Apple Faces Yet Another Patent Lawsuit in East Texas Over LTE Standards

Last week, we reported on Apple's plans to close its retail stores in the Eastern District of Texas in April in an effort to avoid patent infringement lawsuits in the jurisdiction, perceived by many as being "patent troll friendly."


Ahead of the closures, Apple faces yet more patent litigation in the district. A group of limited liability companies under the Optis Wireless Technology, LLC umbrella filed suit against Apple on Monday in East Texas, accusing the company of infringing on a portfolio of seven patents related to LTE standards.

Optis Wireless and the other plaintiffs named in the complaint appear to be non-practicing entities that aim to generate revenue through patent litigation. These type of companies are commonly referred to as patent trolls.

The complaint, seen by MacRumors, alleges that all LTE-enabled Apple products, including various iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models, infringe on the LTE patents. Optis Wireless and the other plaintiffs acquired many of the patents from Ericsson, Samsung, LG, and Panasonic — read the full complaint [PDF] for the exact patents.

The plaintiffs state that, not later than January 6, 2017, they sent Apple correspondence in an effort to license their essential patents to Apple on FRAND terms. The plaintiffs also allege meeting with Apple representatives on numerous occasions, but the parties did not reach a licensing agreement.

The plaintiffs are seeking "recovery of damages at least in the form of reasonable royalties" and have demanded a jury trial.

Last August, in the same court, a jury decided that Huawei willfully infringed many of the same LTE patents being asserted against Apple. The Chinese smartphone maker was ordered to pay $10.6 million in damages.


This article, "Apple Faces Yet Another Patent Lawsuit in East Texas Over LTE Standards" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Study Finds iPhone XS Max Users Experience More Than Twice as Fast LTE Speeds as iPhone 5s Users on Average

iPhone XS Max users experience more than two times faster real-world LTE data speeds as iPhone 5s users on average in the United States, according to OpenSignal, although there are caveats to consider.


OpenSignal says it measured speeds on hundreds of thousands of iPhones across the United States from October 26, 2018 to January 24, 2019 and found that iPhone XS Max users experienced an average LTE download speed of 21.7 Mbps compared to just 10.2 Mbps for iPhone 5s users.

iPhone XS users saw an average LTE download speed of 17.6 Mbps, while iPhone 6 through iPhone 8 Plus users posted average LTE download speeds of between 15.6 Mbps and 17.1 Mbps, as measured by OpenSignal.


OpenSignal attributes the faster data speeds on newer iPhones to improved modems and antenna designs in those devices, such as 4x4 MIMO support in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max compared to 2x2 MIMO on older iPhones, but the results are also likely influenced by socioeconomic factors.

Someone who is still using an iPhone 5s in 2019 could be a price-conscious consumer who is unable to justify the cost of upgrading to a newer iPhone, for example, while relying on a discount carrier with inferior wireless coverage or capped data speeds compared to major carriers such as Verizon and AT&T.

That said, while the results may be somewhat skewed, a newer iPhone should be able to achieve faster data speeds than an older iPhone, assuming it's connected to a cellular tower with the latest LTE equipment.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XS (Neutral)

This article, "Study Finds iPhone XS Max Users Experience More Than Twice as Fast LTE Speeds as iPhone 5s Users on Average" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Looking Into LTE Connectivity Issues Affecting Some iPhone XS and XS Max Owners

Apple is looking into reports that some customers are experiencing LTE connectivity issues with the newly released iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

According to one iPhone XS Max owner, Apple is conducting an outreach program with some customers who have a new device that is experiencing LTE problems.


Apple has asked him to install a baseband logger to track his cellular connection, presumably to figure out if there are any serious issues that need to be resolved. We've heard similar reports from MacRumors readers who have been asked to provide device logs to engineers when troubleshooting the issue.


iPhone XS and XS Max owners began complaining about LTE connectivity and signal problems shortly after the two devices launched on September 17. Many users have discovered noticeable differences in cellular reception between iPhone XS models and older iPhones like the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X.

Affected users have noticed fewer bars and poorer signal on iPhone XS and XS Max compared to older devices, but it doesn't appear to be a universal problem. While some people have complained of weak connectivity and slow speeds, others have noticed LTE improvements, which confuses the issue.

