New Qualcomm LTE Chip Aims to End iPhone Band Fragmentation

Qualcomm today introduced the RF360 Front End Solution, a system-level solution comprising a family of chips designed to address cellular radio band fragmentation with a single, global 4G LTE design for mobile devices.


With over 40 cellular radio bands worldwide, smartphone manufacturers like Apple need to release a handful of cellular models according to carrier’s specifications. With the iPhone 5 Apple managed to release a handset compatible with LTE networks, but the LTE radio fragmentation pushed the company to release two separate GSM models (A1428 and A1429) and a CMDA (A1429) model.

The A1428 model is the Canadian and US AT&T network GSM iPhone, and includes broad support for UMTS/HSPA+DC-HSDPA (frequencies 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (frequencies 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), and LTE bands 4 and 17.

The A1429 model covers one CDMA and one GSM model, with the latter designed to support LTE in Asia. This GSM iPhone will also work on LTE in Australia, Germany, and the UK on bands 1, 3, and 5.

The CDMA version of model A1429 is used on Sprint’s and Verizon’s LTE networks in the US, as well as with the KDDI network in Japan on bands 1, 3, 5, 13, and 25. The CDMA iPhone 5 is also compatible with GSM networks, but it will not support LTE on GSM networks in the US.

“By combining the new RF front end chipsets with Qualcomm Snapdragon all-in-one mobile processors and Gobi™ LTE modems, Qualcomm Technologies can supply OEMs with a comprehensive, optimized, system-level LTE solution that is truly global,” the Qualcomm press release informs (via 9to5Mac).

Qualcomm’s new answer, the RF360 Front End Solution, is a family of chips designed to address the LTE band fragmentation, allowing manufacturers to build handsets supporting all cellular models (LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA, and GSM/EDGE).

Alongside reduced energy consumption, the solution also reduces design complexity and development costs, with the first smartphones sporting the RF360 Solution expected to hit the market in the second half of this year.