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From this article,

The 5s and the 5c are compatible with more 4G LTE frequency bands — up to 13, instead of a maximum five before. That means the phone is more likely to work with higher speeds wherever you go. However, there are more than 40 cellular bands worldwide, the bulk for LTE, so a version bought in one country might not work for high speeds everywhere around the world.

Say one were to buy an iPhone 5s in the United States and take it to Europe (specifically, Belgium). Would there be any performance impact, given the purported differences in cellular bands?

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There are actually 4 different international variations for the iPhone 5s/5c. Thankfully, Apple has a page outlining them with their model numbers, supported frequencies and countries/carriers you can use them with.

A quick look over that breakdown seems to suggest that Belgium (at least, Mobistar) uses LTE bands 1, 3 or 5, which the US AT&T model also supports. However, I would recommend you contact your carrier to ensure what frequencies are needed to function best on your network.

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I'm not quite sure if assessing any performance impact based on region is actually technically possible without the complete analytical participation of the cellular service provider and any or all contractual third party suppliers.

Hoping that this might be at least some level of help though I have found an article detailing the chips in play which may be of interest to you and where their specifications might be food for further research; specifically: -

The chips that deliver the RF capabilities of a phone tend to be over shadowed by more consumer-friendly specifications like the number of GB of storage, or the clock speed of a processor. However, they are critical to the user experience of the device. Because of the nature of radio frequencies, they also require a complex number of different components to work together in harmony – or more accurately, without interfering with one another. Our friends at Barclays have done a thorough job at identifying the RF design wins inside the iPhone 5s:

  • RF Micro RF3763 Power Amplifier-Duplexer (PAD) for B5 / 8 Dual PAD
  • Skyworks SKY77572 Band 18/19/20 Power Amplifier Device
  • Skyworks SKY77810 2G/EDGE Power Amplifier Module
  • Avago A792503 Band 25/3 Power Amplifier Device
  • Skyworks SKY77496 Band 13/17 Power Amplifier Device
  • TriQuint TQF6414 Band 1/4 Dual Power Amplifier Device

I actually tried to find some detailed technical specifications per component above; although not exact matches there are some interesting close fits listed here, if your interested. Quite a good component resource by all accounts. http://www.alldatasheet.com

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    Could you maybe link that article? – ian5v Sep 30 '13 at 1:07
  • Can you please check the formatting on the second paragraph you quoted? Seems to be some kind of list but without the original article it's hard to fix the formatting. – nohillside Sep 30 '13 at 3:47
  • Absolutely. All done @patrix. – spaceshipdev Sep 30 '13 at 20:42

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