Time for Microsoft to disable Band 17 from all Lumias made in 2015 or later
REDMOND, Wash. — When Samsung officially released its Galaxy S7 edge on Friday, it marked a watershed moment.
It marked the end of Band 17 LTE.
We all knew that the day that Band 17 would end, and this is especially true since the FCC forced American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T Mobility) to use the superset (and somewhat speedier) Band 12 and the IPhone 6s Plus came to its original carrier with Band 12 onboard.
If only we can get Microsoft to come to its senses and release a firmware update to the Lumia 640, Lumia 640 XL, Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL, Lumia 550 and Lumia 650 to disable Band 17 LTE on these devices.
NOTE: All Lumias released before January 1, 2015 would be allowed to keep Band 17 LTE, as Band 12 wasn’t used widely prior to that point.
Let’s be honest here: there was absolutely no need for Band 17 in the first place. Not when Band 12 comprised of the same Lower B and C blocks that Band 17 has. The only difference between Band 17 and Band 12 is the A block – it’s there on the latter and absent on the former. AT&T uses Band 12’s B and C blocks for their network, while T-Mobile and US Cellular use all three.
That’s why the FCC was correct in forcing the Big Orange carrier to use the 700 MHz superset on September 10, 2013. It allows for all devices, especially Windows phones, to interoperate on the Band.
And it is for this reason as to why Microsoft needs to leave Band 17 out of the Lumia 650 when it’s released on April 1, as well as any Surface Phone that they may help OEMs with. It does not make any logical sense to include a redundant subset 700 MHz band on any phone nowadays, even if it is being used for legacy purposes. Hewlett-Packard, Alcatel and Acer would likewise also be wise to leave Band 17 out of their Windows 10 phones – the Elite X3, the Idol Pro 4 and the Liquid Jade Primo, respectively.
Unless you have the Lumia x20 and x30 series, and I can imagine only 3 million of the nearly 10 million Windows phone users do, then Band 17 is redundant, and is not necessary for the x40 or x50 series. Now that the newer Android phones have done away with Band 17, it’s time for Microsoft and their Windows Phone OEMs to release firmware replacing Band 17 with Band 12 on all phones in the US, especially those on AT&T.