The iPhone 5's LTE Will Only Work on EE, Even After Vodafone and O2 Roll Out 4G too

By Sam Gibbs on at

Apple, and every other phone manufacturer for that matter, has a bit of a mess on its hands. Because the various 4G LTE networks are using sorts of different bands all over the globe, the 4G iPhone 5 we'll get will only work on EE's 1800MHz network, and not on the likes of O2 and Vodafone, who will be hamstrung with 800MHz and 2600MHz.

The "Europe and Asia" iPhone 5 we're going to get in the UK supports the following LTE bands: 1, 3, and 5, which in frequency terms equates to 2100MHz, 1800MHz and 850MHz respectively. If you're keeping up, that only includes the 1800MHz band from EE's new network, and not the prospective 800MHz and 2600MHz the other networks are going to be able to use. You'll still be able to grab LTE if you happen to be in Germany, but if you're holidaying in any other European country you'll be fat out of 4G-luck.

There are two other iPhone 5 4G variants, one for the US GSM networks, which supports AWS and 700MHz bands, which are no good for us Britons. Then there's a CDMA-packing version, which helpfully works with 2100, 1900, 1800, 850 and 700MHz LTE bands, but wouldn't support our own 3G GSM service, so would be pretty much useless in the UK.

The end result is that if you want a 4G iPhone, you're locked into using EE's 1800MHz network, even after the auction and roll out of the other networks' 4G services. Not a great position to be in for a consumer, but I have a feeling that'll be the case for quite a few of our early 4G-capable phones here in Britain. Of course, it'll still work on pokey old 3G, just not blazing 4G, and you do want to be on the bleeding edge, right? [Apple]