Apple's iPhone 5 upgrade cycle secured with global LTE, 4G support

Apple's iPhone 5 upgrade cycle secured with global LTE, 4G support

Summary: Yes, the iPhone 5 may have a better screen and improved design. But most of you will sign up because Apple is offering global 4G support finally.


Apple's iPhone 5 launch went down about as expected---a 4-inch screen, all aluminum and glass and thinner and lighter---but the real differentiator will be 4G LTE support and global coverage.

Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief, took the stage in San Francisco and unveiled the iPhone 5. Naturally, the Apple exec touted how beautiful the device is but upgrades will largely be driven by speedier access.

To that end, Apple developed a single LTE chip that has one radio and a dynamic antenna. Apple touted "ultrafast wireless technology" and support for LTE, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA. That alphabet soup basically means that the iPhone 5 will hop between the fastest networks available everywhere. The dual carrier HSDPA will cover Europe nicely.

More: CNET iPhone live coverage | Apple announces iPhone 5: What you need to know | The Apple iPhone 5: Now or later? | iPhone fantasies, Android phones realities | What could go wrong with the iPhone 5 launchTech leaders vacillate on iPhone 5, with growing anticipation of Windows 8 | Samsung vs. Apple: Are LTE patents the next battleground?


Also note that Schiller talked up Apple engineering on its new LTE chip. Why? Samsung probably has the lawsuits ready to fly over LTE. Now keep in mind that Android devices have had LTE for a while and Apple has lagged. With iPhone and Android devices in the LTE fold, the carrier economics---and consumer data consumption---are going to change.

The carrier support for LTE, 4G and HSPA+ will break down like this:

  • U.S.: Sprint, AT&T and Verizon.
  • Asia: Softbank, Smartone, Singtel, SK Telecom.
  • Europe: Deutsche Telekom, EE.
  • Australia: Telstra, Optus, Virgin Mobile.
Phil Schiller talks 4G and iPhone 5. Credit for all images James Martin, CNET

China wasn't mentioned, but analysts widely anticipate support for China Mobile, the largest carrier in that country, in the first half of 2013.

In addition, Apple has every flavor of Wi-Fi support coming.

Add it up and Apple can talk specs, chips and displays forever. But 4G and speedier networks combined with global distribution is what will carry the upgrade cycle, which is already expected to be massive.

Topics: Mobility, 4G, Apple, iPhone, Smartphones

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  • Sorry

    Sorry, but this phone is not out and it is already out of date. Screen is a lower resolution than even the new Win8 phones. No NFC. LTE which most phones already have. This is at best a small catch up. Current market phones already surpass it in almost every way.
    • What is Samsung gets an injuction for patent infringement for LTE 4G

      It is my understanding that Samsung might be going to sue APPLE for LTE 4G infringement, since they own many of the LTE 4G patents. I guess we will see what this war will be like.

      • The report came out yesterday that they were canceling that filing.

        Of course, they may choose to re-surface it again later.
      • Sounds as if they cancelled those plans but I thought it was...

        very telling of how much their loss in the recent case apparently stung that they made that announcement before even knowing anything about the phone. Sure, they have a lot of LTE patents but they only way they cold have known for a fact that Apple would infringe on any of them to get LTE support on the iPhone is if they were standards. If that's the case then they would have to license the IP to Apple so no case.
      • If Samsung is that stupid

        At least in Europe, that experiment could cost them 10% of their revenue. Who know how much elsewhere.
        Is this what they call going thermonuclear?
    • Lower "resolution"? Or "smaller display size"?

      Or are you trying to tell me the Windows 8 phones match the iPhones 326 ppi?
      • Yes

        The Lumia 920 is 1280×768; PPI 332. The iPhone 1136×640 5 is PPI 326. So, "Yes", topgun966 is trying to tell you that Windows 8 phones will match and exceed the iPhone 5's ppi.
      • Who really cares?

        The fact people even care this much over specs is just sad. Enjoy the ecosystem that best fits your needs. One isn't clearly better than another. On an individual basis yes, on a whole, no. Then you find the phone that best fits your needs. Granted some have less or no choice than others, but oh well. Bragging and mocking over ppi, benchmarks and such is just lame. I'll give NFC a nod as a sore point for some, but that's about it.

        Personally I lump the 5 with the LG Vu. Just don't get it. I think the 5 is too long and thin. Sorry, not every movie is shot in cinemascope, and if I'm spending time in landscape, I'd like a little more height. And a phablet isn't a tablet. I'm cool with an 8" 4:3 tablet, though I'd love to see a 9" 4:3, but in a handheld it's just too much of a departure for normal hand holding. Sticking with the S3 and releasing it now isn't very smart either in my eyes for a premium device going up against the Note 2 in the near future.

