For many mobile carriers, offering LTE roaming to customers has its risks along with the potential rewards and so most businesses have been slow in offering the service. However new smart phones such as Apple Inc.’s just released iPhone 5S and iPhone C models are slowly overcoming technical hardships that have limited roaming on Long Term Evolution (LTE).
Apple described its new handsets as having “more LTE bands than any other smart phone in the world.” The new iPhones can handle up to 13 bands depending on the model you purchase. Compare that with only five bands on the older iPhone 5.
Kester Mann, principal analyst for operators at market research firm CCS Insight, said this is a significant development for roaming as there are many bands on LTE, and this has complicated the situation.
Among the new bands available are the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands and three bands for LTE-Time Division Duplex (TDD), which helps coverage in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
This level the playing field in Europe. Before, carriers that were able to offer iPhone 5 on the 1800MHz band had an advantage over their competitors. With the new phones, most European carriers will be able to sell LTE subscriptions with iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.
However, the U.S. iPhones still lack support for 2600MHz, which also happens to be one of the most popular bands in the world. The phones also do not have LTE-TDD support.
On the other hand, iPhone that will be sold in the United Kingdom, France and German do not have the U.S. bands.
Apple’s LTE Web site also cautions that band availability does not guarantee LTE support by all carriers that use it. LTE wireless service may be limited even in areas where bands are supported.
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