Apple actually tests LTE networks before giving 4G on its devices a go-ahead

By , Nov 30, 2012

When it comes to the question of an LTE network being compatible with the iPhone, Apple isn’t ready to take a carrier’s word. Although they’ve put up with clean desktops and higher-than-traditional licensing fees, wireless providers are now publicly irked that the Silicon Valley smartphone maker reportedly runs it’s own tests before iPhones can operate on a 4G network.

A Swiss carrier has told a news site that Apple will issue a software update allowing iPhones to operate on an LTE network only after testing the carrier’s live system. Recently, Swisscom announced the opening of its 4G network for customers – except for iPhone owners…

Apple “only enables 4G access after testing their device on an operator’s live network”, a Swisscom spokesperson told Telecoms.com.

The singly-out of iPhone owners by Apple runs counter to the usual way LTE 4G networks are approved. Usually, a carrier tests its network, ensuring that it is compatible with its frequencies and customers’ handsets.

Such prior-approval by Apple has sparked controversy and a few questions.

“Apple has put themselves in the driving seat; it’s really changing the game quite a lot”, Bengt Nordstrom, founder and head of industry consultancy Nordstrom, told the site.

It is unknown why Apple waits to check out a 4G network before enabling iPhones to operate on a carrier.

Also unclear is whether the company follows the same procedure with U.S. carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

Earlier today, Apple announced its iPhone is available in 47 countries with China getting the smartphone in December.

Should the iPhone be a special case, deserving individual attention when approving a 4G network?

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  • Armando

    What do the carriers care? Apple’s phone sells like no other regardless of network. A network should try to improve continually anyway. Are they upset because someone is holding them accountable to a standard that they claim to have reached?

    • http://twitter.com/Jackzzz99 Jack Wong

      It is the same thing in HK, I am not surprised, I can only say…

      Apple is really changing the game.

      “We” are really paying a lot more to our cellular phone bill.

  • http://twitter.com/worldoftipps Jan Meier

    So, i am from Switzerland and the most carriers have LTE now, but ive got a question: What Software update will it be? A new carrier bundle or a full system update ? thanks

    • SimonReidy

      Likely just a carrier update. When I first activated my iPhone 5 on LTE in Australia, the first thing it did was apply a small carrier update, then the 3G icon in the status bar instantly changed to LTE.

      • http://twitter.com/worldoftipps Jan Meier

        Thanks :)

  • http://twitter.com/FrancDellaPorta Francesco DellaPorta

    Agree! Swisscom or orher carriers shall first do ther job and then claim to have reached 4G LTE standard. I believe the time of 80/20 readiness is over. Apple taught the telecom world that customers expect at least 99/1 approach. So dear carriers first get your network ready for iPhone at almost 100% readiness, and only then enjoy the fantastic revenue stream of its worldwide penetration.

  • burlow

    how is it bad that apple checks first before selling it’s “4G” phone on a network? If a 4G network isn’t up to speed in real-world tests, no 4G iPhone for the network. Pretty simple.