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Full speed ahead: Nokia Lumia 928 may pick up AWS support on Verizon

Lumia 928

If you’re reading this using a Nokia Lumia 928 on Verizon you can start counting your lucky stars. It looks like the device in your hand has more under the hood than we’ve been led to believe. Later this year Verizon is upgrading their LTE network to support faster speeds. The only thing standing between your Lumia 928 and that network is time and a software update.

Right now Verizon’s LTE network operates on the 700 Mhz band. It’s been fine, but they’re planning on upgrading to AWS (Advanced Wireless Services). AWS operates in the 1710-1755 and 2110-2155 MHz spectrum range. You’ll be using the 1700 range for uploads and the 2100 range for downloads. This should help Verizon’s network in a variety of locations and situations. Go back to your high school physics and you’ll remember that the higher frequencies mean shorter wavelengths. That means AWS will work better in cities and other densely populated locations first. So expect to see the network upgrade deployed accordingly.

Another benefit to Verizon moving to the AWS band is that they’ll be using the 4G band that T-Mobile uses and most major Canadian network operators. While AT&T has a few AWS licenses and most devices it offers support AWS. That means we might soon be living in a world where your unlocked smartphone can work between carriers without much (if any) effort on your part. Our European brothers have been enjoying a system like that for a long time, but we may be finally getting there.

So that’s kind of a big deal when Nokia sends a letter to the FCC asking permission to upgrade FCC:ID QMNRM-860 in the field with a software upgrade. That software upgrade will enable LTE band 4 (UL 1710-1755 Mhz, DL 2110-2155 MHz). In English: Your Nokia Lumia 928 is ready and will be taking advantage of Verizon’s next LTE network. That puts the Lumia 928 as one of the first devices on Verizon to support the network. The other being the Galaxy S4. Obviously it still needs to get approved by the FCC, but it's unlikely they'll say no. 

We’ll be looking for that software upgrade over the coming months and let you know when your device is ready.

Source: FCC, Via: G4Games, GigaOM

Thanks for the tip Vlad A!

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Reader comments

Full speed ahead: Nokia Lumia 928 may pick up AWS support on Verizon

88 Comments

Sam is killing lately. Great news. I live in a bigger city and while LTE is clearly faster, its nothing fantastic

up to I saw the draft which was of $8230, I have faith that...my... mother in law could realey receiving money in their spare time at their laptop.. there dads buddy has done this 4 only twenty months and at present repayed the dept on there appartment and purchased a gorgeous BMW. read more at, QUE99.COMONLY

 

T-mobile uses SIM cards while Verizon does not (unless they've changed recently), so you wouldn't be able to get on T-Mobile's network with a Verizon phone.

Verizon does use SIM cards now. Both the 822 and 928 use them. Not sure about the 8x, but probably. I have the 822.

Yes and no.  Verion had HTC block changing the MMS APN setting.  Yes you can use the phone like I did when I had mine overseas with a SIM card but you won't be able to send any picture/video text messages.
 

I really wish they would fix this. I keep hearing end of June, but I am getting doubtful. Biggest gripe I have.

Verizon WP7/8 do use SIM cards, including the original 3G Trophy, being a global device. 
 
LTE uses a SIM card, as it a 'requirement' of the specification.  Also remember almost all WP devices sold are 'Global' phones, with the Verizon/Sprint versions adding in the CDMA radio and/or enabling it.
 
Every WP7 and WP8 device from Verizon I have personally tested can and does work with TMobile, ATT, and virtually every Global Carrier.  There is even a way to use them on the Sprint carriers as well, aka Ting/Cricket/MetroPCS etc - although it is more involved than swapping a SIM, as the carrier network must 'learn' to identify the device that is not a normal CDMA device they support.
 
Side NOTE... Even the pure CDMA/EV0 (pre-LTE) have ALWAYS had the OPTION of using SIM cards and from time to time you will can come across even a fairly 'old' phone that used a CDMA SIM.   Due to the primary USA/Verizon/Sprint basis for CDMA, most MFRs don't bother with a removeable SIM because of the carrier lock in that Verizon and Spint have over the device they sell.  This has created a myth that CDMA technology does not support removeable SIM technology.
 

"LTE uses a SIM card as it s 'requirement' of the specification"
 
That's what I thought too. But the Galaxy S4 on Sprint which is 4G does not have a Sim card. I was stumped when my friend showed me to prove it.

It will work on T-Mobile, as the 928 is a GSM/LTE device. You will receive LTE only over AWS, as I do not believe this phone has AWS HSPA support. In that case, you will get EDGE over PCS, unless you live in a area where T-Mobile has rebanded that spectrum for 3G/4G.

