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Tag Archives: UMTS

4G Global Standard and the current 4G fragmentation!

I always understood that 2G and 3G were fragmented between GSM and CDMA Standards. Another thing that I had understood was that the new 4G was built to be a new common standard – see both Charts above.

However, when you look closer to it, it can be confusing given all the bands there are for 4G…

Check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks North America and European carriers have different 4G bands.

Ok fine, it seems making things complicated but if ONE phone can work on all these bands, be it.

HOWEVER again, checking the top smartphones of the moment: Apple iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G2 and Nokia Lumia 1020, none seem able to work on all global bands.

http://www.apple.com/iphone-5s/specs/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Galaxy_S4#Model_variants

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_G2#Model_variants

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_Lumia_1020#Model_variants

So basically, when we travel to another continent and we pay the roaming fees, we will only be able to access 3G while in our home markets we would have 4G? Makes no sense to me.

Alright, so as I imagined, Qualcomm has a “Global Radio Chip in the making”: http://gigaom.com/2013/02/21/qualcomms-new-radio-chip-gets-us-one-step-closer-to-a-global-4g-phone/. Fine. But this will only come to market next year I suppose…

The point to this:

1) why fragment the markets with so many bands?

2) why can’t we have more global communication standards in our new world becoming so global?

3) why while we have been drawn for more than 2 years under 4G ads for carriers or phone makers, only now or next year there will be a global radio chip?

[UPDATE] November 10, 2013

A few days ago, I bought a Google Nexus 5 Smartphone. As for the iPhone 5S and for the explanation above, the Nexus 5 will have different models, 2 actually: 1) North America and 2) Europe / Rest of the World:

http://www.google.com/nexus/5/

NETWORKS
2G/3G/4G LTE

North America:
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41

Rest of World:
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20
Still no news of the Qualcomm Global LTE radio chip.

Since this blog post and today’s update regarding the Nexus 5, I have discover this great presentation from Qualcomm on the Global LTE Segmentation, unfortunately a bit dated from 2012:
www.qualcomm.com/media/documents/files/4g-world-2012-global-multimode-carrier-aggregation.pdf