        In closing, get what works for you. Most likely, at this stage of the game, nothing you do is going to tax any of the premium phones to the limits of their capabilities and the two main os's are at a point of maturity that they run damn well on some serious kit compared to just a few years ago.
        • Who Really Care's

          Well I do agree totally with what you are saying; but the fact that "Apple" who believe they are all that in the design and phone system did not produce what its customers are wanting. They should focus more on the consumer wants. What is it that Samsung Has that we don't have? Then take it from there. Yes each of us should stick with the ecosystem that works for them and the phone and carrier that works for them.
          • How do you know don't?

            You claim they should focus more on what consumers want as if you know that they don't do that. Are you saying that since Apple didn't include something that you want then they aren't focusing on consumer wants? What did they not include that we know for a fact that most consumers want? Not talking about talking point features that matter to a vocal minority yet have never affected iPhone sales, talking real vast average consumer wants. The fact is it has everything that the vast majority of consumer want. That doesn't mean that it's the best phone out there for everyone but it may very well be the best phone for many.
          • What customers want

            I for one, don't want or need either LTE or NFC. But Apple decided to include LTE, perhaps because both are true:

            a) their carrier partners insist to have an iPhone with LTE so that they can sell more such services;
            b) it is implemented in the chip anyway and it's just an software initialisation routine to enable it anyway.

            NFC is just a toy, at this time. Nice to be able to put NFC stickers here and there and have your phone tell you it recognised them. Then what? You could just as easily know that without a phone and without NFC. NFC payments are still security nightmare...

            Apple has to make choices, that are possible to implement, do not break other things, make customers happy in the long term and bring in more profit.
        • Who really cares

          I agree with the comments, "who really cares...?" People, this is just a phone like many others abeit a smarter phone than granpa used to use but a phone never the less.

          Here is a question for everyone... If these phones are so smart why is it that I cannot find a, "legal" app without having to jailbreak this phone that will allow me to stop these annoying telemarketers and to add to the list when I get one???

          And the person who said, "not in Canada". newsflash.. There are carriers in Canada who profess to cover a large area yet, when you get into those areas, good luck. Try talkin when you only have one signal bar.

          Smart phones, hardly..
          • Why don't you

            1. Hang up
            2. Copy & paste

            What did you do with a landline?
  • The article is WRONG!

    There will be three variations of the iPhone 5 for different networks.
  • What, NO carriers in Canada?

    Of course there are! Larry just appears too USCentric to include that info. :-(

    But he is right, LTE support is the real reason people will likely pick up this new model.

    The new dock connector is probably the main reason current iPhone users, like myself, will choose not to.

    Now... does LTE outweigh the "Lightning" connector... hmmmm...
    • Actually, Larry did display the Canadian LTE coverage in the Keynote

      This article just not showing the screenshot but the Keynote showed the coverage map for Canada and it is very impressive with coverage blanketing most of the population of our country through Rogers, Bell, Telus, Virgin, Fido, and others. The Canadian LTE coverage is much better than US at this time.
    • Heh. Has nothing to do with the dock connector

      It has everything to do with the reliability of the existing phones. My iPhone 4 is still working as well as when I bought it--though admittedly the battery life is down to 2 days from 3.
    • Accessory churn

      Agree with the connector being a deal breaker for those with many accessories. Yes its revision to smaller is justified, but adaptors needed for all configs of new to old & old to new just messy. It wouldn't be so hard to accept if the old connector had consistency of fit throughout the iRange.
      So the dock connector has been changed alright, by the new dork connector!
      • It had to happen at some point

        They were going to have to make the move to a new connector at some point and no matter when that was there would be people that are not happy about it. For me it basically only comes down to my sync and charging cables being an issue but my wife has several docks. Originally I read speculation that the adapter would be $10 or a 3 pack for $29 which wasn't too unreasonable but if they stick with the $29 each price that's ridiculous.
        • The adapter price

          It all depends on what you will have to adapt to. If you need to adapt to your HDMI cable, then you could just buy a new HDMI cable with the new connector (it might work better). Or the VGA adapter etc.

          If you have 5-6 existing interface accessories, then $29 for an adapter is fine.

          The iPhone 5 already comes with an new USB/charging cable, so you won't need an adapter for your existing charging cable.

          The worst case are the various stands. You can't use any adapter there, because they are designed for the iPhone to rest on the stand (firmly). All of your existing stands become obsolete with the iPhone 5 and the new iPods. So, either use your existing iPod/iPhone devices, or start over :)

          I am glad they went all-digital with the new adapter. That would make some things way simpler (and some other more complex :))