I hope this AWS rumor is true because I have both a 920 and 928.
I live in San Francisco and the 920/AT&T is 3x the speed of the Verizon 928 - very sad.

I switched from at&t to vzw in north new jersey and the voice coverage is the same, data service is not as good..

"I live in San Francisco and the 920/AT&T is 3x the speed of the Verizon 928 - very sad."

Drive out of town about 10 miles, and you will change your mind rather quickly.

I HATE Verizon...

HOWEVER their 'rural' coverage is the best, especially considering 99.9% supports 3G speeds at minimum.

So in the City, you might find ATT a bit better, but head to Reno one day, and notice that the Verizon phone will have voice coverage more often, and most of the time offer 3G speeds. Even when you get coverage with the ATT device, notice it is EDGE and even highly latent/unreliable for EDGE which makes a 9600 baud modem look peppy. Most of ATT's 'between city' towers provide EDGE at most (which is not 3G) and even then they are often fairly poorly maintained 3rd party towers that makes data virtually worthless.

Continue to drive from Reno to Salt Lake and 1/2 way across Nevada you will have virtually NO DATA on ATT. On Verizon you can literally watch a Netflix Movie the entire way. *This is just one route example on a Major Freeway, I can provide TONS of other examples on 5, 15, or pick any major Western freeway.

(And I hate Verizon, but I have to use them just for coverage when I travel to weird places.)

I beg to differ... I'm on at&t with my Lumia 920 in the east bay and travel to Reno occasionally...Im always on lte until hitting the valley...I've never been on edge and always on 4g even in NV..

I was going to say, my L920 is on LTE now, I live in Reno/Sparks, NV.  When i move to the out skirts of town, is when i see it switch to 3g.  I do notice though, when I am in casinos or some other buildings my signal is none existent, but my mom on windows phone \w Verizon, has a great signal.

I went into a Verizon store the other day to see the 928 and the clone behind the counter said he never heard of it.. Pisses me off bad!! The problem is these stupid authorized retailers..

I went into a Verizon store the other day to pick up a Lumia 928 I bought online, and the sales guy helping me tells me how he doesn't know much about Windows Phone. And then proceeds to tell me all about how great the new Galaxy is, like I might change my mind or something. Either Verizon completely doesn't give a crap about providing even rudimentary training for their employees, or Samsung is offering much better sales kickbacks than Nokia. Or both. But either way, WP is absolutely screwed until this sort of thing gets fixed.

yeah google has gotten so deep into verizon pants its disgusting, I left verizon because of their horrible support for my wp7 htc trophy, they refused to turn on half the feautures like I dunno visual voicemail and tethering.  Also they had so many dead spots in central mass the phone was pointless to me.  I kept calling on all the issues and no one knew even how to operate a windows phone or even turn on visual voicemail.  They would try and bill me for it but it wouldnt work and they would get confused, they always tried to push google phones, I figure they were getting alot of extra money from them.  I went to at&t when the 900 came out and havent looked back, now most of my ffriends are on at&t with windows phones all of them rocking out nokias :-)

Another thing is the fact that they didn't release the Ativ S, which I was sure was going to Verizon.. To me that was the biggest blunder in WP history... Well, that and no C&P at launch.. Lol

Google is just as deep into T-Mobile with their advising anyone who had their stuff in the "Mobile Life" thing to move to google drive...I'm like, I have a Windows Phone and all my stuff is backed up automatically! What? =/

I hate it when the store guys don't know much or almost anything about WP and they try to make you change your mind and try an Android device, in my case, Movistar fault's

The Verizon store I went to had the 928 in the back corner, and wasn't even on.  The battery was out of power.  Great way to sell a new phone.  So much for a third ecosystem on Verizon.  Told the 4 salespeople hovering at the door as I left.  

Yes.  I think that is what is disappointing the most.  I watched a rep help someone who was looking for a phone.  When she finally came back to where the WP's were, she said"we also have Windows Phones and they are an entirely different operating system.  And the 822 is free with a 2yr contract.  They have live tiles." I walked away, but I am pretty sure she didn't sell her on the 822 based on her tone. I will be getting the 928 in July once I have another upgrade, just not from that location.  Family of WP users!

That hasn't been my experience.  They were very clear when I wanted to get the 822 that I couldn't get the upgrade even the day before my date.

