Korean Carriers Reportedly Negotiating with Apple for 800/1800 MHz LTE Service on Next iPhone

Apple's next-generation iPhone is of course expected to support LTE connectivity in at least some markets, but given differences in LTE frequency bands around the world it is interesting to note that The Korea Times reports (via The Next Web) on comments from sources at current iPhone partners SK Telecom and KT claiming that they are currently in negotiations with Apple over LTE service for the forthcoming device.

"KT is in negotiation with Apple to persuade the latter to support KT’s 1.8-gigahertz frequency in Korea for the upcoming iPhone," said one senior KT executive, asking not to be identified. KT spokeswoman Kim Yoon-jeong declined to confirm.

The company, which joined the race for LTE-enabled smartphones later rivals SK and LG, is trying to persuade Apple to have its new iPhone support LTE connectivity, according to KT officials.

SK Telecom is also pushing for the same. Officials from the nation's biggest mobile carrier are currently in Apple headquarters in California to persuade Apple to support SK's LTE frequency for its local customers.

It is unclear, however, exactly what SK Telecom and KT are attempting to achieve in their efforts to "persuade" Apple to support their LTE frequencies on the next-generation iPhone, given that the hardware capabilities of the device have long been finalized. If the hardware does support the Korean carriers' frequencies and the negotiations are simply over contractual terms, it would suggest that there could be significant expansion of international LTE compatibility for the iPhone compared to the third-generation iPad.

ultrafast 4g lte
The third-generation iPad supports LTE only over the 700 MHz and 2100 MHz frequency bands, with only a handful of carriers including AT&T and Verizon in the United States and Bell, Rogers, and Telus in Canada being supported for the device. With SK Telecom using the 800 MHz band as its primary LTE spectrum and 1800 MHz as a secondary band, and KT operating solely on 1800 MHz, the next-generation iPhone hardware would need to have new LTE frequency support for service on those carriers to even be possible. Notably, the 800 MHz and 1800 MHz bands are also the spectrum being used for LTE in Europe, Australia, and other markets, and thus hardware compatibility with those frequencies could significantly expand the number of countries and carriers on which the next iPhone could support LTE connectivity.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

landroverz7 Avatar
129 months ago
I wish

I wish apple can create a chip that can:

Automatically change from 700 - 2300 mhz.

Support 2g/3g/4g/lte ...

Wifi 802.11ac

NFC / Bluetooth 4.0

This chip would change the world
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghostface147 Avatar
129 months ago
I wish apple can create a chip that can:

Automatically change from 700 - 2300 mhz.

Support 2g/3g/4g/lte ...

Wifi 802.11ac

NFC / Bluetooth 4.0

This chip would change the world

That's not up to Apple. That's up to Qualcomm or whichever future baseband provider they want to use.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghostface147 Avatar
129 months ago
Too bad there isn't a worldwide standard on frequencies. Not even the US has one.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69650 Avatar
129 months ago
Dear Ofcom, please get off your lazy backsides and get moving with the UK 4G auction. By the time we get 4G in this country it will already be out of date. Grrrrrr :(
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ddarko Avatar
129 months ago
This is why all of the telecoms should have gotten together to agree on standards. When each carrier has different bands they operate on, it makes it difficult for phone makers. This is the same reason no one can agree on what 4G and LTE actually mean. The carriers just made it up as they went along.
The carriers didn't just "make it up as they went along." The frequencies are all over the map around the world because much of the LTE bandwidth was taken from other services that were already using it. For example, in the UK, a lot of the LTE bandwidth will come from the frequency where analog TV is. That means a lot of internal coordination needs to be done before LTE frequencies can be picked and assigned - the UK isn't going to turn off the BBC tv signal for its citizens in order to harmonize LTE with Singapore, for example, and the USA didn't pick the same frequencies as Europe because those EU frequencies are already used for something else in the USA (and vice versa). The carriers aren't at fault for the frequency assignment - that's the result of the fact that frequencies in different parts of the world are used for different things, some of which could be moved to other frequencies but others which are still so widely used that it's virtually impossible to refarm the frequency. Of course, some carriers in the world do deserve blame for delaying the introduction of LTE. In the UK, carriers have delayed the LTE auctions repeatedly by threatening to sue Ofcom because a decision wasn't to their commercial liking, forcing the regulator to hold off on auctions until the carrier squabbling can be resolved.

