The iPhone 5S could be one of the first smartphones in the U.S. to support LTE Advanced, the latest version of LTE which supports faster downloads, better coverage on the fringe of 4G LTE networks and a better experience — but the addition would be of little use to most consumers as carriers in the U.S. have yet to roll out LTE Advanced networks.
Apple is holding an iPhone event on September 10th where we expect to see the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C announced and all the new features laid bare alongside an iOS 7 release date announcement.
One of these new features could be LTE Advanced, which is the next generation of LTE connectivity. Apple finally added 4G LTE to the iPhone with the iPhone 5, so this would be a switch from lagging behind in adding new standards to matching Samsung and beating other rivals to LTE Advanced functionality.
In July rumors of an iPhone 5S with LTE Advanced surfaced with reports that Apple was in talks with SK Telecom, a South Korean carrier, to deliver an iPhone 5S that would operate on the new LTE Advanced network.
Today a new rumors appears out of Germany, from Macerkopf, which speculates that German carrier Deutsche Telecom is planning on an iPhone 5S with LTE Advanced support later this month. The rumors comes out of Deutsche Telecom’s announcement that it will carry the Samsung Galaxy S4 with LTE Advanced,
Samsung will be offering an upgrade of its Galaxy S4 with LTE+. Comparable devices from other vendors will follow at the end of September.
Of course this announcement doesn’t mention Apple or the iPhone by name, but it is one of the most anticipated devices to arrive later this month.
At first glance the carrier could be talking about the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which launched yesterday with support for LTE Advanced, but it is not from another vendor, nor is it really a comparable device to the iPhone 5S. When comparing devices, the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 go head to head most often, and in late September we expect it will be the iPhone 5S vs. Galaxy S4.
The other explanation is that the LG G2 which is finally arriving on Verizon and T-Mobile could be the device Deutsche Telecom is referring to.
Apple did not initially support 3G technology in the iPhone, despite it being a common feature for competing smartphones. Apple was also slow to add 4G LTE, waiting until 2012 to add the feature which first appeared in Android phones in early 2011.
While multiple 4G LTE Advanced networks up and running in Korea and Germany could give Apple a reason to consider an iPhone 5S with LTE Advanced support, U.S. carriers a painfully behind in deploying the new technology. T-Mobile plans to deliver some LTE Advanced features later this year, though the carrier is still working to build out it’s fledgling LTE network in general.
Verizon’s LTE network rollout is complete, but the carrier plans to start testing LTE AWS and Voice over LTE this year, but is less forthcoming with a timetable. Nicola Palmer, Verizon Wireless Chief Network Officer, shared a small update in July,
LTE Advanced is really a matter of standards-based network enhancements and performance features and how you deploy them. We plan on leading in this space just as we have led in the deployment of LTE.
We’re excited about the carrier aggregation feature of LTE Advanced that allows us to take our 700 MHz and AWS spectrum assets and make them seamlessly operate together and appear as one to devices and to customers.
AT&T previously planned for a LTE Advanced rollout in 2013, and Digital Trends reports that AT&T is still aiming for the second half of the year. Fierce Wireless reports Sprint has plans for LTE Advanced and that some of the LTE Advanced Features are already commercially deployed.
If Apple does offer an iPhone 5S with LTE Advanced support, consumers could see benefits, but those in the U.S. may not actually enjoy the new features until 2014.