Apple's New iPhones Pack in LTE Bands

Apple's new iPhones support more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world, the Cupertino giant boasted at its coming out party on Tuesday.

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) unveiled two much-leaked new iPhone models at an event on Tuesday, the mid-range iPhone 5C and high-end iPhone 5S. Both devices will support dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and enough LTE bands to effectively roam around the world.

Both versions of the iPhone will support the same LTE band sets, which include bands 1 through 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25, 26, and 38 through 40. The combination depends on the SKU. To be considered a truly global phone that works in most major countries, if not all, a handset needs to support around 12 to 13 of the 19 LTE bands currently in use. (See LTE RF: Complicated by Design.)

The new iPhones will work on all four major carriers in the US, as well as BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE), Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI), and Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T) in Canada. The device will also work with operators in Puerto Rico, France, Germany, the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Apple didn’t reveal what chipset it is using for LTE, but it is likely Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s new RF360, which supports 40 LTE bands and works on LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA, and GSM/Edge networks. (See Qualcomm Unveils Single Global LTE Chip.)

The new iPhone 5S also includes a fingerprint sensor on the home button for secure access to the phone and iTunes sales, a new A7 64-bit processor that Apple says is twice as fast as the iPhone 5's CPU, and an improved camera with more pixels. The company says the 5S battery will last for 10 hours of 3G talk time and 10 hours of LTE data usage.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Sarah Thomas 9/13/2013 | 1:28:07 PM
A different chip theory Just spoke with someone who had a different theory about what chip(s) are inside the new iPhones. What do you think?

Here is a link to one iPhone 5 (old) teardown, showing the Skyworks PAs for 2G/3G. It looks like they use Avago for LTE (two LTE chips), and Qualcomm for power modulation. (See image 14)


So it looks possible that Apple could again use a solution with multiple chips for multiple bands.

Skywork's guidance for Q3 was stronger than expected, and I think it would have fallen off if they lost Apple as a customer. At a minimum, it would have been flattish if they only maintained their 2G/3G content. Avago just reported very solid revenue and issued positive guidance for the rest of the year, as well. Both Skyworks and Avago manufacture chips on Gallium Arsenide (GaAS) which is more expensive than CMOS or SOI but has better performance. Qualcomm's RF360 is silicon-based.


mendyk 9/11/2013 | 2:28:31 PM
Re: China Mobile Apple shares are down 5% today. We sold TechInsights a couple months back. World continues to spin.
WDudley 9/11/2013 | 11:37:03 AM
Re: China Mobile I was very impressed with the depth of LTE Band support. My only real complaint is that the non+USA phones do not support Band 7 (AWS).  If you look carefully, EMEA and Asia-Pac iPhone 5c/5s roamers would not be able to connect in the United States.  They could connect in Canada; however.  Only LATAM iPhone 5s/5c roamers could likely connect in the United States, as AWS band should be widely supported.

Conversely, Americans should be able to easily roam and connect to LTE networks in EMEA and Asia-Pac.

Given the capabilities of the chip-set (whatever that may be), supporting LTE bands, I'm surprised that Apple didn't support AWS for the EMEA & Asia-Pac targeted devices.

LTE Roaming, of course, is subject to the mobile operators deploying LTE roaming, which I know many are hard at work at... but I don't think we'll start to see near-ubiquity in LTE roaming coverage until 2015.  So there is still time for Apple to remedy their oversight!

- Bill
Sarah Thomas 9/11/2013 | 10:39:45 AM
Re: China Mobile You mean 17 bands, even! Unless it's something yet unannounced, it's Qualcomm. I've asked Qualcomm to confirm, although I don't expect to hear back. We may have to wait until our coworkers over at TechInsights tears down the new devices.
nbattson 9/10/2013 | 8:42:03 PM
Re: China Mobile Yeah....an amazing amount of RF bands. Can't imagine that is easy.

Seems like it supports a few of the Japan LTE Bands (1, 8, 19) with 21 being the only exclusion.

China gets coverage with the TD-LTE network that is rolling out with China Mobile (Band 40)

Band 38 and 39 also give a lot of global coverage for the few TDD networks that have been deployed.

Just a shame us US based LTE users dont get any TDD support due to the SKU that are available.


I think the most notable fact is the significant amount re-farming that will be encouraged with phones like this. If users move quickly to these phones and also Droid phones offer the same bands there could be a lot of refarming starting to begin.....and a lot more Multi-standard radio BTS being deployed.
slacker711 9/10/2013 | 5:29:19 PM
Re: China Mobile  

It has to be the Qualcomm chip, right??

I have been asking the same question.


If it isnt the RF360, how is Apple supporting 13 LTE bands?  The current market leader is the S4 and that only supports 6.


Sarah Thomas 9/10/2013 | 4:02:16 PM
China Mobile That's an impressive list of opreators and bands supported, but I'm surprised China Mobile isn't on the list and only 3G on NTT DoCoMo is supported.

It has to be the Qualcomm chip, right??
Sarah Thomas 9/10/2013 | 3:59:46 PM
Re: Excellent Yeah, I'm surprised it didn't go lower. It won't help T-Mobile at all at those prices, but I bet a lot of people will sign up with contracts in the US. $100 is comparable to its Android competitors. But, it'll be interesting to see how it competes in developing countries at that price point too.
DanJones 9/10/2013 | 3:56:42 PM
Re: Excellent Pricing seems way more aimed at trying to people to get people started on shared plans with the $99 w/ a contract approach. Seems perhaps, a little out-moded thinking maybe?
KBode 9/10/2013 | 3:40:33 PM
Excellent That's great news for simplification's sake.

The pricing on those 5C candy-coated phones seems much higher than what most analysts predicted. $550 for the 16 GB version and $650 for the 32 GB version off contract is certainly a far cry from the claims that the 5C would be aimed at a more cost-conscious set, yes?

More than a few analysts predicted T-Mobile would particularly benefit from a lower-cost 5C because of their killing of subsidies. Pretty clearly Apple just wants to keep using older models to soak up more cost-conscious users though.
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