AT&T unveils LTE phones that support 700 MHz spectrum it got from Qualcomm

700 MHz band 29 LG G3 AT&T


AT&T Mobility's (NYSE: T) version of LG Electronics' G3 smartphone has support for an LTE band linked to the 700 MHz Lower D and E Block spectrum AT&T bought from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), one of the first devices from the carrier to support such spectrum. The band, LTE Band 29, appears on the technical specifications for the G3 on AT&T's website. AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel confirmed the device does support Band 29.

There are other AT&T devcies besides the G3 that support Band 29. One is the Samsung Electronics Galaxy S5 Active.

Yet other recent smartphones from AT&T, such as the HTC One M8, do not support Band 29.

Siegel declined to speculate on what other future AT&T devices would also support Band 29. He said AT&T did not have a timeline for when it would commercially deploy LTE service on that spectrum.

In June 2013, AT&T claimed it would not be able to deploy LTE over its 700 MHz Lower D and E Block spectrum until mid-to-late 2014 because the necessary interoperability test cases for LTE Advanced carrier aggregation were still in development within 3GPP. AT&T acquired the unpaired 700 MHz licenses for $1.93 billion in December 2011 from Qualcomm, which had used the frequencies for its now-defunct MediaFLO service.

AT&T has said it intends to use the spectrum to provide a supplemental downlink using LTE Advanced carrier aggregation in conjunction with its other AWS, PCS and cellular licenses. The carrier worked closely on the band with 3GPP, which in December 2012 specifically designated Band 29 for downlink use only in the 700 MHz D and E Blocks. The 3GPP also approved technical specifications for aggregation of a downlink Band 29 with an uplink frequency band in Band 2 (PCS 1900 MHz) or Band 4 (AWS 1700/2100 MHz).

In September 2013, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson indicated the carrier was thinking of using the spectrum for some kind of LTE Broadcast service.

Correction, July 15: This article incorrectly identified the LG G3 as the only AT&T devcie that supports LTE Band 29. AT&T has released other devices that support Band 29.