Some European carriers unable to support 4G LTE on iPhone 5

“Apple’s iPhone 5, launched to great fanfare in the United States on Wednesday, will not work on superfast mobile broadband networks in much of Europe, potentially confusing consumers and setting back the development of 4G services in the region,” Paul Sandle and Leila Abboud report for Reuters. “The problem lies in the range of spectrum – the airwaves used to carry mobile signals – used in Europe. The iPhone 5 is not compatible with 4G services on the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands deployed across much of western Europe, including Spain, Italy and France. Instead, it works on the 1.8GHz band, which is still being used for voice calls by most operators in Europe.”

“Apple will produce three models of the iPhone: one optimised for U.S. carrier AT&T’s network and spectrum bands, another for Sprint and Verizon’s U.S. norms and a third for the rest of the world, including two European operators,” Sandle and Abboud report. “Deutsche Telekom in Germany and Everything Everywhere in the UK will initially be able to offer the fastest internet access to iPhone 5 users in their markets, because they are the carriers holding the right frequencies. Apple could later introduce other models compatible with more European operators’ needs, analysts say, but for now some European operators will be hamstrung.”

Sandle and Abboud report, “Europe’s construction of 4G networks is lagging behind the U.S. and Asia, though European operators are expected to spend $15.25 billion over the next three years to upgrade infrastructure to 4G speeds, according to Rethink Technology Research. The region has only a few hundred thousand 4G subscribers, most of whom use laptop dongles or home routers because there are few compatible smartphones available… Even without 4G, the new iPhone will support the faster version of 3G, known as DC-HSDPA, with up to 42 megabit speeds – faster than many home Internet connections. Long-term evolution (LTE) technology, as the true 4G gear is dubbed, can offer up to 100 megabit speeds. O2 Chief Executive Ronan Dunne said the iPhone 5 would remain popular on its network in Britain despite the lack of 4G. ‘The new device will work brilliantly on our network,’ he said in an interview.”

Read more in the full article here.


      1. Really? Oh darn! Did you know that MDN did a take on the VP of Google in the last few days mocking him because he was “stuttering like a 12 year old”. It has since been edited out so I think my comment is no less constructive as that.

  1. @MDN: In “…another for Sprint and Verizon US norms…” the word “norms” really is a misnomer, partially obfuscating the CDMA gaffe and incompatibilities these carriers put up the rest of the US (and the world) with.

    I am just wondering if there is a roadmap along which, globally, carriers will start converging in their use of frequency bands. Currently we are faced with a huge mess, the bottom line of which is that mobile phones are more expensive than they should be.

  2. That is to skew it a bit.
    It’s the iPhone that does not support the LTE we have here in Sweden.. We have a very well built out 4G networks in Sweden running on 800, 900 and 2600 MHz. I can get 80 Mbit mobile LTE broad band today. Of course, who needs 80 Mbit in a phone. 3G will work just as well with 42 Mbit speeds but it’s still sad. The new iPhone 5 can’t be marketed as an LTE phone here. One of our largest carriers Telia have a license to operate LTE in the 1800 MHz band early next year. But today Telia and Tele2 runs GSM on the 1800 band. The carrier 3 does not own any 1800 spectrum. There is how ever talk to move the GSM traffic and use this spectrum for LTE in the future something that it seems the carriers are already planing for. Tele2 is saying on their website that they may build out their network to support 1800 LTE in the future. But not when that future will be.

  3. Don’t worry about Europe. With current immigration policies European countries will have a Muslim majority in about a decade and Sharia law will not allow iPhones or the Internet.

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