updated 11:10 am EST, Mon December 3, 2007
Qualcomm 700MHz 3G
In an aggressive step, Qualcomm on Monday announced the RTR6570, the first new cellular chipset designed with upcoming 700MHz wireless networks in mind. The transceiver explicitly supports the longer ranges and higher speeds made possible through the new frequency, even if they use competing standards: a device using the chipset could connect both to a CDMA network (such as Sprint or Verizon) as well as an HSPA or UMTS (AT&T and potentially T-Mobile) networks adapted to the newly opened airwaves.
Importantly, the 6570 also supports virtually all other major data frequencies in North America and abroad, according to Qualcomm. On HSPA and UMTS, it supports 850MHz, 2,100MHz, and the upcoming 1,700MHz band for T-Mobile USA's upcoming service. It also provides EVDO data on CDMA networks on the 1,900MHz spectrum, the electronics maker says. The new technology will sample by mid-2008 and will allow for phones produced in late 2008 or early 2009 to use the 700MHz space themselves.
The introduction should prove instrumental to companies bidding in the upcoming FCC auction to split up and take control of the 700MHz spectrum, particularly Google. The latter will bid in the auction but will require devices that support the frequency to use any eventual service run or licensed by Google should it win. Google itself is reportedly testing Android phones adapted to 700MHz on an experimental network on its Mountain View campus.
Cross-network support also indicates potential expansion for the iPhone and other portable devices that still depend on conventional phone frequencies for Internet access, as the feature would allow owners of devices even on competing networks to connect to a 700MHz network either for roaming or a separate service.