The first Xperia™ smartphone supporting LTE

For illustrative purposes only. Not for commercial use or re-sale. Use of “Sony” brand subject to regulatory approval.

A few days ago we announced the Xperia™ ion, our first LTE smartphone, for the U.S. market. But what benefits does LTE really add? When will it come to the rest of the world? And what are the LTE-related specs for Xperia™ ion? In this article, we will introduce LTE and share some important facts about Xperia™ ion, and provide useful links where you can dig deeper into LTE. Find out the full story after the jump.

LTE is a new access technology
LTE stands for 3GPP Long Term Evolution, and it’s an improved wireless broadband communication technology that opens up new uses of mobile phones and other connected devices. To enjoy the benefits of an LTE network, you must not only have a phone supporting LTE, you also need a subscription with an operator running (and be in the range of) an LTE network. LTE is actually a new access technology, which means the network owner must upgrade the base stations through new hardware or software (or both) to be able to run an LTE network.

LTE is primarily used in the U.S., Scandinavia and Japan to this date, but over time the technology is expected to spread over large parts of the world. LTE is sometimes referred to as 4G, although it’s debated what release of LTE could be considered to be labelled “4G”.

Low latency and high throughput are the main benefits
One of the main benefits with LTE is the high speed data rate transfer, which enables you to download and upload large chunks of data to and from the Internet in a short time frame. This is especially true when it comes to data upload, which is improved by up to 5 times compared with previous technologies. LTE is also optimised for data IP services. A number of different use cases will be enhanced by these advantages. For example, real time video blogging and HD video streaming will be greatly improved.

LTE also brings really low latency, which means a very low delay in response time when accessing the Internet (it’s actually on par with fixed broadband). The latency in LTE can go down to 12-15 ms (50 ms to set up the first connection). This will, for example, enable instantaneous web browsing and great real time MMO gaming experiences. This is especially true with Xperia™ ion. If you combine all of the LTE benefits with Xperia™ ion’s massive 4.6 inch HD screen, the 1.5 GHz dual core processor, the Adreno 220 GPU and the PlayStation® Certification, you get a very powerful gaming device.

In Xperia™ ion, LTE is enabled by the Qualcomm Mobile Data Modem™ (MDM™) 9200 chipset, which is the industry’s first integrated multi-mode, single-chip 3G/LTE solution. The modem is capable of Cat 3 LTE (100 Mbps downlink and 50 Mbps), and in Xperia™ ion, it’s adapted for the AT&T network. If you’re on an HSPA+ network, you will be able to download up to 21 Mbps.

For illustrative purposes only. Not for commercial use or re-sale. Use of “Sony” brand subject to regulatory approval.

Xperia™ ion is perfect for global travelers
Another great thing with Xperia™ ion is the fact that it supports five radio bands. On LTE, it will support AT&T’s 700 MHz and 1700 MHz bands. On UMTS/HSPA, it supports 850 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2100 MHz. This combination of UMTS/HSPA bands makes the Xperia™ ion a perfect smartphone for the frequent traveler, as it basically allows the device to be used globally. In addition, Xperia™ ion also fully supports global GSM/EDGE coverage (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz).

Xperia™ ion has dual antennas to support both LTE and HSPA. For LTE, Xperia™ ion supports MIMO (multiple input and multiple output), which is mandatory for LTE devices to give a higher data rate. For UMTS/HSPA, Xperia™ ion supports received (downlink) diversity for a more robust data transfer.

The way call handling works in Xperia™ ion is through a technology called CS (Circuit Switched) fallback. This allows the phone to reuse legacy voice and SMS services by switching its radio from LTE access to UMTS/GSM access. For example, typically you will switch from LTE to UMTS/HSPA or GSM/EDGE (depending on what is available) if you receive a phone call. If HSPA access is available, the data link will however continue on HSPA, so that any apps and services uploading or downloading data will continue to work as normal during the phone call (which is not the case if you’re on a GSM/EDGE network where you can either have voice or data).