Lol!  I went to a Verizon corporate store Thursday while I was out shopping, to check on the L928 - I wanted to compare the weight and feel to my Lumia 900.  The device was on display, but not on!  I fiddle around with the plugs/chargers, and it 'vibrated' like it does when it comes on, but still nothing.  Before I left, I asked the 'Manager', if they were going to get the Lumia 928 charged up; they walked over to the device and determined that the charger was defective; so they plugged it into the charger that was originally hooked up to the 8X.  So, either Lumia 928 sabotage or just incompetence.  I mean, I see commercials for this device ALL the time, and I don't even watch that much television - you would think that they would definitely have their nationally advertised devices charged up and ready for demos.
 
I didn't have time to go back and demo the device, but it's sad that they have a 'Greeter' at the door, but no one to walk the store to make sure that all devices are properly connected and charged. 

When they are oblivious to a new or popular phone model, take a few print out or have a few Web links to send them to so they won't look freaking stupid the next time, and will order in some of the phones for the next person that comes in.

I would do a sarcastic, "Really? One of the fastest selling phones based on the #1 rated phone of 2012? With the high rated Camera, fastest browser, etc etc.... and you never heard of it? Well, have you heard of smartphones, the new shiny phones with pretty pictures and a screen you can touch?" ;)

Yeah, they are doing great marketing, and I'm sure the corporate stores are pushing the phones.. Its just that these "authorized retailers" outnumber the corporate stores by far, and in order to stay in business they have to push the latest and most popular phones. They aren't willing to take chances on the 928, and probably aren't even required to stock it.. The same thing most likely happened with the 900 on at&t. In my area there's at least 4 franchise stores to 1 corporate store, so I'm beginning to think that this has been the issue with the US market the whole time.. These authorized retailers need either an incentive to push WP, or need to be forced to stay on par with the corporate stores.

The corporate store I went to said they could order me one, if I really wanted one. I just went to the Microsoft Store instead. 

Good. Once all you consumers move off of 3G maybe I will have more bandwidth to get some work done like before the iPhone.

Too cool! Loving my white 928, and faster is better! I'm treating it like my first born son at the moment though, until SOMEONE releases a decent case for it...

This, x1000. Especially with how close the glass is to the edge of the device. I don't think the 928 can take a fall like the 920 can. My wife dropped hers the first day she got it, and made an amazing diving catch to save it in time. I was sure I was watching $500 go down the drain right then...

na.. the big phones break.. The bigger the phone, the more chance of breaking.. it may be stronger than other phones but we have seen 920 and 928 break in other threads here.

No, the 928 shatters. It would be the one flaw of the squared off design I think. I really prefer the 928's design but these corners are gorilla glass' Achilles heel. Had the phone for a couple days and on first day of week vacation the phone slips out of my hand and entire screen shattered. I had momentarily taken the phone out of its case. Mistake. The 928 worked like a champ still until I could get it replaced but yeah, screen will be very much more breakable than the 920.

No, from what I understand there is a hardware requirement that the 822 doesn't have. Only the newest phones have it / will it.

When I went to vzw to get my 928 they were good about getting me info and two of the reps were using them...so maybe its not every store, but its an issue that needs addressing

I'm surprised that AWS on the 928 is a surprise. I read about the 928 and AWS when Engadget had the FCC filing a month or two ago.

So this may be a stupid question and I think I know some of the answer from reading the article but does this mean that an unlocked 928 will work with ATT the same as a 920 (LTE, HSPA+, EDGE) ???

Nice. I read a story today about the new galaxy having the same capability, good to here a WP does as well. Too bad my 822 doesn't though.

I understand that but Verizon is switching to VLTE (voice over LTE)
meaning they won't be using CDMA for calls & since they are switching to the AWS band that is the same that TMO uses theoretically it may be possible...

You need to realize where Verizon is heading with this. They are planning to go to VoLTE which will radically simplify their network and the hardware their phones need.

Have the HTC 8X for 2 months now and I think it is GREAT!!! I noticed the 928 comin out so I Checked it out in the Verizon Store. I thought I would give my mom the 8X and get the 928. NO NO NO!!! That 928 is too clunky compared to the 8X. There are only a few features difference and the big selling point for me IS..... the 8X 2.1 front facing vs the 928 1.2 front facing. O, it has 32GB vs the 8x 16GB, I use Cloud and only use a few apps. So you get 16GB for more junk, and to some of you, that is a must have. Sure it is a lil faster and really, that's about it. It just didn't sit right in the hand. The 8X is an Unbelievable Piece of work in terms of Sleekness!!! I VOTE FOR THE HTC 8X

8X has a lousy camera with only a single led flash. 8X has none of the Nokia exclusive apps also and you can forget future Nokia updates like wake on double tap and always on clock.

