4G LTE Equipment In Apple Store, Ready For iPhone 5?

Apple's upcoming iPhone may it seems get 4G LTE after all. The emergence of a photo of some LTE equipment allegedly being fitted in a US Apple store, has heightened speculation that the much-awaited smartphone will have 4G technology built in.

The photo, sent to Engadget was accompanied by a note from the source, claiming that the fitted equipment supports LTE in the 700 MHz and 3G bands (aka Advanced Wireless Service) and that is being deployed by carrier AT&T. The wireless carrier is planning to roll out its LTE service when they finally acquire T-Mobile.

However, AT&T isn't dependent on T-Mobile to deploy the LTE service. Even if the acquisition deal fails, AT&T still apparently gets a portion of T-Mobiles AWS spectrum anyway. Apple stores are the ideal place for AT&T to start deploying such base stations, especially if the rumored next gen iPhone will indeed be an LTE device.

The US seems to be getting closer to establishing a broad LTE network. The technology is already running in some European countries, such as Germany, where LTE networks are being utilised by laptop owners with dongles. The UK is unlikely to see an LTE rollout until 2013 at the earliest.

If the iPhone 5 does feature LTE, Apple's smartphone with its potentially high data consumption rate could be the first smartphone to really take advantage of the capacity LTE can offer.