Hi I am interested in buying a Fairphone 2 when it is ready in the USA, but I read it is not compatible on 4G or 4G LTE in the USA (although it is in Europe). Can anyone explain why this is so and possible solutions to fix this? For example, would it be up to the carrier (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) to enable this or could Fairphone fix this with the way they assemble the device?
The short answer:
There are >40 different frequency bands for 4G worldwide. The modem in the phone that handles the connection with the network will typically only support a subset of these. The modem in the Fairphone is capable of communicating on the bands commonly used in Europe. To get other bands, a different modem would need to be integrated into the core chipset in the phone - which from a regulatory perspective makes it a new device that will need full certification. I’m not aware of a modem that is compatible with all relevant bands in both EU & US, so it only makes sense for Fairphone to do this if they intend on establishing themselves in the US market at high volumes (which has it’s own substantial cost and risk) with a separate device.
Add to that, the frequencies in use in a country are typically determined by the government and - in many countries - auctioned to the mobile networks. The networks can often choose whether to use a band for 2G, 3G or 4G connections and that can make a difference for FP especially in the case of the 1900MHz band on which the FP2 takes no 4G but does connect to 2G or 3G. But typically it would be up to the governments.
The same situation exists in all of the Americas, these countries chose to use largely the same bands while Europe, Africa and large parts of Asia together chose to use other bands.
Thank you for the helpful info! I have contacted the business team to see how I can help to grow the market in the USA.
I’ve moved some come relatively recent posts into this new topic, as the discussions about the (lack of) frequencies that the FP2 supports appears to either be old, or hidden in topics about incidental travel.
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