I love the fact that every carrier has a premier Lumia now. An 8 series with micro SD or a 9 series with the bells and whistles. Today at work, I had a customer showing me a part they needed on their phones camera, and it was a Lumia 920. Their wife also had one and instead of making a big deal of it, I simply smiled to myself and thought " windows phone and Nokia, the rest of the world is finally seeing just how awesome this relationship is"..-happy 920 owner

AWS is NOT faster than 700 MHz LTE. In fact, 700 MHz is more desirable in general due to it's ability to penetrate buildings. The only reason VZW is interested in AWS is because they primarily have C block licenses in the 700 MHz band and not in every market necessarily. AWS is much less crowded, but in general, LTE is LTE no matter what carrier frequency.
It's also easier to build a compact antenna that is efficient in higher bands, but they won't be dropping 700 MHz anytime soon so don't expect them to ditch the 700 MHz antennas.

Wait a moment, while I think this is great news, as a physics guy, I must challenge the assertion that shorter wavelengths will be better in cities. Admittedly, different wavelengths will pass through different materials based on a variety of factors, so it's possible shorter is better, but in general, the longer the wavelength, the better it passes through walls, dirt, glass, etc. In other words, 700MHz should be better in cities than 2100MHz with respect to getting into buildings.
 
Think of a higher frequency (shorter wavelength) as a denser packet. Where a long FM wave will pass right through a wall without interacting with it at all, a shorter one will start to interact with the atoms that make it up and be absorbed. This is why radio waves pass through you with no effect, visible light is stopped by your body, and higher frequencies, like UV and x-rays will actually damage you as their higher energy (higher frequencies) are emparted to the atoms in your cells, breaking up DNA, etc. Visible light, which is slightly lower energy/lower frequency/longer wavelength than UV passes through glass windows, but UV generally can't make it through the glass (depending on the chemical makeup of the glass).
 
Where the shorter wavelength is better is in the amount of data it can carry. You can fit a lot more information per unit of spectrum at a higher frequency/shorter wavelength than in  lower frequency/longer wavelength. Again, think of the wave as the informatoin. If it's waving up and down 700 million times per second (700MHz), that means at a single frequcency it can easily send about 700 megabits (Mb) per second (this isn't exactly right, beacuse good computer analysis can get data in both parts of the wave but signal overhead consumes some of the data). At 2100MHz, in that same example, you could send 2100 megabits of data in 1 second. So all else being equal, you can fit 3 times as much data per MHz of bandwidth at 2100MHz than at 700MHz.
 
This is why 2.4GHZ Wi-Fi is a little better through walls than 5GHz, but  it was easier for them to put several bands of data at the 5GHZ range, which is what enables the really high-speed Wi-Fi networks (beyond 600Mbps). And this is why communication to submarines is so slow -- they have to use extremely long wavelengths (very low frequency) to penetrate through miles of ocean, and at those wavelengths they can only send very little data.
 
I cautiton that this is just the general physics. There could be other reasons why this matters, like maybe at 700MHz, there is more interference from police radios, which would make it worse in cities, but that's not a wavelength benefit, that's an interference issue. Or maybe there happens to be lot of some material that just happens to have a resonant frequency at 700MHz (like big (compared to atoms) water molecules are resonent with microwaves, so the water absorbs that relatively long wavelength and start vibrating making them hot, even though the microwaves pass right through most other substances -- voila, the microwave oven). If so, that would cause it to absorb at that frequency. I don't think there is anything like that, but I it's theretically possible.

You're right and I worded that paragraph wrong. What I should have said is that Verizon will target cities and populated areas first. That's because the AWS range will need more cell towers to cover an area. So they're more likely to put up a ton of towers in a city versus the countryside. And since AWS will have a harder time penetrating buildings they'll need more towers. 

Ah, that makes perfect sense. And in any case, great news that there's more to the 928 than we knew. Thanks!
 
Always love your reports, Sam. Please keep up the great work for all of us WP fans!

When I first heard that both AT&T and Verizon were moving to LTE, I had naively assumed that meant better coverage with roaming across networks. Then I learned that each used different LTE frequencies and so they remained incompatible. This new announcement is great news in the US (in addition to global benefits) if it really does mean some cross-network roaming between the big guys, and proud that the Lumia is the first (one of the first?) to be capable of supporting it.
 
Is this also part of a Verizon move to do voice over their LTE data network, as opposed to voice over CDMA and data on LTE (when available)? It seems that would also be good in the long run - 1 cellular radio instead of two (still Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios), lower production costs, possibly better battery life when using LTE...