So what do you think, Developer World readers? Will LTE be a hit around the world? What would you like the most if you were having LTE access? Drop a comment below and tell us what you think.

Thanks to Peter C Karlsson, Linh Trang and Daniel Lönnblad at the Sony Ericsson Technology Research Department for contributing to this article.

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Comments 16

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  1. By dyl wigii




  2. By Determine Lyngdoh


    Will the Xperia work on non LTE network?

    • By Tobias Nilsson



      yes it will. Xperia ion supports UMTS HSPA+ 850 (Band V), 1900 (Band II), 2100 (Band I), GSM EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900, and LTE Band IV and Band XVII.

      Tobias from Developer World

  3. By matias cadiz


    Please android 2.2 (froyo) for xperia x8
    I’m tired of not being able to install a desent game in this.

  4. By Duncan Moncrieff


    I’m glad to see that the Xperia Ion will support LTE and EAP-SIM identification for wifi networks – the new mobile operator in France (Free Mobile) will be requiring EAP-SIM support for the seemless use of its network (LTE antennas and ~5 million EAP-SIM hotspots.

    BTW are the older Xperia handsets (e.g. 2011 models) EAP-SIM compatible or will be compatible – modified?up-graded ROM..? Or is it a hardware thing.

    I’d really like a reply because there is a lot of confusion about this in France.

    Thanks for any help!

    • By Tobias Nilsson


      Hi Duncan,

      glad to see you like the Xperia ion specs. EAP-SIM is not supported in the 2011 Xperia models, and there is currently no plan to support it at this moment since we need to focus on our new models at this time.

      Tobias from Developer World

        • By Tobias Nilsson


          Hi again Duncan,

          I’ve now investigated this matter and apparently the information in the Connectivity white paper is incorrect. EAP-SIM is not supported in the 2011 Xperia models. We will make sure the Connectivity white paper is updated shortly. Thanks for noticing!

          Tobias from Developer World

        • By Tobias Nilsson


          Hi again,

          this is interesting, wasn’t aware of this. I will investigate and get back to you shortly.


  5. By Avi Mishra


    yup i 2 live in india Xperia ion will be launched in Asia Q2 this year as well. bcoz of LTE in ion liked it more than d xperia S ..launch it sooonn………. in india

  6. By Weerasak Kosittanakorn


    If Xperia ion can be used globally as above said so, we are expecting it to be lauched globally as well. I am in THAILAND and love this device rather than the Xperia S … (due to jumping from Xperia arc S, need much bigger screen, therefore 4.6″ screen is fit my need rather than Xperia S which has only 4.3″ screen when jumping up from 4.2″ screen)
    Hoping Xperia ion will be launched in Asia and Thailand Q2 this year as well.

    • By lai vinc-yuee


      “the Xperia™ ion a perfect smartphone for the frequent traveler, as it basically allows the device to be used globally.”

      since it support globally then why just release exclusively for the US? 🙁 thats not fair… I believe people are more interested in ION than S due to its bigger screen and expandable memory card slot. 🙁

      please release it in the Asia and globally, Sony. make us believe Sony did it once again!

  7. By YeaGun Seo


    wowowow… September 17 ??

    since its the thursday of September 17 it is more likely in the year of 2009 or on 2015
    which one is it ? 😀 hehehe

  8. By Kjetil B. Thomassen


    I live in Norway (Scandinavia), and some mobile operators are already offering LTE in some regions, whereas others will start offering this in the first quarter of this year.

    The Norwegian population seems to be hungry for more and more speed on their mobile units, so yes, I definitely think that LTE will be a big hit i Norway.

    I think that if you were to supply the Ion to the Norwegian market, that would be a huge hit. Just look how well the Samsung Galaxy S II has done it. A lot of the reason for that, I think, is the large screen.

    Kjetil B.

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