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iPhone 5 frequencies + HD voice


iansltx
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The iPhone 5 goes back to a multi-model scheme thanks to the disparate bunch of LTE bands everyone is using. I took a look at the breakdown, as well as at the non-LTE radios, to see what this would mean for Sprint...

 

First, what bands does each iPhone support? Apple has a list:

 

http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

 

Version #1 (A1428) is, more or less, the AT&T edition. 700MHz lower B+C and AWS

First off, looks like AT&T still wants to do LTE in AWS. Second, while the iPhone only has quad-band HSPA+ (like the iPad; 850/900/1900/2100), its HSPA and LTE bands line up with T-Mobile's refarmed PCS H+ and upcoming AWS LTE. Which means of course that, if you can get an unlocked A1428 iPhone, it will probably be faster on T-Mobile than AT&T. Just like the 4/4S are when using TMo PCS H+ today.

 

Version #2 (A1429 CDMA) is the Sprint + Verizon edition. 2100, 1800, Cellular, upper 700, PCS+G

This is the most interesting model of the three IMO. Despite SpectrumCo, there's no AWS here for Verizon. There is, however, support for a band that Verizon probably won't launch for several years: LTE in Cellular. I'm sure this was due to KDDI needing the band, but it's entertaining nonetheless. And of course Sprint's current LTE deployment is fully supported, though LTE in SMR or 2500 isn't.

 

On the non-LTE side, the phone is the only mass-market phone sold in the US that supports EvDO Rev. B. This, like the inclusion of LTE-850, is due to KDDI/au in Japan. On the other hand, Apple is using correct nomenclature for the 850 (vs. 800) band now, designating everything as 850MHz except CDMA on this model. Which of course indicates that the iPhone will (finally) support Sprint's 1x SMR network (so iPhones won't be at a coverage disadvantage to anything Sprint has sold in the past year from another manufacturer). The iPhone 5 also supports HD voice, which I'm guessing is the same thing that is supported on the Evo 4G LTE. So look for Sprint to be the first carrier in the US to support HD voice on the iPhone.

 

Version #3 (A1429 GSM) is the international LTE version. 2100, 1800, Cellular

Nothing is surprpising here; the iPhone may not nab everyone's current and future LTE bands, but having three international bands supported is a happy medium for a world phone. My guess is that this model is just the CDMA model with the additional bands/techs disabled in software, since it shares a model number with the CDMA version and has a subset of the CDMA version's bands. This means that Apple is only producing two versions of its newest phone (and two versions of its newest iPad) for the entire world...one for AT&T (okay, not quite but close) and one for everyone else in both cases.

 

This state of affairs leaves smaller carriers in a bit of an odd predicament. The AT&T edition of the iPhone has AWS and 700 lower B + C bands built in for LTE, which is good for T-Mobile (though TMo won't get to use its AWS HSPA+) and better for someone like CricKet or MetroPCS than before (since both will deploy LTE on 1700). However there's still now AWS CDMA on any iPhone, nor is there an iPhone with both AWS and PCS LTE support. This presents a no-win situation for someone like US Cellular, who has CDMA on 850 and 1900 (A1429) but will deploy LTE across 700 (including lower-A at times) and AWS (A1428, except for the A band) and in certain cases 850 and 1900 (A1429). Of course, US Cellular would have to pick A1429, but then they will have to live with a phone that is 3G-only in any area where their cellular + PCS holdings are,'t enough to support both CDMA and LTE.

 

But hey, at least Sprint now has an iPhone that can do LTE and CDMA just as well (band-wise) as any other currently-available Sprint phone.

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Not that it matters at all for American carriers, but this isn't the first mass-market phone to support EVDO Rev. B. I remember the stink people were making when the Epic 4G Touch came out without Rev. B support. The EVO 3D, the last Sprint phone to be released before the E4GT, supported Rev. B. People were concerned that Sprint was planning on a Rev. B rollout and that Epic 4G Touch users would be left out.

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On the other hand, Apple is using correct nomenclature for the 850 (vs. 800) band now, designating everything as 850MHz except CDMA on this model. Which of course indicates that the iPhone will (finally) support Sprint's 1x SMR network .

 

If that's the case, doesn't that mean they dropped CDMA 850 support for Verizon? I don't see how this makes sense.

 

3GPP CDMA band class 0 is called "BAND_CLASS_0 - 800 MHz cellular band" so without knowing if band class 0 and 10 or 26 (if there is such a thing for CDMA) are supported by the iPhone, we can't know for sure if the iPhone 5 will support CDMA 800 SMR.

 

Maybe someone can weigh in on this, is 3GPP band class 26 for CDMA operations? Or for LTE? Or both?

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3GPP CDMA band class 0 is called "BAND_CLASS_0 - 800 MHz cellular band" so without knowing if band class 0 and 10 or 26 (if there is such a thing for CDMA) are supported by the iPhone, we can't know for sure if the iPhone 5 will support CDMA 800 SMR.

 

Maybe someone can weigh in on this, is 3GPP band class 26 for CDMA operations? Or for LTE? Or both?

 

I have only see band class 26 for LTE, which is SMR+cellular.

 

this PDF from 3gpp2 does not show a CDMA band class 26.

