Also working with Broadcom on hybrid femtocell
First it was the turn of the UK’s Sunday Times, now it is the turn of the Sunday Telegraph [May 1thh 2014] to release teasing details of BT’s planned hybrid 4G network fed to them by top BT brass [execs]. GoMo News first wrote about this back in December  in an article entitled, ‘BT plotting some kind of hybrid mobile network for UK‘. As we explained, the UK Telco made the mistake of selling off its existing mobile network (Cellnet) and it eventually fell into the hands of Spain Telefonica as O2. Now the UK telecoms giant is playing to create a viable 4G network out of diverse technologies. But we reckon the iPhone 5s & 5c should work on this hybrid 4G network.
First off, BT acquired some spectrum in the UK 4G auctions @ 2.6 GHz. If we’re correct that means operating LTE in both FDD and TDD modes.
Whilst the regular iPhone 5 won’t work at such frequencies – according to Apple here the 5C model A1529 and the 5S model A support both Band 7 (FDD) and band 38 (TDD) @ 2600 MHz (2.6 GHz).
So when you are wandering around as a BT 4G cellular network handset owner you should be able to get a signal. But BT calculates that for most of the time you won’t need LTE.
That’s because it has its own network of 5.4 million Wi-Fi hotspots onto which its 4G customers could roam. What happens if neither 4G or Wi-fi is available? Well you fall back to 3G.
When 3UK rolled out its 3G network, it realised that when a 3G signal wasn’t available, customers would need something else.
So it did a deal with T-Mobile (now part of EE) to enable its customers to fall back to 2G. Likewise, BT has done a deal with EE so that when its 4G isn’t available they can fall back to 3G or even 2G.
Gavin Patterson, BT’s CEO, is quoted as saying that, “We’re combining those [technologies] all together to be able to create broadband services for customers that you can bundle with fixed so that they can access the internet when they are out and about with a very high quality service that really performs extremely well on things like video.”
The extra element in the mix is what BT might have in mind for its Home Hub offering. It seems that the company wants to add in a femtocell capability.
And there’s the rub. It doesn’t appear that there’s been much demand for a combined femtocell, router, and Wi-fi hub that works @2.6 GHz.
The Sunday Telegraph hints that BT is having to work hard with Broadcom to prevent clashes. There isn’t a big gap between Wi-fi @ 2.4 GHz and LTE @ 2.6 GHz is there?
As Chris Selley, the BT exec in charge of combining all these technologies, commented, “These are challenges but they are very deliverable and we don’t see it as anything that’s putting the programme at risk.”