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Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist? 259

Posted by timothy
from the multi-sim-multi-carrier dept.
First time accepted submitter Viv Savage (3679171) writes "I live in the U.S. but my daughter will be attending college overseas next year (Scotland specifically). I need to purchase a new phone for her and I'm curious what the Slashdot community would recommend. I understand that a GSM world phone supporting 850/900/1800/1900 MHz frequencies would give her the best voice support. There doesn't appear to be a solution for getting high-speed data (i.e., 4G) here and abroad with one phone. Have any worldly Slashdotters figured this out?"
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Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist?

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  • Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by xorsyst (1279232) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @11:35AM (#47156643) Journal

    What do you need 4G for, anyway? H+ Is pretty fast, and the university will have wifi everywhere I should think. A Galaxy S2 will be perfectly adequate.

  • Yes (Score:5, Informative)

    by mFriedy (1363405) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @11:39AM (#47156717)

    Yes, most new smartphones have this capability. Take the iPhone 5S for example. (https://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/)

    These are the supported LTE bands:
    1 (2100 MHz), 2 (1900 MHz), 3 (1800 MHz), 4 (AWS), 5 (850 MHz), 8 (900 MHz),13 (700c MHz), 17 (700b MHz), 19 (800 MHz), 20 (800 DD),25 (1900 MHz)

    700/AWS are the main 4G bands in the American ITU region
    800/1800MHz are the main deployed bands in Europe/African ITU region
    1800/2100MHz are the main deployed bands in the Asian/Pacific ITU region (note that APT 700MHz is different to the USA's mongrel of a 700MHz band)

    Other bands (e.g. 900MHz) are only used very rarely (in this case one operator in Sweden and one in Czech Republic) but also are supported.

    Your daughter's main problem will be:
    a) whether her UK network has deployed 4G where she is (though in the middle of Edinburgh or Glasgow she should be fine). You will find that due to better 3G networks, Europe is lagging behind the US in 4G coverage.
    b) the lack of 4G international roaming (not many operators let you roam onto 4G networks)
    c) the cost of 4G international roaming (if allowed) would be prohibitive

  • Re:Scotland? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @11:51AM (#47156891)

    The fine summary.

  • Re:SIM card (Score:5, Informative)

    by clonehappy (655530) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @12:15PM (#47157251)

    Get an unlocked phone with a removable SIM card (which excludes anything Verizon sells)

    Stop repeating lies. Every modern Verizon phone sold in the last 3 years has a removable SIM card. The last 5 Verizon phones I've owned (iPhone 5S, LG G2, HTC Rezound, RAZR HD, Galaxy S3) were sold SIM unlocked with GSM/HSPA world capabilities. Most even work on AT&T/T-Mobile here in the USA as well. Just because Verizon *used* to sell crippled CDMA-only hardware doesn't mean that's been the case in recent history. The Verizon devices are actually the best ones to get nowadays, as they are the only carrier selling factory unlocked phones and are compatible with Verizon AND every other GSM provider in the world.

  • Scottish Advice (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @02:01PM (#47158489)

    Quick answers to your questions and points of consideration:

    1.) Apple iPhones meet your criteria.
    2.) Scotland has shit for phone infrastructure compared to the US; she'll get 3G except for downtown Edinburgh and Downtown Glasgow--at which point she'll get 4G if she's on a 4G plan.
    3.) Phone plans are cheaper here, and you get a variety: Vodephone has the best coverage, 3 has the best coverage considering price point. I would suspect you may not care about the latter though. Americans who send their kids to Scotland are often 'not poor'. Hope they enjoy their time at St Andrews.

  • Re:Nexus 4? (Score:4, Informative)

    by afidel (530433) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @03:32PM (#47159365)

    The only significant difference between LTE and LTE-Advanced is bandwidth, all the layer 2-7 pieces are essentially the same. Perhaps some day there will be an LTE-Advanced network that actually takes advantage of the proposed microcell technology to enable actual use of that higher bandwidth, but due to cost concerns I'm not holding my breath. In other words even an LTE-Advanced based network probably won't meet the stated goals of ITU-T for 4G so back in the real world we have more advanced networks that actually advance the state of the art and make real changes to the ways the network is used (ie voice can now traverse the same carrier as data) but without any meaningful label if you follow the strict ITU-T 4G definition.

  • Re: Nexus 4? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tor (2685) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:02PM (#47159703) Homepage

    The Sony Xperia Z2, model D6503, should support all 4G bands used in North American and Europe - and is IP58 certified (waterproof to 1m depth for 1 hour).

    I got it - works great!

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