Since it's the same 800/1800 MHz bands used for LTE in the EU, I would presume this to be a no brainer.
Being in the same band doesn't make compatibility easy - a lot of AT&T and Verizon's LTE bandwidth overlap in the 700Mhz band but they're not compatible because they're tuned to different frequencies in the band. You need to have a specific antenna that tuned to the frequency, which adds cost and complexity to the device. This issue is also a wrinkle in any move to require carrier interoperability on the LTE band - if the FCC ever issue such a rule, all current LTE phones won't interoperate because none of them contain all the necessary antennas.

LTE frequency support is especially troublesome for Apple because it tries to have a single device that can sell globally and avoid regional hardware customization. Other device makers have no problem introducing country-specific phones but Apple has tried to avoid that although obviously, if the market is big enough they will do it, e.g. AT&T LTE iPad and a Verizon LTE iPad. Software radio frequency tuners have been in the works for years but it's still not commercially deployed.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iSamurai Avatar
129 months ago
This is why all of the telecoms should have gotten together to agree on standards. When each carrier has different bands they operate on, it makes it difficult for phone makers. This is the same reason no one can agree on what 4G and LTE actually mean. The carriers just made it up as they went along.
But then again individual countries control and designate each spectrum to different purposes (e.g. Tv, radio, military) wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frequency_allocation). So it would be really difficult for a worldwide standard to be implemented. Analogue tv in Australia will be shut down soon and that band (700MHz) will be used for 4G.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

M2 13-Inch MacBook Pro With 256GB SSD Appears Slower Than Equivalent M1 in Real-World Speed Tests

Monday June 27, 2022 1:57 pm PDT by
Benchmark testing has indicated that the 256GB variant of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 chip offers slower SSD performance than its M1 equivalent, and now real-world stress testing by YouTuber Max Yuryev of Max Tech suggests that the 256GB SSD in the 13-inch MacBook Pro is also underperforming in day-to day-usage. The M2 MacBook Pro with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM was slower than the M1 MacBook ...
original iphone 2007

15 Years Ago Today, the iPhone Went On Sale

Wednesday June 29, 2022 4:43 am PDT by
Fifteen years ago to this day, the iPhone, the revolutionary device presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, officially went on sale. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and went on sale on June 29, 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are not three separate devices," Jobs famously said. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the...
macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
maxresdefault

Video Comparison: M2 MacBook Pro vs. M1 MacBook Pro

Tuesday June 28, 2022 2:45 pm PDT by
Apple last week launched an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it is the first Mac that is equipped with an updated M2 chip. As it's using a brand new chip, we thought we'd pick up the M2 MacBook Pro and compare it to the prior-generation M1 MacBook Pro to see just what's new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. For the video comparison, we're using the...
iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro vs. 14 Pro: New Features to Expect if You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday June 27, 2022 11:22 am PDT by
With many customers choosing to upgrade their iPhone every two or three years nowadays, there are lots of iPhone 11 Pro users who might be interested in upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro later this year. Those people are in for a treat, as three years of iPhone generations equals a long list of new features and changes to look forward to. Below, we've put together a list of new features and...
iPhone vs Galaxy Larger

Apple Executive Says Samsung Copied the iPhone and Simply 'Put a Bigger Screen Around It'

Tuesday June 28, 2022 8:59 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern today shared a new documentary about the evolution of the iPhone ahead of the 15th anniversary of the device launching on June 29, 2007. The documentary includes an interview with Apple's marketing chief Greg Joswiak, iPhone co-creator Tony Fadell, and a family of iPhone users. One segment of the interview reflects on Android smartphones gaining larger...
M2 Pro and Max Feature

Apple's Upcoming M2 Pro Chip for High-End MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Will Reportedly Be 3nm

Monday June 27, 2022 7:31 am PDT by
TSMC will manufacture Apple's upcoming "M2 Pro" and "M3" chips based on its 3nm process, according to Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes. "Apple reportedly has booked TSMC capacity for its upcoming 3nm M3 and M2 Pro processors," said DigiTimes, in a report focused on competition between chipmakers like TSMC and Samsung to secure 3nm chip orders. As expected, the report said TSMC will...
Apple 5G Modem Feature Triad

Kuo: Apple's Work on 5G Modem Chip 'Failed,' Qualcomm to Remain Supplier for 2023 iPhones

Tuesday June 28, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
For the last several years, Apple has been working to develop its own 5G modem chip so that it won't need to rely on Qualcomm as a supplier, but according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's efforts "may have failed." Kuo says that his "latest survey" suggests that development on the chip has stalled, which means Qualcomm would remain the exclusive supplier for 5G chips for the 2023...