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(UPDATED) All for HTC One, HTC One for all?


WiWavelength

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by Andrew J. Shepherd

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 2:55 PM MST

 

Update: Many hands on reviews of the HTC One are emerging this week. Courtesy of Engadget, we can report that the Sprint variant is one of the very first Sprint LTE handsets to include a removable micro-SIM. Removable SIM cards have long been part of the Network Vision roadmap for 2013, so it looks like that time may have arrived.

 

S4GRU welcomes you to the first major Sprint handset announcement of 2013. Earlier this week, the upcoming HTC One was revealed at an event in New York City. Not to be confused with last year's HTC One X, the HTC One is the new flagship of the line and will be offered by dozens of carriers around the world, including AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. Last year, Sprint got essentially a customized version of the HTC One X in the HTC EVO 4G LTE. This year, however, another EVO handset is not currently in the offing, and Sprint is joining its fellow carriers in standardizing around a universal HTC One platform. The only notable customization is for Sprint's specific CDMA2000 band classes and LTE band. And that Sprint variant had its authorization documents uploaded to the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database earlier today.

 

If you have followed our series of articles on the EVO LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, and Samsung Galaxy Note 2, then you know what is at hand. Here is an RF focused breakdown of the HTC One coming to Sprint:

  • CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
  • LTE band class 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks)
  • LTE 5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth
  • LTE UE category 3
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
  • 802.11n MCS index 7, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth
  • 802.11ac MCS index 9, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth
  • SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi tether
  • NFC
  • Antenna 0 max RF ERP/EIRP: 20.10 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 23.80 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 19.23 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 12.30 dBm (LTE 1900)
  • Antenna 1 max RF ERP/EIRP: 13.78 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 13.58 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 14.27 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 23.63 dBm (LTE 1900)
  • Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below)
  • Simultaneous transmission modes: (see FCC OET diagram below)

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As for analysis of the specs, the HTC One is the world's first handset to include the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. But let us address right away another potential first that has become the so called elephant in the room. The Sprint version of the HTC One is limited to band 25 LTE 1900. It does not support either of Sprint's upcoming LTE bands -- band 26 LTE 800 and band 41 TD-LTE 2600. One or both of those bands are expected to be incorporated in new handsets sometime this year, but the HTC One will not be the first.

 

The other notable absence is SVDO support for simultaneous CDMA1X voice + EV-DO data, though its omission is growing less and less notable as time goes on. SVDO requires separate RF paths for CDMA1X and EV-DO. The first few Sprint LTE handsets did support SVDO, utilizing separate paths for CDMA1X and EV-DO/LTE. But the last nine Sprint LTE handsets have foregone SVDO, combining CDMA1X/EV-DO on a single path, so SVDO was likely just a temporary measure or a fringe benefit of the Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset and will not be a common Sprint handset feature going forward.

 

In its press release earlier this week, Sprint calls its HTC One an "international" smartphone, and that could be interpreted to mean world roaming capabilities. The FCC authorization documents show no evidence of this, but they are not required to do so, since the FCC is a US authority. What is lacking, though, is any GSM 850/1900 or W-CDMA 850/1900. So, if the HTC One is world roaming capable, it will most likely be limited to GSM 900/1800 and band 1 W-CDMA 2100+1900.

 

Since the HTC One is really the de facto successor to the EVO LTE, a little bit of comparison would be in order. In our RF rundown article on the EVO LTE last spring, we stated that it "does not look to be a stellar RF performer" based on its low to moderate ERP/EIRP figures. And our prediction proved quite prescient, as the EVO LTE has not been noted for its performance with weak signals. The good news is that, on paper, the HTC One looks to be a notable improvement in this regard.

 

First, the dual antenna system is optimized for CDMA1X/EV-DO on antenna 0 and LTE on antenna 1. But as long as only one antenna is in use (i.e. SVLTE is not active), the dual antennas can be switched at will to combat an RF fade at one antenna but not the other. Second, LTE max EIRP has been increased by 4 dB over that of the EVO LTE. Furthermore, LTE EIRP has been maximized around the 1912.5 MHz center frequency, 5 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth configuration that Sprint is currently deploying nationwide in its PCS G block spectrum. In short, the Sprint variant of the HTC One has been tweaked specifically for the Sprint LTE network.

