Why I think the iPhone 5 will support T-Mobile (3G & LTE)

So I came across this article this morning, based on an FCC filing Qualcomm made with the FCC. It details their septa-band (7-band) radio. The radio will support 3 bands under 1GHz (700 Upper & Lower, Cellular), 3 between 1.0-2.2Ghz (PCS, PCS-G, AWS-1), and one high band (2.2GHz+, likely for Clearwire’s LTE).

In its filing, Qualcomm said it has accelerated development of its next generation RF chip, the WTR1605L, which it said will support a total of seven frequency bands–three below 1 GHz, three higher bands, and one very high band (such as 2.5 GHz).

In the filing, it is more detailed – this is the radio for 28nm chips (they specifically name the S4/MSM-8960, though the MSM9615, likely to be Apple’s baseband chip, is also 28nm). They list all the bands that are expected to have LTE deployed on them in the filing

In the United States alone, operators have deployed or plan to deploy LTE in the:
700 MHz 3GPP bands (Band Classes 12, 13, 14, 17);
850 MHz cellular band (Band Class 5);
Original PCS band (Band Class 2);
PCS Block G (Band Class 25);
AWS-1 band (Band Class 4);
Potential AWS-4 band (Band Class 23);
Original 800 MHz iDEN band (Band Class 26); and<
BRS band (Band Class 41).

The carrier list that goes with that is as follows:

  • AT&T – Lower 700 (Band 17), possibly AWS-1, possibly AWS-4 (2015, if they team with Echostar)
  • Verizon – Upper 700, AWS-1
  • Sprint – PCS-G (2012), 800MHz SMR/iDEN (later)
  • T-Mobile – AWS-1
  • Clearwire – BRS (2.4-2.6GHz)
  • US Cellular – Lower 700MHz (band 12)
  • MetroPCS – AWS-1
  • Leap/Cricket – AWS-1, roaming with Cleariwre

I’m highly optimistic that, from a technical standpoint at least, said “The New iPhone”, were it to use the MSM9615 chip and be outfitted properly, could support all the bands necessary for LTE deployment in the US.

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