Menu
Apple lays groundwork for global LTE roaming with new iPhones

Apple lays groundwork for global LTE roaming with new iPhones

The company has in some cases almost tripled the number LTE bands on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

By increasing the number of LTE bands to an astonishing 20 on the iPhone 6 models, Apple has paved the way toward global data roaming for the wireless technology. Now mobile operators just have to get their act together and agree on deals to make it a reality.

At the end of July there were 318 commercial LTE networks in 111 countries. Unfortunately, most of these networks are virtual islands, thanks to the technical complexity of implementing all of them on smartphones and tablets. However, with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Apple has managed to get over that hump.

"I think this will matter a lot, actually. Because the new iPhones aren't just supporting the mainstream frequencies, but also up and coming bands such as 700MHz," said Alan Hadden, president at GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association), which keeps track of LTE's expansion.

Apple offers two different LTE configurations on the new iPhones, with either 16 or 20 bands. That's a huge improvement compared to as few as seven bands on versions of the iPhone 5s and 5c Apple put on sale in Europe as well as parts of South America and the Middle East.

Buyers of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in these parts of the world will be the big winners. For example, the 20-band model that will go on sale in Europe will work in Japan and the U.S and vice versa, according to Apple's LTE website. Those models are also compatible with TD-LTE, which is used in China, India, Brazil, some parts of Africa and by Sprint in the U.S.

TD-LTE or LTE TDD (Time-Division Duplex) uses one channel for both upload and download traffic, compared to LTE FDD (Frequency-Division Duplex), which uses separate channels for download and upload traffic. The latter technology is used by a majority of networks.

The models that Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile will sell have 16 bands, which is five more than was available on the their versions of the iPhone 5s and 5c. One of the bands Apple has added is 2600MHz, which is widely used in Brazil, Hong Kong and Europe. They lack support for TD-LTE, but still have enough bands to be used in most parts of the world.

Getting all the bands in place is only the first step, mobile operators have to agree on roaming deals that tie together their networks. Operators such as AT&T, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Swisscom, Telstra, TeliaSonera and Vodafone are leading the way, and some of them think Apple's upgrade can help increase the interest for international roaming.

More LTE bands supported should allow our subscribers to enjoy LTE speeds when they take their device abroad and we hope this will help an increasing number of users roam when abroad, according to Orange.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesAppletelecommunication4gconsumer electronics

Featured

Slideshows

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments