The Lumia 900 was announced as an U.S exclusive, something that Nokia had never done before with a high-end smartphone. It’s always been the U.S that had to wait longer for a device, and sometimes not even getting full support for the frequencies that carriers use over here. This time the situation has reversed. Will the Lumia 900 work in Europe? Assuming that the Lumia 900 somehow becomes available through some third-party importer, the Lumia 900 as announced in CES will have very limited functionality in Europe. Here’s why:
One of the most impressive features from the Lumia 900 is it’s LTE technology. LTE is the fourth generation mobile broadband standard, reaching speeds up to 50Mpbs on the Lumia 900. LTE, however, is out of the question in Europe. Most carriers in Europe still don’t support LTE, and even if they did, the frequency would be different.
The next standard the Lumia 900 supports is HSPA+. This technology works over the WCDMA frequency bands. The Lumia 900 supports 1900/850 MHz, and 900MHz. The 1900/850 frequencies are not supported in Europe. This frequencies are used by AT&T in the U.S, most carriers in South American countries, Canada, and some Caribbean islands. What about the 900MHz band? This band is supported by some European countries, but it varies by carrier and region. So only one out of the three 3G bands in the Lumia 900 works in Europe. This is very similar to the situation we have had here in the U.S for years: Nokia would usually announce a device with three 3G bands, out of which only one would work in the U.S. I have used these devices here, such as the Lumia 800, and I get spotty 3G in some areas.
The next standard that the Lumia 900 uses is GSM. Here the situation looks a lot better, but GSM is not something worth getting happy about. The Lumia 900 has all GSM bands, meaning that European users won’t have problems making calls and receiving text messages, but trying to do anything more than that will leave you running on EDGE. EDGE is a slow standard, you generally won’t be able to load a full site under a minute, and much less watch a YouTube video.
I wouldn’t get discouraged though, I am sure Nokia has plans for an European Lumia 900. I would pay close attention to the Mobile World Congress for an announcement.