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Could there be one iPhone to rule the world’s LTE networks?

pyroscott

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by Scott Johnson

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 12:47 PM MDT

 

When Apple first released the iPhone in 2007, they introduced a technological renaissance. The iPhone ushered in the “smartphone era” bringing phone technology to an entirely new level. Since the iPhone release, the iPhone has seen some technological advancement along the way, but not to the degree of changing the industry.

 

The next iPhone is not only expected to introduce LTE capability to the line, but it may also be a true world phone, connecting to nearly every network technology. There could potentially be a single iPhone model that could be activated on nearly any carrier with the swap of a SIM card. Many carriers will undoubtedly impose a SIM lock, to keep the phone on their carrier, but it has the potential.

 

Many technologies, one tiny chip

 

At the heart of this advancement is the Qualcomm MDM9615 from Qualcomm’s GOBI line. This multiple device modem (MDM) chip supports both voice and data over LTE (FDD and TDD)as well as connecting to EV-DO Rev A and B, HSPA+, dual carrier HSPA+, and TD-SCDMA. With the added support of voice over LTE this phone could also be one of the first to support VoLTE.

 

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All this in the tiny iPhone form factor

 

The MDM9615 will pair with Qualcomm’s WTR1605 and PM8018 integrated circuits to combine multiple mode and multiple band connectivity, low power consumption, and small footprint. The WTR1605 is Qualcomm’s first wafer level radio transceiver and will allow LTE FDD, LTE TDD, CDMA, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA and GSM connections. The PM8018 will provide efficient power management at the wafer level. The only sticking point for Apple is how to fit all the antennas, PA's and filters for all the different bands into the iPhone without significantly increasing the size. This may keep them from being able to introduce a “world” phone and have to settle for regional or carrier specific models with the components to support the bands the carriers use.

 

But will it retain Apple’s iconic battery life?[float right]slooProImg_20111123164640.jpg[/float]

 

 

First generation LTE chips are energy hogs, which may be why Apple opted to skip the addition of LTE to their iPhone 4S. The 28nm MDM9615 may be just what Apple was waiting for in order to retain their small form factor and still give outstanding battery life. Not only will the 28nm chip have a reduction in size, but when paired with Qualcomm’s Power Optimized Envelope Tracking (Q-POET) the chip will see further enhanced power efficiency and heat management.

 

What we know

 

As of this point, Apple is only reviewing potential components for their next iPhone, but the fact that they are reviewing these specific components leads many to believe that they will utilize the components to their maximum potential. Apple generally is leak proof, which means that we will have to wait until an official announcement until we have confirmation of what will be included in the newest installation of their iPhone line. The combination of these chips may not even see the Apple device first. An Android OEM may be already working on this and introduce a phone with the wide capabilities possible with this chipset.

 

 

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Sources: Qualcomm (2) Simonblog Engadget AppleInsider

Baseband RF Photo courtesy of Barklay's Research

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According to this sketch, they're trying to support LTE bands 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 13, & 17 with a single phone. Slight problem: band class 2 is PCS blocks A-F only; band class 25 is needed to support the G block. Also, band class 5 is Cellular 850-- it does not include ESMR 800. Band class 4 is AWS. I think 8 is European 900 Cellular and 1 is MSS. LTE band 13 is Verizon and 17 is AT&T (but not the regionals that use BC 12).

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Consider that Qualcomm plans to start sampling 3rd gen LTE chipsets in the 4th quarter this year, and it probably isn't too far fetched to believe a minor revision to their current 2nd gen chipsets and tranceivers is possible in the meantime to support what this article proclaims.

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According to this sketch, they're trying to support LTE bands 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 13, & 17 with a single phone. Slight problem: band class 2 is PCS blocks A-F only; band class 25 is needed to support the G block. Also, band class 5 is Cellular 850-- it does not include ESMR 800. Band class 4 is AWS. I think 8 is European 900 Cellular and 1 is MSS. LTE band 13 is Verizon and 17 is AT&T (but not the regionals that use BC 12).

 

Hopefully this is just a preliminary Sketch and they add band class 25 at a minimum. ESMR would also be great to see.

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did I miss something where they got enough Antennae's to support this? Or are they just using the same antennae to transmit the 1 LTE band used by the carrier depending on which one they flash the phone for?...Which still would be difficult considering some carriers...*cough* Sprint *cough* will have more than one freq to connect to for LTE...

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Sarge...you must have missed where we were talking about this new device from USCC that supports 4 LTE bands.

 

296p5b5.png

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Sarge...you must have missed where we were talking about this new device from USCC that supports 4 LTE bands.296p5b5.png

na I didn't miss that but the iPhone does its antennae differently though less they are completely changing the design of it...Also 4LTE bands there is that enough to support a true WORLD LTE device?...

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na I didn't miss that but the iPhone does its antennae differently though less they are completely changing the design of it...Also 4LTE bands there is that enough to support a true WORLD LTE device?...

 

I think that the next iPhone will be larger and have a different profile than the current iPhone. If they can fit 4, I'm left to believe they could fit a 5th or 6th if necessary. Two of these bands are doubled up on each antenna. Can they be tripled up? Maybe so.

 

Robert

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okay okay so we are going on a lil theory here then that this can be done. gotcha.

