Apple screens network operators for LTE performance prior to launch

Daniel Bader

November 30, 2012 9:53 am


According to a representative at a Swiss carrier, Swisscom, Apple has a series of LTE tests it must perform on a given network to ensure that its iPhone 5 runs properly. If the phone does not run up to the company’s standards, it will not be allowed to gain access to the LTE baseband on the phone.

Usually it is the carriers testing the phones themselves to ensure optimal performance, but the Swisscom representative, according to a Telecoms.com investigation said, “Apple only enables 4G access after testing their device on an operator’s live network.” This allows Apple to dictate exactly what its phones can do on the network, and puts the manufacturer, not the carrier, in the driver’s seat.

While Apple is in a unique position to do this, since it creates one phone per year and markets it across the world to hundreds of carriers, it speaks to the amount of behind-the-scenes influence that the company has. Apple largely controls the type of marketing a carrier can do, and limits the way that the iPhone can be cross-promoted with other products. In other words, Apple tries to tweak its phone to ensure the best performance on each carrier, but also ensures optimal placement within carriers’ retail stores and on websites.

This particular scenario speaks to the phone’s performance on the networks that we’ve tested, too. The iPhone 5 is often able to outperform many Android devices on the same LTE network, and Apple can push out OTA updates to ensure optimal network speed and carrier utilization.

Source: Telecoms.com

  • Crunk

    I don’t blame them, after the way Australia put the screws to them.

  • Porilaisten

    Further proof that Apple is the GESTAPO.

    • tech

      It has always been one. But this speed thing is true, sadly. Android phone makers need to figure way out to compete with this without volition any patents.

  • Uncle Bobby B

    It’s really cool how the iphone 5 is really different then the 4s, a great improvement. It’s a phone I’ve no doubt considered buying. Then I found out that the N4 cost 359, and I said “I’ll pass” Too bad N4 doesn’t have “true LTE speeds though :(, but the cost justifies that and so much more…

    • deltatux

      Nexus 4 does have “true LTE speeds” in Canada at least. I’m seeing people getting 51 mbps download speeds in Toronto with their Nexus 4 running on their respective LTE networks.

    • Brian

      Nexus 4 has LTE for Canadians only. You just have to have a Micro SIM card with LTE, and go through a few simple steps on the Nexus 4 to enable LTE.

  • Brandin

    Is that why MTS in Manitoba doesn’t advertise the iPhone 5 as an LTE phone?

    • EvanKr

      MTS says that their LTE network is still in its “testing stage”, and assuming that means that it isn’t quite ready for prime time, Apple didn’t want their phone running on it.

  • MovieMan87

    Both Sasktel and MTS are like this, There Iphone 5’s will not be LTE until apple aproves it and sends out and update

  • ace

    If they were able to ‘uniquely’ test the iphone 5 on all carriers around the world… then why didnt they ‘find’ all the ‘problems’ with the phone in the first place prior to launch? Or did they put their ego before customer experience?

    • ace

      looks like the tested everything BUT mapppppppssssssss LOL

  • Alex

    How is the battery life of Nexus 4 on LTE? LOL

  • Zack

    MTS needs to get it in gear and get LTE on the iphones.

    Ridiculous they peddle the POS Sony Xperia Ion on LTE, but not on a new iphone.

  • JV

    Nexus 4 can be an LTE phone in CANADA if you want it to be. Its pretty simple to do, and doesn’t cost you anything extra. Looks like an easy choice to me. lol

    • Brad F(anboy)

      “Its pretty simple to do”

      Most people barely know how to check their voicemail. Unless enabling a hidden network option and radio is easier than that most people won’t be doing it any time soon.

  • Stuntman

    “This particular scenario speaks to the phone’s performance on the networks that we’ve tested, too. The iPhone 5 is often able to outperform many Android devices on the same LTE network, and Apple can push out OTA updates to ensure optimal network speed and carrier utilization.”

    This is interesting. I was speaking to a friend and he claims that his LTE performance degraded once the iPhone 5 was released. He suspected that the networks were purposely throttling non-iPhones in order to ensure that the iPhone 5 outperforms other LTE phones.

    • 45

      or what’s more likely is that the network got way busier due to the most popular phone being released onto it.

  • cheenachatze

    Gotta give it to Apple for the level of support they give their products. Everyone else is at the mercy of their cell providers.