4G to force even more regional phones in future

4G phones launched in the US that don't work in the UK are likely to become even more commonplace, Qualcomm warns, as phone manufacturers struggle to cope with the huge variety of frequencies they have to support.

"LTE was never harmonised like 3G was. The LTE approach is 'let's fit it into any spectrum we have'," Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services and senior vice-president of QCT, told Pocket-lint in a one-to-one briefing.  

"We've been trying to get our modems to cover as many bands as possible, but you still can't, in an affordable way, build a device that handles every LTE band," he said.

That means we'll see more and more regionally limited devices in the future, at least until governments look at working out a possible solution.

"We will continue to see for a while regionally oriented devices - devices set up for Europe, America or different configurations. We are hoping, over time, governments will re-allocate spectrum to make that situation more sane. It's not ideal, and a situation that has risen from a lack of co-ordination and not any particular design fault."

Until then, expect to have variations of phones for different regions, and phones that may be able to work with 4G networks in the UK, but don't work in the US and vice versa.