According to a recent FCC filing, Qualcomm is hard at work on a new radio chipset that would support seven spectrum bands, including three below 1GHz. The introduction of this chipset could offer an effective solution to LTE spectrum fragmentation, which is a thorn in the side of manufacturers looking to cleanly execute broad product releases.

LTE fragmentation has also stirred debate among carriers, though. Smaller carriers operate within the Lower A block of the 700MHz band, in Band Class 12 while larger carriers like AT&T operate on the Lower B and C blocks in Band Class 17. For this reason, smaller carriers are urging the FCC to mandate interoperability. AT&T rebuts that mandating such interoperability would invoke harmful interference from Channel 51 broadcast transmissions, which is why it created Class 17 to begin with.

Qualcomm is looking to ease these woes by introducing a new chipset that would support three sub-1GHz bands, three higher bands, and one "very high band (such as 2.5GHz)."

In the filing, Qualcomm indicates that it has accelerated development of the chip, lovingly named WTR1605L. Qualcomm has timed the transition to this chip to match with its transition to 28 nanometer chips, and – despite supply constraints – expects that the first of these chips will begin shipping to manufacturers this July, with the first devices based on the chip to be in stores by the end of 2012.


Additionally, Qualcomm indicated in the filing that it will provide Lower A Block licensees that OEMs will be provided appropriate software for integration and testing to support LTE roaming on Bands 13, 17, and 25 (which is Sprint's PCS G Block).

The chip maker also tried to impress upon the FCC that it would be "inappropriate" to mandate the use of 28nm chips, as the transition to them (and the WTR1605L) is in its infancy. Further, it urges that the FCC should not mandate a Band 12/17 combination, as it is just one option for carriers "to meet their customer's interoperability needs, both within the 700MHz band and between any of the long list of other 4G bands."

A manufacturer move to this band-bundling chip could mean not only an end to band fragmentation, but a manufacturing cycle that doesn't require the integration of several radio chipsets. Those interested can find the complete FCC filing at the source link below.

Source: FCC Filing Via Fierce Wireless

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://www.mobiletechview.com J_Dav1

    Then when the carriers go all LTE it wont matter which carrier the phone comes out on you can port it to another.

  • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

    It would just be easier to have LTE all on one band, on every network. Never gonna happen, but I can dream.

  • John O’Connor

    Thank you Qualcomm.. It appears someone over there is still listening to my rants.

  • Michael Forte

    Hmm...wonder if there's any chance that this chip will be in the next Nexus device(s)? That way they could be used on any carrier, and you wouldn't have to worry about whether or not your carrier was getting another Nexus (mainly speaking about Verizon here.)

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/7GU4N7CVDBJXMZOBFO3DMIQZH4 J

      Yeah, it''d be great if they could lock in on the most used frequencies in the US so we could use the device on any network, dependent on who had the best deal &  coverage in our area...  Or get a "Pay as you use" account with a couple & just let it lock in on the best signal regardless if its AT&T or Verizon or ...

      Might not work too well with phones, at least until they switch to data only plans, but would be awesome to have in tablets & maybe even an Android equivalent to an iPod Touch...  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1076597803 Ken Chiu

    i think the question we should ask is: why must US carriers differentiate themselves from the rest of the world by using different bands?