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iPhone 12 5G – New phone might not be ‘Hi, speed’ for everyone

Apple is all set to hold its iPhone 12 launch event on October 13. But the “hi, speed” theme of the event might not apply to everyone, if recent reports are to be believed.

It’s widely held that the “hi, speed” phrase that accompanied the iPhone 12 event invites is a reference to the new smartphone line’s 5G capabilities, which would be a first use of the technology by Apple. The next generation mobile network opens up the potential for extremely fast mobile network speeds.

However, a new report suggests that not every territory will see the full benefit of 5G power in the iPhone 12. Established UK newspaper The Telegraph (paywall) reports that the iPhone 12‌ won’t support the 700MHz band, which is set to be key to 5G adoption in countries like the UK.

5G is in a somewhat fractured state ahead of the launch of the iPhone 12, despite the fact that there have been 5G-capable Android phones around for some 18 months now. This would seem to be reflected in separate reports that the iPhone 12 will support both sub-6GHz 5G and mmWave 5G in the US – the latter being the truly ‘high speed’ portion of the spectrum – but only sub-6GHz 5G in other countries.

Now this latest report casts doubt on the iPhone 12’s support for lower, more accessible frequencies that have been designated for 5G by certain networks. In countries such as the UK, the 700MHz band will prove particularly useful in the early days of 5G thanks to its ability to travel much further distances and penetrate buildings. This is something that those higher frequencies more commonly associated with 5G struggle with, which is why 5G as a whole requires so many small booster antennas to be dotted around our streets.

“If it doesn’t support 700MHz then you end up with coverage problems,” Matthew Howett, principal analyst at Assembly, told The Telegraph. “The spectrum bands that the iPhone works on are crucially important”.

We won’t have too long to find out if these reports are on the money. But if these so-called ‘telecoms industry insiders’ are correct, then the iPhone 12 won’t be so “hi, speed” for everyone.