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Verizon and AT&T LTE likely to be incompatible

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Verizon and AT&T LTE likely to be incompatible
Bad news for anyone hoping that the expansion of LTE in America would mean we would finally have more freedom to switch carriers. A new report is saying that it is likely that devices for the Verizon LTE network will be incompatible with the AT&T LTE network because the frequency bands for each network will be different. 

Most GSM networks run on the same frequencies, meaning you can simply swap your SIM card in an unlocked device while traveling and be able to have service wherever you go. There are some differences, like the frequency difference between T-Mobile and AT&T, which means devices for either network will be able to use the other's EDGE network, but not the faster 3G network. Similarly, it looks like LTE could be the great divider, not unifier, unless all phones come with radios compatible with the entire spectrum, which isn't very likely given carrier history in the USA. 

Reportedly, both AT&T and Verizon will run their LTE network in the 700 MHz band, but Verizon will use spectrum between 746 and 787 MHz, while AT&T will use 704-746 MHz. MetroPCS, AT&T, Verizon, and Cricket all own LTE spectrum in the 1700 MHz range, and Light Squared owns spectrum around 1500 MHz. Unfortunately, if carriers want their devices built to be incompatible with other networks, that's what will happen. 

source: PC Mag

22 Comments
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posted on 14 Jul 2011, 17:32 3

1. steven252000 (Posts: 64; Member since: 10 Feb 2010)


Well I can't say that this is a big suprise to me.........

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 18:54 1

9. tuminatr (Posts: 638; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


I don't think you are correct Phonearena, the msm9600 chip set supports all those frequencies and CDMA rev A ,1X, HSPA+ . At&T could however use the MSM9200 chipset that does not support CDMA rev A and 1X this could be true and just like the verizon phones they could lock out support for other networks

posted on 15 Jul 2011, 13:01 2

19. Jeromeo (Posts: 135; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


Remember that AT&T's intended plans are to repurpose T-Mobile's 1700MHz 3.5G HSPA+ spectrum to their new LTE network.
That would make 700/1700 dual band LTE, 850/1900 dual band UMTS/HSPA+, and 850/1900 dual band GSM/GPRS/EDGE for AT&T.
I am sure that if Nokia can make nearly every model smartphone penta-band compatible with both AT&T AND T-Mobile's 3.5G networks (and soon Samsung will as well with its Hercules), then one company will use a multi-mode, multi-band radio.
It's rumored that iApple will release its next iPhone to be compatible with both Verizon and Sprint + AT&T and T-Mobile to help with the merger and transition to different bands for that MaBell/TMO monopoly proposition. Hopefully they will set a precedent and cause other manufacturers to imitate, copy, or play catch-up at the benefit of the consumer.

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 17:33 3

2. luis_lopez_351 (Posts: 951; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)


Im sorry but i got to give a big HA to sprint for wanting 4G too early and getting outdated wimax xD

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 17:33

3. beatlesfan (Posts: 150; Member since: 03 Mar 2011)


I would have assumed this to be the case. The phone would just not work at all if it wasn't in a 4g area anyways.

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 22:14

13. timothyy (unregistered)


Ha to you, wimax is in NO way out dated. If sprint used lte they would have all the same problems they do now. Its the frequency they are using.

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 17:33

4. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)


Well, That sucks

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 17:56 2

5. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yup, and that att-tmobile merger was supposed to make the mobile market a kindler gentler place to play....


wooopsie.

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 18:21

7. box (unregistered)


This isn't surprising; few carriers would willingly share spectrum with a competitor, especially the near-duopoly of AT&T and Verizon

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 18:47

8. ibap (Posts: 675; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)


Duh. And how did this conveniently (for the carriers) just 'happen'?

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 18:56

10. Gary (unregistered)


In the end, whos 4g will be the fastest??????????

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 19:41

11. stealthd (Posts: 869; Member since: 12 Jun 2011)


Doesn't mean we can't have dual/tri/quad-band LTE phones sometime in the future. They also need to enable voice-over-LTE for complete compatibility (since Verizon's current LTE phones only use LTE for data).

