Thoughts on S60

reflections on the most popular mobile operating system worldwide

AT&T 3G and YOU!

with 7 comments

There seems to be a lot of confusion recently regarding a “NAM i8910” which includes the UMTS 850 and 1900 frequencies used by AT&T and the frequencies supported by the current i8910. Please read ahead and allow me to clear up this confusion.

1. There is no “NAM i8910” and there probably never will be.

The current Samsung i8910 supports quadband GSM (voice and EDGE data) and triband 900/1900/2100 UMTS (for 3G voice and HSDPA data). Samsung has not made any mention of plans to release a second i8910 with the 850 UMTS frequency for use on AT&T’s 3G network.

2. This may not matter, depending on where you are.

AT&T currently uses both UMTS 850 and 1900 frequencies to make up its 3G network in the US. Fortunately, the 1900 UMTS frequency is used primarily in their current infrastructure for most of their 3G coverage. That means depending on where you are, you may be able to access AT&T’s 3G network with only the UMTS 1900 frequency in the i8910 just as you would a phone that supports both frequencies. Aside from AT&T’s 3G data, the i8910 will work on ANY GSM network for voice and EDGE data due to the quadband GSM frequencies.

(Note: All further improvements to AT&T’s network is being done by adding UMTS 850 towers. If you don’t currently have 3G coverage in your area, and AT&T drops a notice on your door that they’re expanding their coverage, your brand new i8910 probably won’t be able to access the 3G data from the towers they just added.)

3. How do I find out what frequency is being used in my area?

Aside from the dozens of platforms and applications that can be used to find out which UMTS tower your phone is connected to, the easiest way is to give AT&T a call. If you can get connected to a technician who knows what he/she’s doing, they should be able to identify which frequency your phone is using in your area.

As a disclaimer, I do not take any responsibility if you buy an i8910 and it does not access AT&T’s 3G network, so please do not email me with complaints if this happens. The point to this post is that given the state of AT&T’s 3G network, there is a very good chance that the UMTS 1900 frequency will work just as well with the i8910 in its current state without a NAM version necessary. I can tell you from my own personal experience that both the Atlanta and Chicago metropolitan areas are heavily covered by UMTS 1900. Anywhere else will be up to you to find out.

Please drop a comment or an email if you have any further questions. Inspiration for the title of this post.

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Written by Jonathan

May 25, 2009 at 1:31 am

7 Responses

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  1. “1. There is no “NAM i8910″ and there probably never will be.”

    Sorry sir but you are wrong, samsung i8910 NAM was submitted for approval to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in USA. The FCC approved the phone on the beginning of april end of march of 2009. The phone submitted is 3g compatible with at&t.
    American release will be announced once European supply and demand stabilized.

    FCC Documents available
    https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&RequestTimeout=500&calledFromFrame=N&application_id=293177&fcc_id=%27A3LSWDI8910%27

    Ipaz

    May 31, 2009 at 9:50 am

  2. I think you need to reread my post. The whole point was to spread awareness that the current version of the i8910 will work with AT&T’s 3G in a lot of places (though not all).

    If you looked through the documentation you posted, you can see that the tests were conducted for GSM 850/1900 and UMTS 1900, the latter of which is only one of the two frequencies used by AT&T for their 3G coverage. Typically a “NAM” version supports both the UMTS 850 and 1900 frequencies like the i8510 NAM, which also has yet to make an appearance in the US. (https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&RequestTimeout=500&calledFromFrame=N&application_id=950312&fcc_id=%27A3LSWDI8510M%27).

    Jonathan

    May 31, 2009 at 10:12 am

  3. Any idea about California-Los angeles 3G?
    Will Omnia HD work there? ;o

    Tre

    June 1, 2009 at 7:15 am

  4. @Tre
    Yes, most 3G areas are covered by 1900 (more than 850).

    Joshuana

    June 9, 2009 at 7:16 pm

  5. […] I wrote before, the i8910HD is equipped with a quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900) and tri-band UMTS radios […]

  6. […] leave a comment » YES, it works on AT&T 3G in the US. Read this. […]

  7. Awesome post, thanks for spelling it out. For the record, this also applies to the Euro variants of tri-band 3G phones from Nokia, as well, which can be useful when deciding whether to wait for the NAM variant or go ahead with the Euro variant.

    I’ve been using the Euro N86 8MP in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for a while now, and can confirm that it works great here, as well.

    Ricky Cadden

    August 31, 2009 at 2:52 pm


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