 

Source: FCC

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Reports are out today confirming that the HTC One will be HTC's only smartphone under the "One" moniker this year. So, unlike last year's varied lineup, that rationalizes the singular HTC One name.

 

AJ

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Reports are out today confirming that the HTC One will be HTC's only smartphone under the "One" moniker this year. So, unlike last year's varied lineup, that rationalizes the singular HTC One name.AJ

 

That still doesn't mean that they won't come out with several other flagship devices throughout the year, all they are saying is that they simply won't use the one name. I hope they come out with a direct competitor to the galaxy note series.

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That still doesn't mean that they won't come out with several other flagship devices throughout the year, all they are saying is that they simply won't use the one name. I hope they come out with a direct competitor to the galaxy note series.

 

Oh, I agree. This confirmation does not preclude other high end HTC Android handsets. It does not even rule out another Sprint EVO handset, though I still think that highly unlikely. And, presumably, VZW will get some sort of replacement for its HTC Droid DNA before the year is up.

 

But some have thought the HTC One naming scheme a bit of a joke because of all the fragmentation last year. Obviously, HTC has taken that to heart, and this news today indicates that the HTC One we see now will be the "one" and only this year.

 

AJ

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Oh, I agree. This confirmation does not preclude other high end HTC Android handsets. It does not even rule out another Sprint EVO handset, though I still think that highly unlikely. And, presumably, VZW will get some sort of replacement for its HTC Droid DNA before the year is up.But some have thought the HTC One naming scheme a bit of a joke because of all the fragmentation last year. Obviously, HTC has taken that to heart, and this news today indicates that the HTC One we see now will be the "one" and only this year.AJ

 

Oh I know, wasn't trying to imply anything towards you specifically, its just that htc use to be the king of the smartphone world and its so sad to see them fall from greatness. For a company that makes such amazing hardware they have found so many creative ways to shoot themselves in the foot lately, its almost as if they are trying to fail(if that even makes any sense). I really hope that the htc one flies off the shelves and I really hope htc stays on top of keeping their devices supported.

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So, if LTE 800 and TD-LTE 2600 were not an option right now due to timing, would those who are disappointed rather have had Sprint pass on the HTC One, thus not likely carry an HTC flagship this year?AJ

 

I got the HTC EVO 4G late, then they announced they were switching from WiMax to LTE. This time I already know that Clearwire will have LTE (they are already building it out and will accelerate next year), and that 800MHz LTE, which penetrates buildings much better than their other LTE, wll come out next year.

 

It sounds like if I buy this phone, and keep it for two years (and I actually like to keep my phones even longer--$200 isn't pocket change to me) then I would be buying a phone that is essentially obsolete for at least half the time I'll own it.

 

Whether or not Sprint should have passed on it, I don't know. I certainly am, and it is a shame because it otherwise looks like a nice phone.

 

edit: Also, Softbank, which wants to take over Sprint, is all about TD-LTE. They want Sprint because of Clearwire's LTE, which is compatible with Softbank in Japan, and with China. So, again, if I get this phone, I'm getting a phone that doesn't support Softbank's network of the future.

 

It is like buying an analog television one year before the country switches over to digital--not smart. Now if the television were 'digital ready', or if HTC said that it will support these LTE bands after they are turned on, that would be another matter. But neither they nor Sprint is saying this.

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I am so bummed. I got a new HTC EVO 4G LTE phone in Nov. I had no idea that the HTC One was being released. I would have waited. Oh well, I really like the HTC EVO 4G LTE.

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"if HTC said that it will support these LTE bands after they are turned on, that would be another matter"

And yet China Mobile, which uses TD-LTE, has announced support of the HTC One phone (and the Galaxy S III). If the HTC One can support TD-LTE on China Mobile, why can't it on Sprint? Is this a diffrerently tuned phone? Or will the phone support Clearwire's LTE but they just haven't announced this support yet?

 

I like Sprint's Network Vision future. I'd like to follow that future. But it would be easier if they actually sold a phone that would work with it, or at least tell us which phones that are coming up that will work with it.

