support and maybe VOLTE support -crosses fingers- my contract and subsiquent upgrade is ready around may 2014 just in time for the S5 to be coming out  

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here's too the galaxy s5 having SVLTE support and maybe VOLTE support -crosses fingers- my contract and subsiquent upgrade is ready around may 2014 just in time for the S5 to be coming out  

 

I would not hold your breath for SVLTE. The time of transitional bases is over. VoLTE will be the only way to have data while you jabber your head off on the phone. Can you imagine how much bigger tri-band phones would have to be to support the extra equipment needed for SVLTE? I would expect twice as thick.

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I have the 32 gig Galaxy S3. While I'm somewhat out of the handset market until my upgrade in March, each new handset announcement gets me more and more excited. With the expectation that each handset in the future will only get better. In the meantime I guess I'll have to enjoy my SVDO and SVLTE support while I have it. Although I have the feeling that, by the time I'm due to upgrade, there will be so much gained I'll hardly notice its absence.

 

I'm not at all pressed to upgrade right now though. I couldn't say the same for the Evo 4G at the same point in my contract.

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It sounds like the rf performance is mediocre overall on the G2, a fact that disappoints me more so than lack of SVLTE/SVDO.

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If you like big screens and Android this is a phone that looks very competitive with the Galaxy S4.  Slightly bigger screen, but bigger battery as well. Faster CPU ( 2.26 quad versus 1.9 quad in S4 ), more LTE bands, and from what Ive read a camera ( although same MegaPixel ) with better color accuracy and lighting ( the aperture maybe bigger )..

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So, to confirm I'm not reading this incorrectly... No SVDO or SVLTE means I cannot use LTE / 3G Data and voice at the same time?  This seems crazy to me.  Why does it seem the trend is going this way as opposed to the opposite way?  I can't be the only person to use the hotspot function while on a conference call at least once a week...

 

When you make a voice call, the Sprint network will suspend your data session while your call is routed to a legacy MSC by the LTE Mobility Management Entity. 

 

When you disconnect, you data session will continue.

 

Sprint went to this hybrid concept to eliminate the need for two radios (CDMA and LTE) in the handsets

 

AFAIK, VoLTE is not even on the roadmap. They are struggling to get basic LTE coverage in place. So it will be this way for a while.

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they are sticking with the hybrid model until VoLTE

 

which, hopefully, our grandchildren will see 

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