Apple iPhone '5' To Feature First 4G LTE Network In The U.K., But Do U.S. Users Care?

 @LisaEadicicco
on August 22 2012 10:11 AM

Apple's iPhone 5 release is said to be the biggest handset launch in history-and for mobile subscribers in the U.K. the smartphone may represent a crucial first. If rumors hold up to be true, the iPhone 5 will support the first 4G LTE network in the U.K.

On Tuesday, U.K. communications regulator Ofcom granted approval to Everything Everywhere, the parent company of mobile providers Orange and T-Mobile, to launch the country's first 4G LTE network starting Sept. 11. This is just a day before the iPhone 5 is rumored to be unveiled by Apple.

It was also reported that the iPhone 5 will be one of the first smartphones to take advantage of this network, and Everything Everywhere may be an "exclusive" carrier of 4G LTE service in the U.K. for the next iPhone, as Cult of Mac reports.

The news comes from "multiple sources" who have suggested that the iPhone 5 will be compatible with the first 1800MHz 4G network to roll out across the U.K.  Apple has yet to confirm or deny this speculation, which means it can only be considered rumor at this point.

Although this hasn't been verified, it is likely that the iPhone 5 will feature 4G LTE connectivity. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are bound to be flaws with the LTE system, as was the case with the new iPad that launched in March. The issue lies in the fact that not every network uses the same network, and it is unclear how many networks the iPhone 5 will be able to support when it is released.

But for Everything Everywhere, this may not be as problematic. According to Cult of Mac, the rest of the 4G networks that will launch in the U.K. will features frequencies of 800MHz and 2.6GHz early next year. The network that Everything Everywhere uses will be at a frequency of 1800MHz, which is the same band used by other 4G networks across Europe and Australia.

 If Apple plans to extend its 4G network, which is a likely move by the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, this is likely to be one of the frequencies that the device is compatible with.

However, the speedier network may not be as important to some Apple consumers. A new survey has found that nearly half of Americans feel that 4G LTE is not necessary for the iPhone 5.

Investment firm Piper Jaffray surveyed 3,000 individuals according to Apple Insider, the results of which were released in a research note that was published on Wednesday by analyst Christopher M. Larsen. The survey found that 47 percent of consumers feel that they don't need 4G TE, and another 26 percent voted that they feel all 4G LTE network technologies are the same.

It also seems that smartphone users in the United States are unaware of the quality of 4G LTE networks across the country. The survey also asked consumers which carrier provides the best 4G LTE connectivity, and 51 percent indicated that they didn't know which service provider had the best.

It was also recently reported that Apple has been negotiating with two mobile carriers in Korea to provide the iPhone 5 through their 4G LTE networks. Officials from SK Telecom and KT allegedly revealed this information earlier in August, CNET reported.

"KT is in negotiation with Apple to persuade the latter to support KT's 1.8 gigahertz frequency in Korea for the upcoming iPhone," a senior KT executive said to the Korea Times. A KT spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

Support for 4G LTE is only one of the many rumored features that users expect to see in Apple's iPhone 5. Below is a roundup of the expected features that are said to appear on the next-generation Apple handset.

  • 4-inch display
  • Improved quad-core processor, likely manufactured using 32nm process tech
  • Improved graphics and a better camera
  • New Dock connection, likely to be Thunderbolt or mini-USB
  • Tougher glass
  • Thinner chassis
  • International support for those 4G/LTE networks which exist
  • Much-improved iCloud integration
  • iOS 6: many improvements in Siri
  • iOS 6: Apple Maps
  • iOS 6: Passbook, potentially though not necessarily featuring NFC payment support
  • iOS 6: Facebook and Twitter integration
  • Bigger, thinner front plate
  • In-Cell touch panels
  • Redesigned speaker grills
  • Migrated FaceTime Camera
  • Migrated Earphone Jack
  • New Camera Opening
  • Advanced Haptics
  • OLED Display
  • Near-Field Communication
  • The iWallet
  • Apple Avatars
  • The Photographer's Timer
  • 3D Photography
  • 3D Object Recognition
  • Multiplayer Gaming

Apple's iPhone 5 is rumored for a release date next month on Sept. 21, with an announcement coming just nine days earlier on Sept. 12. The company has yet to confirm this news, but rumors and speculation have increased as more clues seem to surface.

On Tuesday it was reported that a "trusted Verizon employee" told Tech Crunch that the carrier would be having an all-staff vacation blackout from Sept. 21 through Sept. 30. Last week, it was also reported that AT&T was preparing for the iPhone 5 release date. A source allegedly told BGR that the carrier was planning on launching the next-generation iPhone in the third or fourth week of September.

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