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Last week, Google formally introduced the Nexus 5 by LG to the world, along with Android 4.4 KitKat. The Nexus 5 is a major refresh to the Nexus smartphone line, and once again offers great network capabilities for networks across the world.

As far as non-cellular network capabilities go, the Nexus 5 has support for Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. The cellular network capabilities are interesting in a somewhat perplexing manner.
Nexus 5 band chart

As with the LTE-enabled Nexus 7 before it, the Nexus 5 is split into two global models. Both models support a common subset of networks.
Quad-band GSM and the traditional five global UMTS bands are supported, giving broad access to networks in all regions of the world. Beyond that, though, the two models diverge.
Take a look at the chart below for the full details (Note: "Bx" is "band x," referring to 3GPP/UMTS/LTE bands. "BCx" is "band class x," referring to 3GPP2/CDMA band classes).
LG D820 LG D821
Quad-band GSM X X
UMTS B1 (2100) X X
UMTS B2 (1900) X X
UMTS B5 (850) X X
UMTS B6 (850) X X
UMTS B8 (900) X X
UMTS B19 (850) X
LTE B1 (2100) X X
LTE B2 (1900) X
LTE B3 (1800) X
LTE B5 (850) X X
LTE B7 (2600) X
LTE B8 (900) X
LTE B17 (700) X
LTE B19 (850) X
LTE B20 (800) X
LTE B25 (1900) X
LTE B26 (850) X
LTE B41 (2600) X
CDMA BC10 (800) X
CDMA BC0 (850) X
CDMA BC1 (1900) X
The LG-D820 is the Nexus 5 model intended for North America (US and Canada). It is also the first Nexus device to support GSM, UMTS, and CDMA on the same device. In order to make the same device for both T-Mobile and Sprint, the Nexus 5 incorporates requirements from both operators.
Thus, the Nexus 5 supports T-Mobileís UMTS and LTE networks on AWS and PCS, as well as AT&Tís band 17 LTE network for future roaming purposes. It also has support for Sprintís PCS (1900) CDMA 1X and Ev-DO networks, and Sprintís upcoming ESMR (800) CDMA 1X network and LTE band 41 TDD network.
Technically, it supports Verizon Wirelessí CDMA 850/1900 network, but Verizon will not permit the device to operate on its network. And of course, it lacks support for Verizon Wirelessí band 13 LTE network (though it will support Verizonís upcoming AWS LTE network). It can technically operate on US Cellularís network through its support for CDMA 850/1900 and LTE band 5, and C Spireís network through CDMA 850/1900 with LTE band 25, but neither operator will permit the device to connect to their networks.

Interestingly enough, the LG-D820 has support for Japanese networks, too. Like Sprint, au by KDDI in Japan uses LTE bands 26 and 41. SoftBank uses UMTS 900(B8)/2100(B1) and LTE bands 1, 3 (through E-Mobile), and 41. NTT DoCoMo uses UMTS 850(B6)/2100(B1) and LTE bands 1, 3, 19. Currently, the LG-D820 would be a better fit in Japan, but that will change as band 3 LTE supplants and fully covers Japan with larger bandwidth networks. The LG-D821 (the international model) trades away one UMTS band, CDMA support, and US LTE bands for Eurasian LTE bands. LTE bands 3, 7, and 20 provide complete support for most LTE networks deployed throughout Europe. LTE band 8 is an addition that will be useful with some operators recently choosing to deploy LTE on the band (such as Vodafone Netherlands). Bands 1, 3, and 5 are used throughout Asia (including South Korea and Japan) for LTE networks, with the vast majority of high-speed LTE networks on band 3.
It is slightly surprising that band 18 and band 38 arenít supported on the LG-D820, since they are subsets of band 26 and band 41, respectively. For that matter, it is surprising that band 7 isnít part of the North American model because Rogers in Canada uses both bands 4 and 7. The hardware definitely supports bands 18 and 38, but the radio firmware is not configured to enable those bands. It is also strange that LTE is not supported on bands 2 and 4 with the LG-D821, because the hardware is likely to already be in place to support it. Most RF component chips for UMTS and LTE are typically multi-mode chips that support both through one set of components.

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As for band 7, support for it built into the hardware depends on what filter chip is used for the 2.6GHz band. If the chip has a switching mechanism to switch between TDD and FDD modes, then it would be possible to enable band 7 on the device. This would also be possible with the LG-D821 to enable band 38/41 support, since it supports band 7 already. Conclusions

The LTE band split is rather clearly defined between the Americas and the rest of the world. However, the broad GSM/UMTS support makes the device suitable for global travel. Most importantly, the Nexus 5 brings the Nexus phone line one step closer to the universality of an iPhone without substantially increasing the price of the phone itself. This means that it is becoming more cost-effective to produce phones that support more bands for global network support. It is not too surprising that LTE-Advanced features (such as carrier aggregation) are not supported, since very few operators are deploying them at the moment.

For more on the new Nexus, see our article detailing five of the best new features of Google's Nexus 5, and our piece on the Nexus 5's cheap pricing, and why it's a key element of Google's Android strategy