Global LTE carrier support with the iPhone 5s and 5c for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile

Global LTE carrier support with the iPhone 5s and 5c for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile
Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c support the most LTE bands of all smartphones at the moment, dethroning the octaband current leader Xperia Z Ultra by flaunting up to 13 LTE bands in the case of the Sprint model.

Truly global LTE devices have been a pipe dream so far, with all those competing bands and frequencies. We know Qualcomm made a veritable multiband LTE modem, and probably its variations are what is present on the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s, judging from the vast carrier support table Apple put up.

The four model numbers for each of the newly-announced 5s and 5c, come with 7-13 LTE bands support each, depending on the region they will be sold at. The whopping 13 bands are supported by the model that will be sold on Sprint and the Japanese carriers Softbank and KDDI, so if you pick that one unlocked, there is a good chance it will work on most LTE networks worldwide.

Apple promises in the fine print that "unlocked iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 models may support LTE networks outside the country of purchase when using a valid SIM from a supported carrier," so Sprint iPhone users are in luck, but the 11-band 5s and 5c models on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are not far behind either.

The thing is that the unlocked iPhones sold officially will be of the A1533/A1532 models meant for Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile, whereas the A1453/A1456 Sprint versions will be tied to the carrier, as those are only sold with a 2-year contract. If you are in good standing with Sprint, you can ask it to unlock the handset for you after three months in, though if you are fresh customer without credit history that might rise up to 18 months of continuous good standing. 

Even if you can get a hold on the Sprint model unlocked, or the one for the other major carriers, it will indeed work with most European/Asian LTE networks, save for band 7 (2600 MHz) of the typical European bands 3, 7 and 20 subset, which is also used in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. This means you will have spotty LTE coverage even with a Sprint model if you travel to a region where the carrier uses band 7. Tough luck, but still a great leap in compatibility improvement from the iPhone 5, and certainly leagues ahead of the LTE compatibility with other smartphones.

source: Apple

Related phones

iPhone 5s
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1570 mAh(10h 3G talk time)
iPhone 5c
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A6, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 1507 mAh(10h 3G talk time)

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14 Comments

1. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Just checked Craigslist this morning. A guy was selling a AT&T 32GB Gold iPhone 5 for $1600 lolololol.

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Same guy from last year. http://tinypic.com/r/edb8j/5

3. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Probably an iPhone 5 sprayed with gold color? :D

8. tomn1ce

Posts: 247; Member since: Mar 12, 2012

The sad part is that he'll most likely find a sucker that will buy it....

4. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

So basically the Sprint model is the best one to get but getting it unlocked (officially) is the hardest part. Not worth the hassle unless you really do travel around the world.

5. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Silly tech question. 8 bands is officially called octaband. What's the name for 11 & 13 respectively?

6. DaBigDogg

Posts: 24; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

undecim for 11, tredec for 13.

14. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

7. djcody

Posts: 228; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

Model A1457 for att, T-Mobile can't work on T-Mobile lack of band 4 what tm use for they lte. I think someone need check numbers before post. Thank you :-)

9. sp_5015

Posts: 6; Member since: Apr 16, 2013

Just a quick question for whoever would want to put their 2 cents in...does this mean that Sprint will go away from their embedded sim card strategy? I wondered if that would happen if the Softbank deal went through. Can we expect to have access to the sim card for future LTE devices with Sprint?

10. Johnabis

Posts: 61; Member since: Feb 17, 2011

as far as I understand it doesn't even support all of sprints 3 lte bands though. only supports 800mhz and 1900mhz but not 2500mhz

11. theoak

Posts: 324; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

There is a GSM version (AT&T and T-Mobile) and a CDMA version (Verizon) of the A1533 (5s). I doubt the GSM version has the CDMA radio in it. Hence, getting a A1533 for AT&T will probably NOT work on Verizon. However, if you were to get the A1533 Verizon version ... it should work fine for AT&T and T-Mobile.

12. ollienightly

Posts: 37; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Where did the "spotty" come from? Most major carriers around the world will be using 700/750APAC/800EUDD/850/900 bands in the future or at the moment for coverage. Even bands 1800/2100 have more coverage than 2600 and will continue to be so. So as long as you have the 5 lower bands and 1700/1800/1900/2100 bands, your coverage will be no less than any other device -- of course speed may suffer a bit (when 2500/2600 comes online). BTW if you look closely Sprint version actually supports 9 bands (4 sub bands 2 5 18 19)

13. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Another tech question - does the non-GSM iP5S (e.g. Sprint and VZW editions in the U.S.) have support for multi-tasking, where you can be talking on the phone and receiving e-mails or surfing the Internets at the same time? The non-GSM iP5 was missing an antenna that was present in the GSM edition, so no ability to talk and chew bubble gum (send e-mail/surf the Internets) at the same time.

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