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"if HTC said that it will support these LTE bands after they are turned on, that would be another matter"And yet China Mobile, which uses TD-LTE, has announced support of the HTC One phone (and the Galaxy S III). If the HTC One can support TD-LTE on China Mobile, why can't it on Sprint? Is this a diffrerently tuned phone? Or will the phone support Clearwire's LTE but they just haven't announced this support yet?I like Sprint's Network Vision future. I'd like to follow that future. But it would be easier if they actually sold a phone that would work with it, or at least tell us which phones that are coming up that will work with it.

 

It does work with Network Vision. The phone will not be obsolete. It will still operate just fine. Network Vision is not the addition of 800MHz. Network Vision is the rebuilding of all the hardware on the network and backhaul, which has nothing to do with LTE 800 or LTE 2600. To say it will not work with Network Vision is just not accurate.

 

We all want future proof phones, but it is impossible. There are always plans and changes coming in the future. It is no different with other carriers. People who have spent a lot of money on Verizon devices the past few years will not have AWS LTE when it first comes out. And Verizon could have technically added support in their devices years ago.

 

However, it can be a bad idea to early support new bands without testing. Look at all the problems the EVO LTE had. It is a wiser decision over all for Sprint to set up FIT's for these new bands and do extensive testing than to just stick in the hardware and hopes it all works out.

 

There are no surprises so far. Sprint and S4GRU has said that there will not be devices that support LTE Bands 26 and 41 until later in 2013. So I wouldn't count on any early escapees. If support of future bands is the most important thing to you, then you will need to wait.

 

And then when they come out, there will be something else on the horizon that you will be disappointed isn't included in your newest device. Like Carrier Aggregation, or 4x4 MIMO, or better battery performers. Your real issue is you need to upgrade more frequently if having all the newest bands is important to you. There is no way to future proof a device for 2+ years.

 

Robert

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"If support of future bands is the most important thing to you, then you will need to wait."

 

I agree with this and I think that I will wait.

 

For many users, they can get an LTE phone now and it will work fine for them. The particular features that are important to me are Clearwire LTE (which transmits near my house and work) and 800MHz LTE (which will presumably work within buildings--I've only had luck with WiMax outside in most cases). Both of these are supposedly coming out next year, so for me, at least, it makes sense to wait, rather than doing frequent upgrades, which I can't afford.

 

As you say, there will be more changes in the future, such as VoLTE. If I can cover what's coming up in the next year, I'll be satisfied.

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I'm a little confused so hopefully someone can clear this up. I notice that there are measurements for both the 800 and 850Mhz spectrum. It's my understanding that Sprint only uses the 800. is the 850 just the upper end of the 800? I figured this could be because the lower frequencies could be used for tx and maybe the higher could be for rx? Or do we just not have to bother with the 850Mhz measurements at all?

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I'm a little confused so hopefully someone can clear this up. I notice that there are measurements for both the 800 and 850Mhz spectrum. It's my understanding that Sprint only uses the 800. is the 850 just the upper end of the 800? I figured this could be because the lower frequencies could be used for tx and maybe the higher could be for rx? Or do we just not have to bother with the 850Mhz measurements at all?

 

Sprint is using the 800 SMR band, as you figured. But Sprint devices also support 850 Cellular band for roaming purposes.

 

Robert

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Sprint is using the 800 SMR band, as you figured. But Sprint devices also support 850 Cellular band for roaming purposes.Robert

 

So that means that Verizon is already using the Cellular band for CDMA1x and we roam over to their frequencies? I thought that they used 800 since any Verizon phones listed at Phonearena show the devices supporting 800 and 1900Mhz.

 

Also I noticed that Antenna 1 is far weaker in every category that Antenna 0 other than LTE. How does the phone decide which antenna to use when? And these are transmitting measurements correct? Can you extrapolate anything about reception capabilities of a device from this information?

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I noticed that Antenna 1 is far weaker in every category that Antenna 0 other than LTE. How does the phone decide which antenna to use when? And these are transmitting measurements correct? Can you extrapolate anything about reception capabilities of a device from this information?

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I noticed that Antenna 1 is far weaker in every category that Antenna 0 other than LTE. How does the phone decide which antenna to use when? And these are transmitting measurements correct? Can you extrapolate anything about reception capabilities of a device from this information?

