4G LTE is one of many star attractions offered in Apple’s New iPad, but the device itself is coming up short in the interoperability and roaming department.
Bill Dudley, group director of operator services products at Sybase 365, talked to WirelessWeek regarding the New iPad. He says that after attending Mobile World Congress (MWC) and talking to a number of executives from a variety of carriers, he’s concerned that the industry is still failing to grasp the true lack of standards around global LTE deployments.
There are currently anywhere from 5 to 6 frequencies – 700 MHz, 1200 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2600 MHz – upon which LTE is being deployed around the globe. Dudley hopes that such fragmentation doesn’t inhibit deployments in any given country.
“Certainly there are some problems when you go outside your own network with roaming, but that’s something Sybase 365 is attempting to address with our service,” Dudley says, noting that his company at MWC launched a new routing hub that allows roaming flexibility to global LTE subscribers.
In the United States, most LTE deployments are happening in the 700 MHz bands. According to Teleanalytics, almost 50 percent of LTE deployments by 2015 will be in the 2600 MHz band.
The New iPad supports frequencies largely found only in North American markets. Unfortunately, this 4G functionality will not work in other announced countries like Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and China.
“I think we’re going to see further settlement in the 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz bands for most of the world and it kind of remains to be seen what the U.S. will do,” Dudley says, adding that the other standardization will be around the AWS frequencies, including the 1700 and 2100 bands that are largely in use by T-Mobile USA.
Most consumers purchase Wi-Fi only versions of Apple’s iPad, so for users of Tru VoIP App, this would not be an issue. Tru SIM Local Anywhere users do not yet have access to 4G LTE.
While it’s surprising that Apple chose to include 4G LTE in the new iPad, the new iPad could be Apple’s way of getting its feet wet and experimenting with the 4G LTE technology before it brings LTE to market in the next iPhone.
By this time next year, say some experts, 4G LTE technology will be cheaper, more mature, and more accessible worldwide. The lack of international roaming on 4G LTE will not be a problem for long.
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