4G LTE implementation is expensive: Will the iPhone 5 have it?

verizon-4g-lte-expensive

From a cost-to-build perspective, the HTC ThunderBolt may be the most expensive phone on the market thanks to its pricey 4G LTE chipset, reports IHS. The cost of the 4G amplifiers, power management, chipsets, etc come out to $39.75, boosting the total cost of the ThunderBolt to $262–a new record.

While we can understand why HTC might bear the bill to have the first 4G LTE handset, we must note that it didn’t come without a price hike for consumers. The ThunderBolt costs $249 with a two-year contract, about $50 higher than smartphones a year ago, meaning consumers are paying for the price of 4G before a single 4G data bill comes in the mail.

With that said, will Apple take a hit and implement 4G in its upcoming iPhone 5? The price of the Verizon iPhone 4 is $171.35, meaning that if Apple chooses to add a similar chipset to the ThunderBolt, it could drive up the cost of the phone to $211.10, and that’s assuming the Cuppertino manufacturer hasn’t made any other expensive design or functionality decisions.

“It remains to be seen whether the next Apple iPhone set for introduction in September will support 4G LTE,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for IHS. “However, if it does, two things are clear. First, the iPhone’s minuscule printed circuit board (PCB) will have to grow in size in order to support the first-generation LTE baseband processor as well as all the supporting chipset. Second, the next iPhone’s BOM value certainly will increase substantially compared to the iPhone 4 if LTE is implemented in the same manner as in the HTC ThunderBolt.”

So far, Apple has not publicly stated it is pursuing 4G LTE connectivity for its next iPhone. In fact, it has done the opposite. In April, COO Peter Oppenheimer told investors that Apple isn’t ready to jump on board with LTE: “The first generation of LTE chipsets forced a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make,” he said.

Stepping back a bit, by the time Apple announces the iPhone 5, there will be four LTE phones on Verizon Wireless, which is currently the only wireless carrier in the United States with its LTE network launched and running. The Samsung Droid Charge, Motorola Droid Bionic, HTC ThunderBolt, and LG Revolution represent some strong Android competition to Apple, but all have been somewhat criticized for the tradeoffs they’ve made to incorporate 4G LTE so early, with problems like a lack of dual-core processors, short battery life, crazy glitches, and dropped calls. On top of that, AT&T’s 4G LTE network won’t be operational until later this year, at the earliest.

While there are new all-in-one chips coming to the market that could give Apple the ability to have 4G, GSM, and CDMA connectivity in one phone, the cost may be too high. Apple waited a year on 3G. Who’s to say it won’t wait a year on 4G? The question is, can it afford to wait anymore without ceding critical ground to Android? We’re not so sure.

Product Review

Garmin’s 4G LTE VivoActive 3 keeps you safe when you’re out on the trails

Garmin takes its already great VivoActive 3 Music fitness smartwatch and adds a 4G LTE connection, courtesy of Verizon. The watch now has streaming music, independent GPS, and best of all, SMS support and various safety features. We’ve…
Mobile

AT&T deliberately misleads everyone with 5GE

As excitement about 5G networks continues to build, AT&T jumps the gun with a ridiculous and deliberate attempt to deceive the public with 5G Evolution – a speed bump that’s based on improvements to 4G tech.
Mobile

Benchmark results show Snapdragon 855 destroys previous-generation chip

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.
Mobile

Save the date: The Samsung Galaxy S10's reveal is set for February

Not long now; with 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Mobile

The Mi Mix 3 is coming to the U.K. on January 16 for a bargain price

Xiaomi announced the Mi Mix 3, a smartphone with a massive screen, a cool slide-up camera module, up to 10GB of RAM, and in the future, a 5G connection. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Mobile

Everything we know about the Nokia 6.2, which might arrive in January

The Nokia 6.1 was our favorite budget phone of 2018, so we were always going to get excited when details of a successor came to light. However, the Nokia 6.2 will exceed those expectations if leaks are true.
Mobile

The Samsung Galaxy M series will be the first with an Infinity-V display

Samsung announced a range of displays at the Samsung Developer Conference and now we have an idea of when to expect the first with an Infinity-V display. The Samsung Galaxy M10, M20, and M30 are being teased by Samsung India.
Mobile

HMD Global shows us how a slice of Android Pie is baked up

Waiting for Android updates can be a real chore -- but it's nothing compared to the work manufacturers have to do. HMD Global has released an infographic showing how Android updates like Android Pie are cooked.
Mobile

Google Fi is getting support for the next-gen messaging standard, RCS Chat

Google has been pushing the development of the RCS Chat standard, and now it's finally bringing that new standard to its own carrier -- Google Fi. With Chat, customers will get features like read receipts, better group messaging, and more.
Mobile

OnePlus 7 to use latest body design to get rid of the notch, leak suggests

The OnePlus 6T may still be new, but we're already looking ahead to the upcoming OnePlus 7. It will use the Snapdragon 855, and may have a new slider body design. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 7.
Mobile

Samsung's advanced folding phone needed 'total reconfiguration' to make it real

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

The Sony Xperia XZ4 shines in case renders from accessory maker Olixar

Sony may have released the Xperia XZ3 in the past few months, but already it's preparing to release a follow-up, the Xperia XZ4. We're learning plenty about the phone now some details have started to leak out, and it's getting exciting.
Mobile

Benchmark scores surface for Google's midrange Pixel 3 XL Lite

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.
Mobile

The LG G8 ThinQ may arrive at MWC 2019 with an on-screen speaker

LG is expected to release a successor to the LG G7 ThinQ, possibly called the LG G8 ThinQ, this year and rumors about it are already spreading. Here's everything we know about it so far.