 

As I state in the article, antenna 0 is the primary for CDMA2000, while antenna 1 is the primary for LTE. So, if both antennas are active for SVLTE, then I do not believe that there can be any switching between the two. However, if only one antenna is active, as is likely to be the case most of the time, then the front end monitors both antennas and switches between the two as signal conditions fluctuate.

 

Correct, all of the ERP/EIRP figures are for maximum transmission. FCC authorization does not require any testing of reception. So, the transmitted power measurements have to serve as a yardstick for overall RF performance. However, the correlation between high power output and general reception does not always hold up. It is just the best that we can do with the data available.

 

AJ

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So that means that Verizon is already using the Cellular band for CDMA1x and we roam over to their frequencies? I thought that they used 800 since any Verizon phones listed at Phonearena show the devices supporting 800 and 1900Mhz.

 

Many refer to the Cellular 850 MHz band somewhat archaically as "800 MHz," but that is really a misnomer because it is too easily confused with the SMR 800 MHz band, as is the case here.

 

Also, VZW is but one of many CDMA1X 850 carriers -- though, VZW has bought up a lot of them. But Sprint does not roam exclusively on VZW. Sprint has many other CDMA1X 850 roaming partners in various parts of the country.

 

AJ

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Many refer to the Cellular 850 MHz band somewhat archaically as "800 MHz," but that is really a misnomer because it is too easily confused with the SMR 800 MHz band, as is the case here.Also, VZW is but one of many CDMA1X 850 carriers -- though, VZW has bought up a lot of them. But Sprint does not roam exclusively on VZW. Sprint has many other CDMA1X 850 roaming partners in various parts of the country. AJ

 

I see. Thank you so much for all of the clarifications that you have provided me in various places so far.

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So, the EVO 4G LTE has a max RF ERP for LTE 1900 of 19.85 dBm, and the One has a max ERP of 23.63 dBm (LTE1900.)

 

Is a 3.78 dBm ERP boost significant?

 

I generally consider 23 dBm ERP to be standard, <23 dBm to be low, and >23 dBm to be high. In this case, the EVO 4G LTE falls into the low ERP category in all but CDMA1X 1900.In the next day or so, I will follow up with more ERP comparison data from other devices.AJ

 

I see it fits into AJ's "high" range, but I don't know how much small changes in ERP affect performance. can you enlighten me, or point me to an article somewhere?

 

Thanks.

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So, the EVO 4G LTE has a max RF ERP for LTE 1900 of 19.85 dBm, and the One has a max ERP of 23.63 dBm (LTE1900.) Is a 3.78 dBm ERP boost significant?

 

It is relatively significant. A 3.78 dB increase represents a 139 percent increase. In other words, if a handset has a max power output of 100 mW and that output is increased by 3.78 dB, then max power output goes up to 239 mW.

 

I think the dual antenna system in the HTC One, though, will provide a more significant improvement in RF performance than will any increase in max power output.

 

I see it fits into AJ's "high" range, but I don't know how much small changes in ERP affect performance. can you enlighten me, or point me to an article somewhere?Thanks.

 

Just to be clear, the 23 dBm figure that I referenced was for PCS 1900 MHz. Lower frequency bands often have lower max power output because their path loss is also lower. For example, the AT&T HTC One has a max power output of just 15.52 dBm for LTE 700.

 

AJ

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I'd really like to upgrade to this, but have another 1 yr on my sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE. Man, couldn't they make a nice upgrade path and let me pay something reasonable!

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I'd really like to upgrade to this, but have another 1 yr on my sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE. Man, couldn't they make a nice upgrade path and let me pay something reasonable!

 

They do offer to some customers to buy out the rest of your contract. Call them up and ask if you can push up your upgrade. Might be kinda expensive with a year left to go though.

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Is the removable SIM going to be the same as on the iPhone 5 or will it be different?

 

What do you mean by "different"? A micro-SIM is a micro-SIM.

 

AJ

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What do you mean by "different"? A micro-SIM is a micro-SIM.AJ

 

The iPhone 5 has a nano-SIM that is smaller than the micro-SIM. That may be what he is referring to. Regardless of size, a SIM is a SIM.

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