iPhone 5S with LTE-Advanced capability, SK Telecom negotiates with Apple to bring handset to South Korea

By Randell Suba , Jul 02, 2013 07:56 AM EDT

While iPhone fanatics are still reacting about the hideous colors of the alleged more affordable version of the device, something nice is brewing in South Korea. Apple is said to be in negotiations with SK Telecom to bring an iPhone LTE-Advanced to the country.

LTE-Advanced is the next-generation network the paves the way for high-speed data connections. LTE-Advanced will mean twice the download speeds when compared to existing long term evolution networks today.

According to a report on Korea Times, there is a good possibility that it the iPhone 5S will have LTE-A capability using the technologies of Qualcomm.

An iPhone with LTE-Advanced capabilities will make it possible to have download speeds of as fast as 150 Mbps. Faster connections are possible because downloads are done via multiple channels simultaneously.

The news about the Apple and SK Telecom negotiation surfaces, a week after Samsung rolled out the LTE-Advanced capable Galaxy S4 in South Korea.

The source of the Korean news agency said that the SK Telco plans to roll out seven devices that are LTE-A capable before the end of 2013.

"There's no reason for Apple not to use the LTE-A technology," confirmed the unnamed executive interviewed by Korea Times.

"Thanks to the Qualcomm technology, Apple can release i-devices globally without the time gap. This is a win-win strategy. With the help of Apple, SK Telecom can take a lead in the race for LTE-A devices and Apple can seek breakthroughs in its stalling phone business," the source continued.

The report also cited sources speculating that Apple will use the launch in Korea as test of the viability of LTE-Advanced technology before heading to China.

So far, SK Telecom is the only carrier that has LTE-Advanced network. Other Korean networks such as LG Uplus and KT are also looking into the LTE-A technology.

In the United States, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon are already looking into upgrading their infrastructures to support LTE-A while other carriers are still working on their LTE rollout, according to a report on Los Angeles Times.

Apple's iPhone 5S is expected to hit stores this fall.

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