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Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist?

Viv Savage (3679171) writes | about 5 months ago


Viv Savage (3679171) writes "I live in the USA 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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They exist, but double check (1)

toejam13 (958243) | about 5 months ago | (#47152973)

Most of the late model flagship phones from AT&T and T-Mobile support European bands for voice and data. Outside of Blackberries, almost none of the Verizon phones do. But you do need to do some research.

GSM (2G) in Europe traditionally operates at 900 and 1800 MHz. But there is also UMTS (3G) that traditionally operates at 2100 MHz. And LTE (4G) is being rolled out at 800, 900, 1800 and 2600 MHz. They're all mutually incompatible systems. But new phones are able to talk to all three of them. *

The catch is that some phones use different chips and/or different amplifiers under the hood for each system. And they don't always make it so that all three systems can talk using a given frequency. So a phone it might say that it can talk at 900 MHz, but that might only be for GSM and not UMTS or LTE.

The Galaxy S4 (SGH-I337 and SGH-M919) as well as the Sony Xperia Z1 (C6906, but not the C6916) are good choices for world-wide roaming on 3G and 4G. The Galaxy S3 and Sony Xperia Z will mostly be limited to 3G. Not sure about the HTC One models.

Of course, this all assumes that you want to buy a phone that she can bring back to the States when she's done. You could just buy the latest European/World model of the GS4, Z1 or the like and sell it when you're done. Most of them can roam on American 2G and 3G networks when she flies home to visit.


/ * - not unlike the late '90s where you had dual system phones that talked AMPS + DAMPS/TDMA or AMPS + CDMA.

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