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Apple details LTE plans for iPhone 5: true global reach requires multiple models

Brad Molen
09.12.12
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So the rumors are true, and the iPhone 5 is indeed offering LTE for regions around the globe. This is no small feat, given the plethora of frequencies used by various carriers worldwide. Apple's taken to its official website to discuss in detail its plans for making such a task possible. The new device will come in two different models and three total SKUs (excluding color): the A1428 (GSM model) will facilitate LTE for the US (AT&T) and Canada (Rogers, Bell and Telus) on the 700MHz and AWS bands; the CDMA version of the A1429 covers the US (Verizon, Sprint) and Japan (KDDI) using Bands 1, 3, 5, 13 and 25; and the GSM version of the A1429 spans Europe (Germany, UK) and Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Australia) using bands 1, 3 and 5.

This certainly prompts a few thoughts. First, if you purchase an A1429 unlocked, you won't be able to use it on AT&T's LTE network or that of any Canadian carriers. You'll still be able to take advantage of the global HSPA+ capability, but its lack of LTE on the Western Hemisphere is important to note. It gives us pause to wonder if we'll see both the A1428 and A1429 sold as unlocked models in North America in case you'd like to have either option. Additionally, it'll be interesting to see what Verizon and Sprint do with the CDMA models -- namely, will these devices allow for global LTE roaming? And will they be unlocked for traveling abroad? We'll get you set up with answers as we hear them, but it may be an influencer on exactly which iPhone 5 option you choose.

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