Friday, September 21, 2012

LTE and the Unlocked iPhone 5

So heres the deal, theres a new iPhone out there and its got the new blazing LTE. If you're planning to get one buying from countries which have unlocked options (Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong) doesnt necessarily merit that you'll get LTE compatibility wherever you go.

In the iPhone 5 website, theres a little asterisk there. Pretty sneaky if you ask me, that they have created 2 different models probably using 2 different LTE chips.

GSM model A1428*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 4 and 17) 
GSM model A1429*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5)
- From:

So what does this mean? If you're planning to get an unlocked unit from other country, LTE speeds might not be compatible with yours. From Wikpedia, theres a working list of LTE bands per country.

With me residing in the Philippines it seems that the LTE band in the Philippines is LTE Band 1 and 3 (GSM model A1429). But what if im travelling outside? US or Canada perhaps? I think what better way to explain this by plotting it into a spreadsheet.

So, how do you look at the graph? Normally, you would be sourcing your phone from somehere its factory unlocked. Either Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada (or US once they make it available in the Apple Store) So, look for the country where your unlocked iPhone will be originating. Most likely that the iPhone that will be sold there will be using that LTE band (duh). After, look for the country you will be using your phone. For me, I will be looking at the Philippines.

From here, it seems like the Philippines is using LTE band 1 and 3 (A1429) and the countries which will most likely sell an unlocked A1429 would be: Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia.

If you would notice, if I buy myself an A1429.. LTE features might not work when I fly to either Canada or the US. Sad.

Anyway, as a disclaimer, this spreadsheet was compiled September 2012 and may not reflect the changes once new carriers roll out new LTE infrastructure in the future.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Comparing Prepaid Data Plans from Globe, Smart and Sun

Recently I have been thinking about those minor differences when it comes to subscribing to a data plan here in the country. So far we're fortunate that we have lots of options but apparently, it takes some discerning as to what to subscribe to given the situation.

I have been in several instances wherein, I was at the beach with friends for 3 days. I would be getting a better deal if I subscribed into an unlimited data for 3 days rather than 1 day and resubscribe every time. Thinking about my consumption, since I didnt bring my laptop then (hey, it was Boracay!) the only thing I do with my iPhone was to check my mail and check in to 4square. Maybe an MB based subscription might be better.

On a recent trip, I was on the road going to the beach (again) but this time I have with me my laptop with the intention of squeezing in some work during the long travel time. I opted to subscribe for a 1 day unlimited since I knew for a fact that I would't be working on the way back.

So upon rummaging through the websites of our favorite telcos, I sorted the mobile dataplan for each. One is for MB based (currently sorted by the allocated MB) you may also cross reference it for the cost/MB ratio if you're getting a good deal.

Another, comparing the unlimited data plans. I sorted them according to the number of days you would be needing to be online. Again I also provided a column for cost/day ratio which you could try to pick if its just right for you.

Take note that these plans are for PREPAID sims only. I also did not include the hourly plan of Sun which doesnt really coincide with the MB chart.