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Wider frequency support opens the door to more devices and carrier partnerships

AT&T announced today on its public policy blog that it will commit to lower 700MHz LTE interoperability going forward, opening the door for more devices and small carrier partners in the future. This "lower" area of the 700MHz spectrum, also referred to as Band 12, was previously unsupported by AT&T because of interference concerns with the upper portion of 700MHz, or Band 17, that it supported.

With its move towards supporting Band 12, it will now be able to offer service to a wider range of devices across a larger chunk of spectrum — Band 17 is simply a subset of Band 12 — without any side effects. AT&T says that it is actively working with OEMs to have future devices it sells support Band 12 rather than 17, and at the same time will roll out upgrades to its towers to support Band 12-capable devices it does not sell itself.

Source: AT&T; Via: PhoneScoop


Reader comments

AT&T will commit to 700MHz LTE network interoperability going forward


You need to do an article about all of these LTE bands. I think sprint has 3 bands as well. What devices will best support all the bands of each carrier. Will every Sprint LTE phone support all the bands and will every ATT phone support band 12? What issues could arise if your phone doesn't support all bands. Let's go AC, give us the deal.

The issues are two fold: first, the landscape of what frequencies every carrier operates on is changing constantly, and is even different depending on what market you're talking about. Second, it would be next to impossible to get a definitive list of which phones would technically operate on each carrier — not to mention whether or not they'd actually operate in the end. There are so many tiny intricacies to this.

We're thinking about how we'd be able to tackle this that wouldn't end up being a disservice to people in the end because it couldn't ever be 100% accurate a day after it was published.

I would say skip the phones, that can be found on the specs pages on the phones themselves. A spectrum primer on what means what, who has what, and how it can effect you

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I agree with this. Like, a lower frequency like 700 means a shorter distance but better penetration through solid objects?

+1. I dont mind going to the phone spec page to see what LTE bands it operates on. But I would like to know the affects from having a phone that operates on only 1 band that the carrier offers or something along those lines.

my thoughts exactly.

That and maybe the sharing agreements between the major guys and the prepaid guys. All of a sudden this is turning into a Talk Mobile week.

AT&T isn't being magnanimous here, they are running scared of the FCC.

All the small players that bought spectrum in the 700Mhz block are more than a little cranked that AT&T and Verizon are demanding devices that can't handle the bands that the small players fought, trying to starve them of first-run handsets.

You can read about it here, and also see a pretty good discussion of the 700MHZ band issues in general.

So what. The government is strong arming them to maybe make bad business decisions, spend money that they don't need or want to spend, and in effect to force them to potentially raise rates or maintain higher rates than necessary.

Thanks for the help FCC, we appreciate your constant meddling. The "small" carriers, apparently Comcast is small now... speculated when they bought the bandwidth that they would be able to get good contracts with the big guys and cash in on their investments. However ATT and Verizon are refusing to play with them. They they had to lobby the government (with well placed donations no doubt) to force the 2 of them to do business with people they didn't want to do business with.

Another shining day in the wonderful world of Democracy. I'm going to go buy a bunch of delivery trucks and then see if I can get the government to force UPS and Fedex to do business with me.

if it isn't already, I doubt it will be. I have the same issues with the spectrum that Sprint just picked up. I hope the Note 3 runs them all...

I hope some current devices get a firmware update and enable possible future better roaming over LTE. Yet, based on cost per MB I rather keep roaming on 3G and have a smaller pipe for data and minimize use.

I would like to know why I'm on Boost mobile and bought a HTC one so which supports 4 g- LTE and was very Happy with my speeds until about 3 weeks ago and one day no more 4 g and when I called boost service they told me there is no coverage fo r that in my area! Thats funny I've had it for 3 mos.?????

Driverman269htcPosted via Android Central App

Does this mean that AT&T will share its LTE on this band with a company like T-Mobile?

Also of note is that the supposed new nexus phone does not operate on band 12, but it does support band 17.

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Looks to me like at&t is getting ready to rent T-Mobile towers &have a roaming agreement. T-Mobile data backhaul always has good speed so I'd really see at&t getting ready to share towers for roaming or renting... If spring buys T-Mobile they won't need at&t for anything but roaming IMO.

Is this 700 MHz band 12 same as Verizon's 700 MHz band? I forgot which band # verizon has.