Feeds

Fancy a new iPhone 5C or 5S? READ THIS or you may not get 4G data

Band chaos means there will be TEN models and you need the right one

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Apple might have launched two new iPhone models on Tuesday, but it launched 10 different variants as Cupertino struggles to cope with the hugely fragmented 4G market.

Where a GSM phone might be dual-band or the frequent flyer might shell out for a quad-band handset, Apple's latest phones each come in five variants: two hendeca-band models for the US (GSM & CDMA), a trideca-band version for Japan, Australia gets a deca-band version while Europe has to make do with the hepta-band handset.

The US actually gets six iPhone variants: 4G versions of the 5C and 5S with support for GSM and CDMA, and a special 4G version of each for Sprint customers.

The problem, which afflicts everyone manufacturing 4G kit, is that even now we've settled on a single radio technology (LTE, with TDD and FDD variations) there are numerous bands in which it can operate and, critically, ways in which those bands can be parcelled up – a process known as the Band Plan.

Take 700MHz: currently full of Freeview (Digital TV) in the UK, but perhaps to be cleared for mobile telephony come 2018. If it is cleared then the UK, and Europe, will have to decide how best to carve it up for the network operators, adopting either the US or Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Band Plan.

US and APT band plans

A comparison of the plans, put together by Alexanderkonst and shared on Wikipedia

The bands are numbered, with the APT plan being number 28 and the US version incorporating 12,13 & 17 at least, as the number relates not only to the frequency but the way in which it's managed. That matters because the phone needs to know where to look for a signal, and the plans are incompatible so phones which support both will be few and far between.

APT also supports Band 44, which is the same frequency block only thrown over to Time Division Duplex (TDD, where sending and receiving is asynchronously coordinated) rather than Frequency Division Duplex (FDD, where sending and receiving receive equal chunks of spectrum), but none of the iPhone models support that.

In fact the 10 new variants from Apple don't support the APT plan at all. By the time that matters to Europeans, the phones will be doorstops anyway, but it's already upsetting Australians.

700MHz is an extreme example, but not unique. LTE is the standard which wants to do it all, so some of the 44 bands listed at the time of writing will only find application in point-to-point communications or campus deployments, we shouldn't expect a quadro-duo-icosahedron-band handset any time soon, but travellers will need to get used to falling back to 3G, which happily sits at 2.1GHz just about everywhere. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.