You may be aware that the iPhone 5 is compatible with 4G networking in the UK, but a lesser known fact is that Apple’s current flagship device is actually only compatible with the frequencies pumped out by EE’s LTE network.
Scraping aside the technical jargon reveals that even if when O2 and Vodafone roll out their 4G signals this month, people with an iPhone 5 can’t take advantage of the faster connectivity.
So in short, EE has the current monopoly on 4G iPhone coverage in the UK and will continue to be the only network that can support the iPhone 5’s 4G connectivity unless something changes.
This has led some insiders to claim that EE’s competitors, including Vodafone and O2, are actually stalling the launch of their 4G networks in the UK until Apple’s next-generation 4G iPhone is released. If LTE on the iPhone 5 is only available to those with an EE contract, why would rivals bother to rush their own services to market?
For the time being it looks like the only way you will see the O2 iPhone with LTE enabled is when Apple releases an updated version of its current hardware that has broader frequency compatibility.
The same goes for the Vodafone 4G iPhone, because without alterations to the components within Apple’s device, there is no way for this company to deliver superfast mobile connectivity.
It seems more likely that Apple will instead make sure that the next generation iPhone, which is expected to launch in the autumn, comes with the necessary 4G LTE capabilities to make it compatible with every UK network provider.
A 4G iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 is expected to touch down in September or October, which will coincide with the roll-out of 4G from O2 and Vodafone. EE’s coverage will obviously still support this new device, but consumers will not be stuck with just one choice of network providers.
No official information about the next-generation iPhone has been made available so far, with Apple remaining stoic about its new flagship handset. But one assumption it is safe to make is that it will be 4G ready for those who want to adopt. Apple is also believed to be working on a smaller, cheaper version of the iPhone for release in roughly the same period later in the year.
Rumoured to be names the iPhone 5S, this budget Apple release could be available in a spectrum of bright colours. Expect the iPhone 5C to also rock 4G compatibility with the O2 and Vodafone signals.
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