<dream sequence… a few years in the future...>
I walk into my local mobile shop.
There it is, front and center. The future of mobile communications, the
industry’s first LTE-enabled iPhone.
We all remember how iPhone changed mobile communications with 3G. Now with LTE, the iPhone is poised to once again move the entire mobile industry forward. With a huge, brilliant display and high definition video camera, the phone is the most technologically advanced mobile phone ever created.
Expectations are high. For months we’ve been hearing about the lightening fast data rates of LTE and how the iPhone is uniquely able to benefit. Stream HD TV direct to the phone; and finally… real video calling with simultaneous voice/video.
The Sales Person sees me drooling on the phone, pawing to free it from the security cable holding it to the counter, and comes over to answer some questions.
[SP] So, you’re interested in the new LTE iPhone?
[me] Yeah, who isn’t? It’s awesome.
[SP] Yes it is. Let me show you how the streaming video works.
Starts streaming an HD video clip…
[SP] The video is comes from the network or from your home DVR.
[me] Really? That’s what I’ve always wanted from mobile video. My content from my DVR delivered to my phone.
[SP] Yep, this phone really brings the vision of ‘Three Screens’ to life.
[me] Cool, well, let me make a call.
The Sales Person sheepishly hands me the phone, and begins to look quietly at their feet.
I pull up the dial pad in a second window and the video screen is minimized.
I dial a phone number and press send.
Suddenly the video screen goes away and the LTE icon disappears…
[me] What happened?
[SP] Ummm… well, our network uses something called ‘CS Fallback’. It keeps voice calls off the LTE network. So the phone needs to end the video stream and jump back to the GSM network.
[me] Are you kidding me?
I hold the phone away from my ear and look at the screen quizzically.
[me] Why is it taking so long to connect?
[SP] Well… it takes a bit longer to connect the call because the phone needs to pause all the LTE activity, connect to the GSM network, and then set up the call.
[me] Unbelievable. The fastest mobile network ever and it’s slower than GSM to place a call.
I hang up the call and hand the phone back to the sales rep.
Looking to save the sale, the SP optimistically says:
[SP] Here, let me show you how video calling works.
[me] Oh, excellent. I’ve always wanted video calling, mostly the ‘see what I see’ capability. I was pretty sure an LTE iPhone could do it.
The SP fiddles with the phone and then hands it back to me.
I notice that I have video and audio, but it’s in a Skype window.
[me] Cool, this is awesome. But why is it Skype and not a mobile operator service.
[SP] Yeah… well… with CS Fallback we can’t do simultaneous voice and data over LTE. But this is something Skype has supported for a while….
And then I’m awake… awash in a cold sweat… struggling to
understand why the mobile industry would voluntarily subject itself to CS
NOTE: If you can’t tell, I am dreaming of an LTE iPhone, but that’s all it is, a dream. I have no knowledge that Apple is developing one. I suspect they will, because LTE is truly the network where the iPhone can take the mobile industry to the next level, as long as it isn’t handicapped by CS Fallback.