While most are expecting Apple to include the rumored LTE connectivity in the upcoming next-gen iPhone, we get word from Korea Times today that Korean carriers SK Telecom and KT have revealed they are currently in talks with Apple to carry a new iPhone on their LTE networks:
SK Telecom and KT are in talks to offer long-term evolution (LTE) connectivity on Apple’s next handset, tentatively named the iPhone 5, officials from the companies said Wednesday…The two local telecom companies are authorized Korean partners to sell the American firm’s i-branded devices here. The smallest carrier LG Uplus is unable to sell Apple’s products as it doesn’t own a suitable frequency.
According to an official at KT, which is home to roughly 1.4 million users compared to SK Telecom’s 4 million LTE subscribers, the carrier is in talks “with Apple to persuade the latter to support KT’s 1.8-gigahertz frequency in Korea for the upcoming iPhone.” Although it’s unclear exactly what type of negotiations might be taking place, we know the current third-gen LTE iPad supports only AT&T, Verizon, and a few Canadian carriers on 700 MHz and 2100 MHz frequency bands. If the talks are indeed to discuss launching an LTE iPhone with support for the 800 MHz and 1800 MHz bands, it’s importnat to note that many other markets also operate over those bands including Australia and parts of Europe.