Samsung is to release a version of its Galaxy S4 flagship device that can handle LTE-Advanced, a variant of LTE that promises speeds twice the rate of standard 4G. It could be some time before anyone outside of South Korea can use it, however.
Samsung co-CEO JK Shin told Reuters on Monday that it will launch an S4 with a chip that supports LTE-Advanced, the 3GPP standard that offers theoretical maximum download speeds of 3Gbps and uploads speeds of 1.5Gbps.
The new higher-speed S4 will be available in South Korea as early as next month and the company is in talks with several overseas carriers to support the phone, according to the report.
Reuters says the device will use an LTE-Advanced chip from Qualcomm. Shin is only quoted as saying Samsung will be the first to market with a commercial "advanced 4G" smartphone, however.
Qualcomm earlier this year announced its Gobi-based chipsets with the LTE-Advanced tag, which it said supported peak download speeds of up to 150Mbps (compared to 42Mbps for its 3G chips). Perhaps more importantly, it also supports LTE-Advanced's carrier aggregation feature, which, as the name suggests, allows differerent tranches of bandwidth to be meshed together to create an aggregate bandwidth (say, five chunks of 20Mhz could be turned into 100Mhz) and so higher speeds.
Network equipment providers like Ericsson showed how LTE-Advanced could be used to deliver 900Mbps downlink in 2011, while South Korean carrier SK Telecom was one of the first carriers to demo the technology last year, and is now pressing ahead with plans to deploy it later this year.
Another possible candidate for Samsung's new Galaxy S4 is Russian carrier Yota, which launched its LTE-Advanced network last year.