Korean carriers SK Telecom and KT have revealed that they are currently in talks with Apple over supporting the next iPhone on their 800 MHz and 1800 MHz LTE networks. Although it seems inevitable that the handset will indeed boast LTE connectivity, as we know from the new iPad, different carriers use different frequency bands all around the world, and so not every LTE network will be supported.
If you’re in Korea, however, it seems there may be support for you… though it may not be available from launch.
The Korea Times reports:
“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.
The fact that these carriers are trying to “persuade” Apple to support their LTE networks suggests they are still far from reaching a deal. And of course, with the iPhone now just weeks away, its hardware will have already finalized, and components will already be making their way through the production line.
With that said, if the iPhone 5 doesn’t already support these carriers, it most certainly won’t support them for some time yet. Maybe Apple will save this for the iPhone 5S.
If the new iPhone does support these LTE networks, and it’s merely a case of striking new deals with the carriers, then the handset will already have significantly better support for LTE networks than the new iPad. Apple’s third-generation tablet is its first device with LTE, but it only supports 700 MHz and 2100 MHz frequency bands.
What that means is, the new iPad can only connect to a small few carriers around the world, including AT&T and Verizon in the U.S. This has caused problems in countries like Australia and the U.K., where Apple has advertised “4G LTE” connectivity despite a lack of support for their 4G networks. The Cupertino company has been forced to remove mentions of 4G since the new iPad launches in some countries, and even offered early adopters a full refund for their purchase.
If the iPhone 5 supports 800 MHz and 1800 MHz bands as well, it wouldn’t only support SK Telecom and KT, but also LTE networks in Europe and Australia that use the same frequencies. This would allow the device to support a large number of 4G networks the world over.