iPhone 5S LTE-A tipped as SK Telecom reportedly pushes Apple for speed

Apple's iPhone 5S, expected to launch later this year, will support LTE-Advanced sources reportedly at Korean carrier SK Telecom claim, theoretically doubling the smartphone's download speeds versus the current iPhone 5. "SK Telecom is approaching Apple to put out LTE-A technology on the upcoming iPhone 5S" an unnamed source at the carrier told The Korea Times, describing the two companies as "in the middle of negotiations."

If Apple agrees, the iPhone 5S wouldn't be the first device on the South Korean market with support for LTE-Advanced. Last week, Samsung officially detailed the Galaxy S 4 LTE-A, a new variant on its Android flagship that, while outwardly identical to the existing phone, has had some cellular surgery inside.

The original processor has been removed, replaced with Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 800. That, as well as being faster than the 600-series chip Samsung launched the phone with, also adds support for the new breed of LTE, which in its Advanced form can manage download rates of up to 150Mbps, network depending.

"There's no reason for Apple not to use the LTE-A technology" the SK Telecom insider argues, though whether Apple would see things the same way is questionable. Currently, commercial LTE-A networks are in relatively short supply, and no US carrier operates such a service.

Still, it's possible that Apple could use the opportunity to prepare the iPhone 5S for the future, as well as light a fire under carriers internationally to ramp up their LTE-A roll-outs. The iPhone 5S would use a Qualcomm's modem, it's suggested, though Apple would presumably prefer to continue using its own A-Series application processors.

"With the help of Apple, SK Telecom can take a lead in the race for LTE-A devices and Apple can seek breakthroughs in its stalling phone business" the insider at the carrier reportedly said, unsurprisingly asking not to be named.

Verizon is currently working on its LTE-A upgrade, though has yet to commit to any roll-out timescale for its commercial launch.

VIA 9 to 5 Mac