New Samsung Flip Phone Hits FCC, Lacks Most US LTE Bands

A new Samsung device, tagged with the model number SM-G1650, has made it through the FCC. This device has the same model number as the recent flip phone offering of the South Korean tech giant that was certified by the Chinese telecommunications regulator TENAA. Based on the test report submitted by the manufacturer to the FCC, the device could connect to 2G GSM, 3G WCDMA, and LTE networks. However, LTE connectivity is only limited to the bands 5, 7, and 41. Despite the limited set of supported bands, the handset is compatible with both LTE-FDD and TD-LTE protocols. The Samsung SM-G1650 also features Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth. For Wi-Fi connectivity, the device only supports 802.11b specification, which limits the maximum data rate transmitted by the device at 11Mbps. Meanwhile, Bluetooth Low Power allows the device to transmit data to other handsets or connect to wireless peripherals.

While the device has LTE connectivity, it does not support most of the bands currently used by the wireless carriers in the United States. LTE Band 5 is only used by regional carrier US Cellular while the LTE Band 41 is used by Sprint. While Band 41 is already deployed in numerous markets, there are still some areas that are not covered by this spectrum. In addition, high frequencies, like the band 41, does not penetrate buildings well, resulting in reduced signal strength. The lack of bands prevents consumers from using Samsung's flip phones on Verizon's network at all, while AT&T customers can only connect the device to its 3G network. At least, T-Mobile subscribers can connect the Samsung SM-G1650 to both its 2G and 3G networks despite the handset's lack of supported LTE bands.

Aside from the device's connectivity features, not much is known about the flip phone's hardware and software. The TENAA listing also does not provide additional information about the handset's specifications. However, a previous device certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance has claimed that this handset runs Android "6.1". While it is clearly an error, it is likely that Samsung's flip phone will run either Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow or Android 7.0 Nougat. Since the device has been certified by the FCC, it is possible that the Samsung SM-G1650 will see a release in the US at some point in the future.

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Mark Real

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Mark Real has written for Androidheadlines since 2017 and is a Staff Writer for the site. Mark has a background in sciences and education. He is passionate about advancements on hardware and software technologies and its impact on people’s lives. Contact him at [email protected]