Apple today unveiled the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max; those who plan to buy one of them in the United States or Canada should pay attention to the fact that the device sold in these regions is not compatible with the 4G band 28, which corresponds to the 700 MHz band adopted by Brazilian operators. In turn, no Apple Watch Series 5 variant will support this frequency.
The A2111 (iPhone 11), A2160 (iPhone 11 Pro) and A2161 (iPhone 11 Pro Max) models will be sold in the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. They will work with 4G in Brazil, but only in bands 1 (2,100 MHz), 3 (1,800 MHz), 5 (850 MHz) and 7 (2,600 MHz), in addition to 3G and 2G technologies. The same happens with the models A2223 (iPhone 11), A2217 (iPhone 11 Pro) and A2220 (iPhone 11 Pro Max), which will be sold in China and Hong Kong.
To have access to all frequencies, you will need to purchase the A2221 (iPhone 11), A2215 (iPhone 11 Pro) or A2218 (iPhone 11 Pro Max) models, which use the European standard and are compatible with band 28. That impediment also happened when Apple launched the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR last year.
In major cities, operators Claro, TIM and Vivo act both with 700 MHz and other frequencies. This means that the American iPhone will continue to work with the Brazilian 4G, but it will not necessarily have the same signal quality as other smartphones.
Who uses Oi you don’t have to worry about that: the operator did not acquire a license to use this frequency when there was the Anatel auction. The 700 MHz leftovers are expected to appear in the 5G auction that will take place next year, and Claro, TIM and Vivo will not be able to finish the spectrum.
US Apple Watch works with 4G in Brazil
A big surprise of the new Apple Watch Series 5 is that the US model contains the frequencies used in the Brazilian 4G. Both the American and European models operate in the bands 1 (2,100 MHz), 3 (1,800 MHz), 5 (850 MHz) and 7 (2,600 MHz).
No Apple Watch Series 5 variant supports the 700 MHz frequency the Brazilian standard (band 28). In the case of 3G technology, both models work with 850 MHz and 2,100 MHz, which are the bands used in Brazil.
Why the 700 MHz frequency is important
One of the biggest advantages of the 700 MHz band is the roof. Low frequencies have higher signal penetration, unlike the more traditional frequencies, such as 1,800 MHz and 2,600 MHz. Therefore, operators need fewer antennas to cover more areas. The signal penetration of 700 MHz is even greater than that of 2G and 3G networks and also favors indoor coverage.
Because of the better coverage, inland cities and roads are more likely to have 4G at 700 MHz and have no signal at other frequencies. Those who travel in these places are the most affected by the absence of band 28 on the new iPhone.
In the near future, it is very likely that 4G 700 MHz will be present wherever there is cellular coverage. But it is important to note that this type of implementation does not mean that the other frequencies will be turned off: they continue to be very important because they have a greater capacity for simultaneous users, which is useful in busy areas such as shopping malls, airports and other areas with greater traffic of people.
In these areas, operators make the carrier aggregation (also called 4G + or 4.5G), which combines the 4G signal from different bands to deliver higher speeds. For this reason, it is very unlikely that the other frequencies will be turned off in the future.
According to the entity Perfect TV, responsible for the migration process from analog to digital TV, the 700 MHz band has already been released in 3,396 municipalities in July 2019. However, this does not mean that all cities already use 4G on this frequency.