 

http://www.3gpp2.org/public_html/specs/C.S0057-0_v1.0_020904.pdf

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Folks, I have the FCC OET authorization docs for the iPhone 5. I am still going over them. But here are the early returns. It will support CDMA1X 800 (band class 10) but will not support LTE 800 (band 26).

 

More to come...

 

AJ

 

Thanks, AJ. So it looks like all the other phones Sprint has released recently - support for CDMA on the old iDEN/SMR band, but no support for LTE on the SMR band yet. Unfortunate, since LTE band 26 shouldn't be that hard to implement if the phone already supports LTE on the 850 band. Maybe it's coming in the iPhone 5S :D ...

 

It also looks like the "CDMA" phone will also support quadband GSM and UMTS. Hopefully Sprint has no notions of disabling that :unsure:. They are usually pretty strict on on at least disabling GSM/UMTS850/1900 in the US and Canada.

Edited by GoWireless
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One interesting thing to note is that assuming Verizon doens't disable CDMA band class 10, Verizon's iPhones would be able to roam on Sprint's lower frequency band. That would be an interesting change, especially in rural areas. It also means additional potential roaming revenue for Sprint.

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Thanks, AJ. So it looks like all the other phones Sprint has released recently - support for CDMA on the old iDEN/SMR band, but no support for LTE on the SMR band yet. Unfortunate, since LTE band 26 shouldn't be that hard to implement if the phone already supports LTE on the 850 band. Maybe it's coming in the iPhone 5S :D ...

 

It also looks like the "CDMA" phone will also support quadband GSM and UMTS. Hopefully Sprint has no notions of disabling that :unsure:. They are usually pretty strict on on at least disabling GSM/UMTS850/1900 in the US and Canada.

 

I think that it's more of Apple's choice on what is enabled/disabled.

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This state of affairs leaves smaller carriers in a bit of an odd predicament. The AT&T edition of the iPhone has AWS and 700 lower B + C bands built in for LTE, which is good for T-Mobile (though TMo won't get to use its AWS HSPA+) and better for someone like CricKet or MetroPCS than before (since both will deploy LTE on 1700). However there's still now AWS CDMA on any iPhone, nor is there an iPhone with both AWS and PCS LTE support. This presents a no-win situation for someone like US Cellular, who has CDMA on 850 and 1900 (A1429) but will deploy LTE across 700 (including lower-A at times) and AWS (A1428, except for the A band) and in certain cases 850 and 1900 (A1429). Of course, US Cellular would have to pick A1429, but then they will have to live with a phone that is 3G-only in any area where their cellular + PCS holdings are,'t enough to support both CDMA and LTE.

 

But hey, at least Sprint now has an iPhone that can do LTE and CDMA just as well (band-wise) as any other currently-available Sprint phone.

 

It seems like C-Spire could be a winner as well seeing that they have apparently deployed some LTE on their PCS spectrum. Is there any indication on whether the CDMA iPhone can do SVDO? That would be a huge talking point to take away from AT&T.

 

Also, since LTE Band Class 26 encompasses the cellular band, is there any technical reason for Band Class 5 to still be in use anymore?

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It seems like C-Spire could be a winner as well seeing that they have apparently deployed some LTE on their PCS spectrum. Is there any indication on whether the CDMA iPhone can do SVDO? That would be a huge talking point to take away from AT&T.

 

Also, since LTE Band Class 26 encompasses the cellular band, is there any technical reason for Band Class 5 to still be in use anymore?

 

Optimizing for a narrower frequency range is easier/cheaper than optimizing for a wider one.

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Wow.. Some of those antenna gains look pretty bad.

 

Not really. Port A is the primary antenna, Port B the secondary antenna. So, discount Port B antenna gains unless Port B actually comes into play. Otherwise, roughly -1 dBi antenna gains are fairly common among smartphones these days. Plus, the LTE ERP/EIRP figures that I sent out earlier are rather healthy.

 

AJ

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Optimizing for a narrower frequency range is easier/cheaper than optimizing for a wider one.

 

Yeah, except that needing to add just 10Mhz to one side of the up and down links of the celluar band (to cover SMR) shouldn't make that much of a difference as far as antenna design is concerned, particularly since the band is under 1Ghz.

 

Maybe band 26 will be enabled via a firmware update.

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Sprint is just about to begin lab testing LTE 800. No one was even lab testing LTE 800 anywhere in the world up until now. And Sprint will be moving toward setting up two LTE 800 FIT's. Sprint just received FCC authorization this past summer. It's still a very new thing.

 

In internal communications I have been privy to, it has been repeatedly stated that Sprint will not have LTE 800 devices ready until approximately Q2-2013, after they wrap up lab and field testing and present the information to the OEM's. Apple is not really an exception to this.

 

Robert

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Not really. Port A is the primary antenna, Port B the secondary antenna. So, discount Port B antenna gains unless Port B actually comes into play. Otherwise, roughly -1 dBi antenna gains are fairly common among smartphones these days. Plus, the LTE ERP/EIRP figures that I sent out earlier are rather healthy.

 

AJ

 

I guess I was thinking we would see something better than the average antenna with everyone talking about their superior antenna design team.

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I guess I was thinking we would see something better than the average antenna with everyone talking about their superior antenna design team.

 

As long as it'll perform better than my LG Viper, goodbye Viper!

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