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 21:32 1

12. joe78 (unregistered)


verizon phones are locked to the network..ATT phones are locked to the phones..big diff there

posted on 14 Jul 2011, 22:49 1

14. Dv (unregistered)


This is a bogus story, look at AT&T their GSM frequency is different the the vast majority of the world you have to have a quad band phone provided by AT&T for it to work in the rest of the world. I believe they will remedy the frequency discrepancies in a similar fashion due to the fact that over 120 global carriers have committed to LTE and there will be plenty of variations of frequencies used around the world.

Verizon Is the only company that will have sebiquas 700mhz spectrum coast to coast. AT&T and the other carriers and providers such as Lightsquared will have pockets of 700mhz but there will be variations of frequency resulting in inconsistent signal strenghth and indoor penetration.

The potential variation of frequency will not be an issue will phones being compatible once the carriers foot prints are completely converted to LTE. This may be an issue in the transition years due to the carriers having to put radios in the phones that will communicate with the existing networks which are not compatible.

AT&T shouldn't worry too much sense their self assessment put them 2-3 years behind Verizon in LTE infrastructure build out without a sebiquas spectrum.

posted on 15 Jul 2011, 10:06

15. rican (Posts: 132; Member since: 02 Jul 2011)


theres no sim cards in verizon!

posted on 15 Jul 2011, 10:24 1

16. jroc74 (Posts: 3985; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


For their LTE phones it is. I dont know if it means the same as a sim card for a GSM phone on other carriers tho..but for LTE Verizon went the sim card route.

Dont know if the activating is different with their LTE phones too. If I remember correctly, you should be able to swap the sim cards between different LTE devices on Verizon.

posted on 15 Jul 2011, 10:36

17. rican (Posts: 132; Member since: 02 Jul 2011)


thanks for the info i did not know that.

posted on 15 Jul 2011, 14:25

21. brikz4real (Posts: 173; Member since: 24 Dec 2008)


The LTE SIM cards are not the same as GSM SIM cards. You can't swap them from device to device. The LTE SIM cards are meant to only work with the ESN/Device ID on that specific device. When you change devices, you have to get another LTE SIM card. The SIMs that Verizon carries for "voice" are in their global phones ... like the Incredible 2, BB Storm, and Motorola Droid 3. LTE SIMS give access for 4G data only.

posted on 15 Jul 2011, 16:05

22. incorrect (unregistered)


Not true, your supposed to use the same SIM card when switching LTE devices on VZW.

posted on 01 Nov 2011, 23:37

23. ve6yeq (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)


There is a standard for holding a CDMA subscription in a SIM card known as a CSIM. Some Verizon LTE handsets support CSIM and hence you can move the SIM from handset to handset and all works fine. There are also some older Verizon LTE handsets that still use the NVRAM for the CDMA subscription and only use the SIM for the LTE subscription and for these when you move the SIM, only the LTE data moves.

posted on 15 Jul 2011, 12:54 1

18. Jeromeo (Posts: 135; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


Remember that AT&T's intended plans are to repurpose T-Mobile's 1700MHz 3.5G HSPA+ spectrum to their new LTE network.
That would make 700/1700 dual band LTE, 850/1900 dual band UMTS/HSPA+, and 850/1900 dual band GSM/GPRS/EDGE for AT&T.
I am sure that if Nokia can make nearly every model smartphone penta-band compatible with both AT&T AND T-Mobile's 3.5G networks (and soon Samsung will as well with its Hercules), then one company will use a multi-mode, multi-band radio.
It's rumored that iApple will release its next iPhone to be compatible with both Verizon and Sprint + AT&T and T-Mobile to help with the merger and transition to different bands for that MaBell/TMO monopoly proposition. Hopefully they will set a precedent and cause other manufacturers to imitate, copy, or play catch-up at the benefit of the consumer.

posted on 15 Jul 2011, 13:23

20. skymitch89 (Posts: 983; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)


That's not surprising. At&t has the upper part of the 700Mhz spectrum and Verizon has the lower. Just like how At&t and T-Mo both run on GSM, but At&t's 3G is not compatible with T-Mo's and visa versa.

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