Although there is some overlap between regions and between countries or area within each region, the LTE market is fragmented and that creates major problems for standardizing devices for a global market. Virtually all countries regulate which portions of the radio spectrum may be used for specific purposes and large portions of spectrum that could be aggregated for LTE globally are already in use for other devices or services.
The situation may force Apple to develop region-specific iPads and iPhones – something the company has largely avoided in pursuit of making a single device that can be used anywhere and deliver the same experience regardless of region. That won’t address data roaming, however. Truly solving the situation will take political will and industry agreement – and it’s something Apple won’t be able to do single-handedly.
As carriers begin to adopt speedy LTE networks, fragmentation will become increasingly problematic for Apple. Since several carriers worldwide operate their LTE networks on different frequency bands, or soon will, Apple would be forced to release devices for specific regions only. That’s something Apple has thus far managed to avoid.