Apple has turned the tables on service providers, running tests of the iPhone 5 on their 4G/LTE networks before allowing carriers to market the new smartphone. Now some mobile operators, who are used to testing their own networks when launching a new device, may find themselves unable to offer LTE service on the iPhone 5 even if they have the phone. Last week Swisscom launched its LTE network, but was not able to offer LTE service to iPhone 5 users.
“Apple will provide a software update in due course,” Swisscom told frustrated iPhone 5 users. The carrier is waiting for Apple’s engineers to certify the phone according to their own tests, which they are conducting on Swisscom’s network. If the iPhone 5 passes the tests, Apple will push a software update that will allow the device to connect to Swisscom’s LTE network.
Apple (AAPL) is the first handset maker to take control of the network testing process in this way. Although carriers usually get the blame when a device does not perform on their network, Apple apparently wants to minimize the chances that this will happen with the iPhone 5. The Cupertino company’s new testing strategy was first reported by Telecom.com, which says it had heard about the plan as early as October.
Independent certification of carrier networks by Apple will mean that unlocked iPhone 5 handsets will not necessarily work on all LTE networks. Owners of Apple’s first LTE phone will not be able to connect to networks that Apple has not certified.
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RCR Wireless Webinar: LTE Devices, from Concept to Recycling January 17, 2013 2pm ET
Overview: The number of LTE devices is exploding rapidly, from 269 devices in January 2012 to 560 devices produced by 83 suppliers as of November 2012. Getting an LTE smartphone, tablet, or USB modem into users’ hands is no simple task, however. RCR Wireless News explores what it takes to enable a timely and coordinated LTE device launch across fragmented international requirements and a complex device ecosystem.
What You Will Learn:
– What are trends driving LTE chip set and device design
– Which considerations and trade-offs influence device launches
– What are major milestones in the LTE device test and launch process
– How subsidies and recycling influence the LTE device life cycle
Who Should Attend: Operators, service providers, device and chip vendors tasked with coordination of device launch and life cycle.