 

didn't know if something was confirmed or the qualcomm chip had a feature/ability i didn't know about is all.

 

on the same page now.

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If Apple announces this in October, this would be huge with the theoretical capabilities. A world iPhone. This would definitely give the Apple fans something to shout about since the other OEM's would be caught with their pants around their ankles. Good article Scott.

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okay okay so we are going on a lil theory here then that this can be done. gotcha. didn't know if something was confirmed or the qualcomm chip had a feature/ability i didn't know about is all.on the same page now.

 

The article title does end in a question mark. :)

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The article title does end in a question mark. :)

 

 

See when I see the name "Apple" I tend to over look details b/c i dont care as much....lol

my bad

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See when I see the name "Apple" I tend to over look details b/c i dont care as much....lol my bad

 

You and me both!

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More important to me than knowing what LTE bands may or may not be supported (at least for the next 2-3 years) is will this iPhone support CDMA in ESMR-- it is a PHONE after all, and if you want to call people, this would be beneficial for Sprint. Unfortunately, there has been no indication that Apple is interested in supporting an unusual band (ESMR), even for CDMA use (which is approved).

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I can only thank them for kicking the other OEM's and Google into high gear really. :)

 

It definitely will light a fire under their...

 

More important to me than knowing what LTE bands may or may not be supported (at least for the next 2-3 years) is will this iPhone support CDMA in ESMR-- it is a PHONE after all, and if you want to call people, this would be beneficial for Sprint. Unfortunately, there has been no indication that Apple is interested in supporting an unusual band (ESMR), even for CDMA use (which is approved).

 

That would be a huge bummer if they didn't support CDMA in ESMR. That is going to be one of the largest benefits of network vision.

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In theory similar frequencies should work with similar-length antennas, so ESMR and the traditional North American cellular blocks at 850 (and GSM 800) can share an antenna; similarly, everything on 1900 A-H blocks (CDMA, GSM, LTE bands 4 & 25) should work with the same antenna. It's "just" a matter of tuning the radios to the right frequencies. The main problem for Sprint is getting the equipment makers to support the bands that the top networks aren't using, to cut down on development time and costs.

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I think that the next iPhone will be larger and have a different profile than the current iPhone. If they can fit 4, I'm left to believe they could fit a 5th or 6th if necessary. Two of these bands are doubled up on each antenna. Can they be tripled up? Maybe so.Robert

Just remember that the size of the antenna, and for EVDO, 1xA, & LTE Rx diversity or MIMO, the spacing between the two receive antennas is proportional to the wavelength of the frequency band. The lower the frequency, the larger the antenna (and space needed). This may be why all 700 LTE phones are huge! A quick approximation of the wavelength is λ = 300 / f, where f = frequency (in MHz) and λ = wavelength in meters. Typically a quarter wave antenna is favored, where the optimal antenna length is 1/4 the wavelength.

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Picture of Sprint LTE map on 214https://twitter.com/...3667840/photo/1

 

Really? The blue parts are also 4G LTE, but provided by roaming on other carriers? We haven't heard anything about being able to roam on anybody else's 4G. Is that really in the works? Will Verizon et al even want to enter into any 4G LTE roaming deals with Sprint?

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Slight problem: band class 2 is PCS blocks A-F only; band class 25 is needed to support the G block.

 

Keep in mind that this is just some analyst's sketch. I would take everything with a huge grain of salt, as I do not trust analysts to fully understand the technical intricacies.

 

Furthermore, band class 25 as a PCS superset will soon replace band class 2. As the FCC turns its attention to interoperability concerns, VZW and AT&T should not and will not be allowed to continue their parochial, predatory practices to prevent interoperability and stymie competition.

 

Also, band class 5 is Cellular 850-- it does not include ESMR 800.

 

Enter band class 26, which is another superset that encompasses both SMR 800 MHz and Cellular 850 MHz.

 

I think 8 is European 900 Cellular and 1 is MSS.

 

Correct, band class 8 is GSM 900 MHz, but band class 1 is UMTS 2100+1900 MHz, not MSS. The most prominent MSS ATC bands are band class 22 (DISH) and band class 23 (LightSquared).

 

AJ

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Can Band 25 be used in the space of Band 4? All Band 25 is Band 4 + G Block.

 

Nope, band class 25 is a superset than contains band class 2. Band class 4 is AWS 2100+1700 MHz.

 

AJ

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In theory similar frequencies should work with similar-length antennas, so ESMR and the traditional North American cellular blocks at 850 (and GSM 800) can share an antenna

 

Indeed, see nascent band class 26, two posts above.

 

...similarly, everything on 1900 A-H blocks (CDMA, GSM, LTE bands 4 & 25) should work with the same antenna.

 

Careful, you are confusing band class 2 and band class 4. See previous post.

 

AJ

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Really? The blue parts are also 4G LTE, but provided by roaming on other carriers? We haven't heard anything about being able to roam on anybody else's 4G. Is that really in the works? Will Verizon et al even want to enter into any 4G LTE roaming deals with Sprint?

 

The blue areas are referring to general voice and data roaming, not LTE roaming. Although Sprint may one day include in its line up devices that can support roaming on Verizon 700MHz LTE, it will not happen in the next few years. Heck, they aren't even releasing devices yet that will run on all of its own LTE frequencies yet.

 

Robert

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