China Mobile might be able to help convince Apple to put Band 41 support in the new iPhone, according to BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk.
The move would be a boost to Sprint, whose massive holdings in the 2.5 GHz Band didn’t factor into the LTE support in the current iPhone models. Sprint took possession of that swath of spectrum after last year acquiring Clearwire. It has since been combining its existing 1.9 GHz LTE deployment with refarmed 800 MHz Nextel spectrum and the 2.5 GHz and calling the tri-band offering Sprint Spark. Spark is now available in 24 cities including Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. But that progress might not be enough.
“Apple might need extra convincing since it will take Sprint another 6 months to deliver the 100 million POPs of this high speed network,” Piecyk wrote.
Sprint is the only U.S. carrier currently deploying TD-LTE but China Mobile is also using the technology for its LTE network.
Last year, Apple and China Mobile announced a long-awaited deal to officially bring the iPhone to the carrier’s more than 700 million subscribers.
Apple will reportedly hold an iPhone event on Sept. 9. Should the company stick to the same schedule it’s used in the past, the new iPhone (or iPhones) will be released Sept. 19.