Many of the early complaints came from Verizon users, suggesting there are perhaps carrier firmware issues that need to be resolved, but it's unclear if carrier firmware is the full extent of the problem.

In the most recent iOS 12.1 beta, Apple updated the modem firmware in the iPhone to version 1.01.20-1, up from 1.01.12 in iOS 12. On the Verizon network, the iOS 12.1 update also introduces new 33.5.6 carrier firmware.

New firmware on left, iOS 12 firmware on right

Modem firmware updates are a routine part of major .1 iOS releases, so it's not yet clear if the new firmware specifically addresses issues that customers have been experiencing with LTE connectivity.

Early reports on the MacRumors forums have, however, suggested that iOS 12.1 does indeed bring some improvements. MacRumors archer75, for example, says the update has doubled his LTE speeds. Other users, though, have said the update does not address LTE problems.

Regardless of whether a fix has been bundled into the iOS 12.1 update, Apple is taking reports of LTE problems seriously and investigating what might be going on, so should this be a software-related issue, a resolution is likely in the works.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS
Tag: LTE
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XS (Buy Now)

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Apple’s 2018 iPhones Support T-Mobile’s 600MHz LTE Spectrum for Improved LTE Performance

The iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR are the first iPhones to support T-Mobile's 600 MHz LTE spectrum (aka Band 71), according to T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

Band 71 is listed as a supported option on the Tech Specs pages for both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR. Apple additionally says its new devices support the most LTE bands ever in an iPhone.


T-Mobile purchased the 600 MHz spectrum in an FCC auction in April 2017 and shortly after announced plans to use the spectrum to improve its network in rural America.

By the time T-Mobile announced its plans for the rollout of the 600 MHz spectrum, the hardware for the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and 8 Plus was already secured, giving Apple no time to build in support.

T-Mobile in August 2017 activated the first 600 MHz site in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and has since expanded it to 1,254 cities across 36 states, including Puerto Rico, which means many T-Mobile customers who purchase the iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR will benefit from the improved coverage.


According to T-Mobile, the 600 MHz spectrum adds increased building penetration and covers greater distances. When used in metro areas, it improves in-building coverage, and in rural areas, it improves the company's LTE footprint.

Other smartphones that offer 600 MHz support include the LG G7 Thin Q, the Samsung Galaxy S9, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS

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Apple and AT&T Team Up to Improve Cellular Service in Puerto Rico With LTE Band 8 Activation

Apple and AT&T have been working together to improve cellular connectivity for iPhone users in Puerto Rico who have been largely without cellular service since Hurricane Maria hit a month ago.

The two companies are enabling LTE Band 8, a provisional LTE band that's been approved but not activated or licensed in the United States or Puerto Rico, reports TechCrunch.


LTE Band 8 will work with the iPhone 5c and up on iOS 10 or higher in Puerto Rico following a carrier update. Band 8 is a 900Mhz band with improved range to better reach cell towers that are located further away.
"We are working with AT&T to activate cellular service for iPhone users in Puerto Rico as the island recovers from Hurricane Maria," read an Apple statement. "Apple engineers have created a special carrier settings update which users connected to Wi-Fi or who are connected to a cellular network will automatically be prompted to download throughout the week. The update allows iPhone customers with iPhone 5c and later models running iOS 10 or higher, to connect to a provisional band on the AT&T network so they can be in touch with loved ones and get services in this time of need."
iPhone owners in Puerto Rico will need to go to Settings --> General --> About when connected to Wi-Fi or cellular to download the carrier update.

Once the new carrier data has been installed, iPhones will be able to use Band 8 where available to connect to cellular towers and Project Loon balloons being deployed by Google to improve cellular service in Puerto Rico.

Project Look balloons support basic communication and internet activities for sending text messaging and accessing information online over LTE.


Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria on September 20, much of Puerto Rico continues to be without power, and millions are also without running water. Many areas are also without cellular service and Wi-Fi connectivity with up to 75 percent of antennas currently down, making it difficult for families to stay in touch.

