Thursday, April 05, 2012

New iPad - 4G Mismatch: Wait before You Buy It

New iPad or iPad 3 or iPad 4G is launched in US and supports 4G network in US. New iPad 4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the U.S. and on Bell, Rogers, and Telus networks in Canada. [specs details]

Worldwide 2G voice services are generally offered over 900MHz & 1800 MHz by GSM operators, while CDMA operators use 800 & 1900 MHz spectrum. For 3G services (WCDMA, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSPA) GSM operators use 2100MHz, while CDMA players can offer high speed EVDO services on existing 2G spectrum. This is general standard, so global roaming is easy for GSM and CDMA operators, though GSM is widely accepted compared to CDMA. But as we see to global deployment of LTE, there is no such standardization of spectrum band like we see with GSM and CDMA. It may cause problem with global roaming of LTE with a single device.

Do not buy a new iPad 4G if you are living in India. Because in India currently no operators offers 4G services. Secondly iPad 4G supports FDD-LTE on 700 MHz and 1700/200MHz spectrum band. 

But Indian operators like Infotel, Airtel, Aircel, Tikona, Qualcomm & Augere did get spectrum on 2300MHz band and it is suitable for TD-LTE. So even after 4G launch in India, new iPad will not support 4G services in India due to spectrum mismatch. 

The Hindu says, Lack of 4G service may dull new iPad experience in India. But as I find the spec details of new iPad I find that the new iPad supports GSM/EDGE - 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz; and UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA - 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz (both Verizon and AT&T variant). Verizon model has extra CDMA EVDO Rev A support (800 and 1900MHz). 

So the new iPad if imported from US can be used with Indian 2G and 3G GSM networks. CDMA support can not be done, as Verizon puts the settings inside the device, and the new iPad does not support RUIM card and Indian CDMA operators are mostly based on RUIM cards.

So if you are living in country where 4G services are on FDD-LTE technology and offered over 700 and 1700-2100MHz spectrum, new iPad can be used to access 4G-LTE services. Though I am not sure it will happen in all cases. 

Until you have to wait when your country's 4G players push Apple to make a compatible 4G iPad. Good news is Airtel probably has pushed Apple for new iPad supported with 2300MHz TDD-LTE and expected that Airtel already got the prototype one on their hands. 
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