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Carriers Testing LTE-Enabled iPhone?

BGR reports that Apple appears to already be testing a 4G LTE-enabled iPhone with carriers, as evidenced by a special internal carrier test build of iOS carrying a property list file for LTE compatibility.
While we can’t confirm that the upcoming fifth-generation iPhone will be able to support 4G LTE, we can now exclusively confirm that Apple’s carrier partners are testing iPhone models with LTE capability. BGR has obtained evidence of an internal iOS test build from one of Apple’s major carrier partners, and buried in the firmware is a property list (.plist file) for LTE.
The iPhone 5 is expected to support HSPA+ technology for GSM networks, which is being marketed by many carriers as "4G", but carriers are also beginning their rollouts of 4G LTE networks that will bring even faster data speeds. Apple has indicated, however, that it has been reluctant to adopt LTE technology so far due to a lack of appropriate chipsets, with size, power and other issues forcing design compromises that Apple has been unwilling to make. LTE chips suitable for Apple's needs are reportedly set to debut in early 2012.


It should come as no surprise that Apple has been testing LTE technology for the iPhone as it seeks to find the proper time to deploy the functionality. Apple has notably been conservative in adopting the latest cellular technology standards, as evidenced by the original iPhone debuting with only EDGE capabilities when a number of carriers had already begun building out their 3G networks.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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39 months ago
I would bet on iPhone 6. Given Apple's demands for battery life, it doesn't seem likely right now.
Rating: 13 Votes
39 months ago
Before any LTE-fanboys suddenly soil their underwear in the manner which is normally restricted to 2am in the morning, huddled over your MBP (contents of screen shall not be discussed) hoping your parents are fast asleep...

As we've seen from the 3G-MBP, Apple tests lots of stuff, and not all of it makes it to production, or at least not necessarily that quickly. This in no way 'proves' that iPhone 5 will have LTE. It's evidence for it, but given Apple's stance on what are currently very power consuming chips, IMO iPhone 6 is the more likely contender.

What it does show is that Apple's research team are doing the sensible, and tbh expected, thing of trying to work out how best to get LTE technology into a phone in such a way that its inclusion is acceptable to the top brass. The iPhone and iPad were under development for years and only saw the light of day when Steve thought they were ready. LTE will come, but not necessarily right away.
Rating: 7 Votes
39 months ago
I would be fine as long as the iPhone 5 had HSPA+. It is a pretty good jump from 3g and i don't expect LTE to be really anywhere any time soon.
Rating: 7 Votes
39 months ago
I've been testing an LTE device for work-- the LG Revolution. I understand completely why Apple is reluctant to adopt the technology. The phone is a piece of crap. I take it off the charger at 8 AM, the battery is dead by 1 PM with very light use. The phone is enormous, and thicker than the original iPad. LTE isn't available everywhere, so a lot of the time the phone is on 3G anyways. And finally, the phone can't smoothly transition from 4G->3G or 3G->4G; there's a small period where the phone will actually drop the connection for a second and pages will refuse to load.

I won't be complaining in the slightest if Apple holds out til 2012 for LTE.
Rating: 7 Votes
39 months ago

Hardware support of LTE != Carrier testing. Code is needed to support any hardware, even if it were just a bunch of parts on a circuit board.



What am I missing? The starting point here is the report of "testing a 4G LTE-enabled iPhone with carriers" and "evidence of an internal iOS test build ... buried in the firmware."

LTR-enabled iPhone + internal iOS test build == hardware and code.
Rating: 5 Votes
39 months ago
I could be wrong, but isn't the fact that the carriers are testing it, not just apple, prove that it is more imminent than we suspected?
Rating: 4 Votes
39 months ago
Hardware support of LTE != Carrier testing. Code is needed to support any hardware, even if it were just a bunch of parts on a circuit board.
Rating: 3 Votes
39 months ago

Not meant negative, but neither of you know anything about the battery of the iPhone 5. You are making assumptions based on the current iPhone battery.


No, they were probably making assumptions on the current 4G-LTE smartphones and their terrible battery life.
Rating: 3 Votes
39 months ago

Hardware support of LTE != Carrier testing. Code is needed to support any hardware, even if it were just a bunch of parts on a circuit board.


There's no urgency. When LTE is more widely available and when the chipsets for LTE phones become more energy-efficient, Apple can start thinking about rolling out an LTE-enabled iPhone.

Also, LTE is still only "3.9G." LTE Advanced appears to be the leading candidate for the final 4G spec, but apparently the 4G spec still hasn't been finalized yet. What is final is the 4G *requirements* document.

One thing about the real 4G requirements that the carriers don't want anybody to know or understand is that voice and data will be unified into a single packet-switched internet protocol stream. Web surfing, texting, and voice calls will all be handled by data packets, the way your ISP handles your email, Skype calls, FaceTime, etc. 3G and LTE don't do that yet. 4G will, and the carriers don't want to give up separate voice and data plan billing.
Rating: 3 Votes
39 months ago
Gotta laugh at all these people making statements as if they are fact and as if you know what Apple is/isn't working on or releasing soon. Glad to know we have a bunch of Apple executives and board members on MacRumors.

Fact is none of you have a clue so quit makings posts starting with "Apple isn't" or "Apple won't", because you really don't know and make yourself look really stupid.

Haven't we learned anything from all of the "Apple isn't working on/releasing a CDMA iPhone blah blah blah" threads?
Rating: 3 Votes

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