Tags: AT&T, LTE

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T-Mobile Offered Fastest LTE Speeds in the First Half of 2017

T-Mobile was the carrier with the fastest mobile network in the United States during the first half of 2017, according to a new U.S. Market Report for Mobile Broadband shared this morning by Ookla.

The carrier scored a 23.17 using Ookla's new "Speed Score" metric that combines low-end, median, and top-end performance for both upload and download speeds. Ookla says this is a comprehensive metric combining all factors that "matter to a good network experience" into a single score.

Coming in after T-Mobile was Verizon, with a Speed Score of 21.13, while AT&T came in third with a score of 20.05 and Sprint brought up the rear with a score of 15.39.


According to Ookla, T-Mobile's "tightly-spaced cell site grid" and smaller subscriber base gave it an edge over Verizon and AT&T, both of whom are dealing with higher traffic loads since their unlimited plans were introduced last year.

While Verizon has managed to deliver "consistent and reliable performance" across its network despite the unlimited plans, the rollout of AT&T's unlimited plans resulted in a "notable drop in performance."

Sprint, unsurprisingly, had the slowest mobile network with a Speed Score of 15.39, despite improvements made over the course of the last year. From June of 2016 to June of 2017, Sprint LTE speeds improved by 23.7 percent, but the carrier still can't match the big three.
T-Mobile comes out on top for overall speeds and acceptable speeds at a national level and provides the fastest service in 40% of the largest cities in the U.S. Verizon Wireless has the fastest service in many of the cities we looked at and comes in first on acceptable speeds in the top 100 CMAs, but we suspect their use of depriortization on unlimited could be bringing down their overall performance.

AT&T falls near the bottom in consistency of acceptable speeds and also saw a spoke in low end speeds in Q2 2017. The slowest carrier, Sprint, struggles with consistently providing acceptable speeds but saw big gains in the first half of the year.
While the above chart information covers the United States as a whole, Ookla also compared mobile performance data in the 100 most populated Cellular Market Areas within the country. The rankings were the same, but T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless were nearly neck and neck. Across the board, users in populated cellular markets see higher speeds.


Mobile performance by carrier varies greatly from area to area, so while T-Mobile may have the best overall network speeds, AT&T or Verizon could have a significant edge depending on where a user is located. All four carriers are aggressively pursuing improved LTE speeds and network expansion through spectrum purchases, refarming legacy spectrum (like ending 3G networks), network densification, relay solutions, and other techniques.

Across all carriers in the United States, there was a 19.2 percent increase in average mobile download speeds between the first half of 2016 and the first half of 2017, with an average speed of 22.69 Mb/s.


Average mobile upload speeds didn't see quite as much improvement, coming in at 8.51 Mb/s for a four percent improvement year over year. When it comes to average mobile download speeds, the United States is ranked 44th in the world. That rank drops down to 65th for average mobile upload speed. In rural areas, performance can be significantly worse, with speeds that are 20.9 percent slower than the nation as a whole. Verizon (51.6%) and AT&T (27.3%) have far more coverage in rural areas than T-Mobile (11.5%) and Sprint (9.6%).

In addition to looking at network performance by carrier, Ookla also shared some data on LTE speeds across carriers on two popular devices: the iPhone 7 and the Galaxy S7. On T-Mobile and Sprint, broadband speeds were on average slightly faster for the Galaxy S7, with little difference on Verizon and AT&T networks.

Both the iPhone 7 and the S7 see higher mobile network speeds than other devices because they aggregate three component carriers to improve peak and average speeds. On T-Mobile, Samsung has an edge because the Galaxy S7 enables features like higher order modulation and 4-Layer MIMO.


Ookla's report is based on data gathered from its popular Speedtest Intelligence benchmark during the first half of 2017. More than 3 million unique devices performed more than 14 million user-initiated cellular network tests, giving the company a lot of data to work with to figure out trends during the year. For the S7 and iPhone 7 comparison tests, data from 250,278 iPhones was collected and compared to data from 134,742 Galaxy devices.

Additional test results covering minimum acceptable experience, the impact of unlimited data, fastest carriers by city, and more can be read in the full report.


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