Connected Corners

Benefits of upgrading your smartphone frequently

Another year… Another Smartphone

Like clockwork latest iterations of flagship smartphones are being launched by Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC, Moto and many more vendors on an annual basis

In a never-ending race to differentiate their products & maintain consumer momentum in saturated markets; vendors are constantly ‘tweaking’ their smartphones

Sure enough; these latest smartphone iterations sport new features (water resistance capability, modular add-on capabilities, dual screen), component improvements (dual camera, brighter display, higher memory & battery capacity) and perhaps even the odd hardware omission (G’bye 3.5mm audio port)

As with every new launch; most consumers tend to scrutinize each and every one of these device features to evaluate the overall upgrade benefits

But one feature stands above all for data-reliant users… updated cellular & wireless modules

Carriers are constantly upgrading & updating their network

Wireless Carriers worldwide are working non-stop to upgrade their networks with an intention of providing increased bandwidth, lower latency & expanded coverage to an ever-expanding army of data-reliant devices on their network.

Your local friendly Carrier could be…

  • Upgrading the network from 2G > 3G > 3.5G > 4G LTE > 4.5G LTE-A
  • Re-farming older Spectrum
  • Implementing Carrier Aggregation, Beam Forming, 4X4 MIMO, QAM
  • Installing Dark Fiber / Microwave / other backhaul infrastructure
  • Investing in Small Cells across dense urban areas

…and other such network upgrades & optimization initiatives.

Smartphone vendors, chipset OEMs &  carriers work closely to plan, design and embed these latest network features into successive iterations of smartphones & other data-reliant devices

Exemplifying network advancements with the iPhone

iPhone Generations 3
iPhone Generations & Network bands supported

From the above example we can visualize how the original iPhone has transitioned from a ‘single-carrier / limited GPRS cellular’ smartphone to almost a ‘world phone’ in it’s latest iteration (iPhone 7); packing a dizzying array of global cellular support.

All other latest iOS & hardware benefits (or lack thereof) aside, one could easily establish the acute limitations of using an iPhone 4s in today’s advanced network environment. In the U.S alone, the iPhone 4s couldn’t support modern LTE features; leave alone inter-Carrier interoperability or even world phone capabilities

The same trend holds true for modern smartphones from Samsung, HTC, LG, et al.

Consumer Benefits

Consumers upgrading to the latest Carrier-compatible smartphones not only achieve faster speeds, higher bandwidths & increased coverage through the aforementioned technologies but also gain access to latest network features such as VoLTE, VoWiFi / WiFi calling, etc…

…further powering consumers’ data-dependent activities (HD video streaming / conferencing, multiplayer gaming, or even streaming music)

Simultaneously other (short-range) wireless protocols that have seen advancements too. These include 802.11ac WiFi with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC; that support ultra fast wireless, m-Payment and connected accessories

Upgrade Frequency

Upgrade frequency would vary by the pace at which local Carriers are updating & upgrading their networks. CAPEX/OPEX discussions aside; many markets are seeing notable changes to their wireless network almost on an annual basis

One could refer to OpenSignal’s State of LTE or LTEmaps to get a better idea of key LTE deployments

Tomorrow’s “5G” deployment benefits today’s smartphones

The fact that many Carriers are on a quest to deploy some level of operational “5G” network as early as possible further accelerated the rate of network advancements

As briefly mentioned in an earlier Drones post; “5G isn’t just ‘one protocol’… but a combination & culmination of wireless (& perhaps even back haul) protocols that the Carriers are deploying on an ongoing basis to achieve the final goal in the near future

So until a full “5G-capable” iPhone or Galaxy is realized in the near future; you could be assured that the technologies (thereof) that makeup “5G” will be surely be embedded until then

And the best thing… once upgraded to a new smartphone; there are several ways you could maximize the value of your old one.