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New iPhones Use Old Qualcomm LTE ChipsNew iPhones Use Old Qualcomm LTE Chips

The iPhone 5c and 5s include the same Qualcomm RF360 as the earlier versions, but with support for additional LTE bands tacked on.

Sarah Thomas

September 23, 2013

2 Min Read
New iPhones Use Old Qualcomm LTE Chips

Apple's new iPhone models may support more LTE bands than any other smartphone on the market, but they are not leveraging a new chip to do so. (See Apple's New iPhones Pack in LTE Bands.)

Rather, the iPhone 5s and 5c are using the same Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) chip as their predecessor, the iPhone 5 -- at least in Australia.

Phone deconstructing specialists iFixit have completed an initial teardown of the Australian 5s/5c and discovered the Qualcomm MDM9615M modem on board, but with the addition of Avago Technologies Pte. power amplifiers and the WRT 1605L receiver to tack on additional LTE bands on a single chip.

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) boasted that its new iPhones support 17 LTE bands, which suggested it was using Qualcomm's latest and greatest RF360, which supports up to 40 LTE bands. The chipmaker has yet to announce a customer for the new chips, and it now appears Apple won't be its first. While it is possible the handset maker customized its RF chips in different geographies since it's not using the global RF360, it's likely the other SKUs match the Australian version. (See Qualcomm Unveils Single Global LTE Chip.)

As a result of sticking with the older Qualcomm chipset, the new phones will not support LTE-Advanced in the markets where the 150Mbit/s network is available. This is a bragging right that some of its Android competitors using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800, like the Samsung Corp. Galaxy S 4 and LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) G2, can claim. (See LG's G2 Is Ready for LTE-Advanced.)

But the phone's innards aren't holding back many new buyers. Even with a lukewarm reception from the investor community, Apple managed to sell 9 million devices combined in its first weekend on the market. As per usual, it wasn't able to keep up with the demand, running out of iPhone 5s inventory in a lot of markets. Apple also said that more than 200 million people have already updated their devices to iOS 7, making it the fastest upgrade in its history. (See Poll: Readers Underwhelmed by New iPhones.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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