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Summary:

USA Today reports that Apple and Verizon Communications entered into high-level talks that would allow iPhone to come to Verizon’s network. USA Today speculates that this could means a CDMA-based iPhone. I don’t buy it. Around the world, the CDMA ecosystem is slowly but surely contracting. […]

gigaom-icon-lteUSA Today reports that Apple and Verizon Communications entered into high-level talks that would allow iPhone to come to Verizon’s network. USA Today speculates that this could means a CDMA-based iPhone. I don’t buy it. Around the world, the CDMA ecosystem is slowly but surely contracting. To spend development dollars on a protocol with the limited future wouldn’t make sense. Instead, I think if there is indeed an agreement with Verizon, it will be for devices for the Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G Wireless networks.

Verizon has plans to launch its LTE network in a handful of cities by the end of 2009. By 2010, Verizon hopes to have 25-30 cities LTE-ready. Apple is smart enough to realize that, just like PCs needed processing power gains, data-centric wireless devices need wireless bandwidth gains to increase their utility. Trials show that LTE networks can run at speeds of between 50 Mbps to 60 Mbps. More importantly, LTE is a global standard, allowing Apple to sell the same 4G version of its device across the planet. LTE is expected to sweep the planet by 2012.

AT&T’s plans for a 4G rollout are currently behind Verizon’s plans. The company, which currently has an exclusive on the iPhone in the United States, plans to stick with HSPA up until 2011 then transition to LTE. But any chance of Apple giving up on the iPhone partnership — even a hint of a deal with Verizon — is going to spur AT&T into accelerating its LTE rollout plans. The company is increasingly reliant on Apple’s iPhone to show growth in sales and profits. The company is losing nearly 10 percent of its wireline customers a year and is increasingly looking at wireless as its future.

  1. agreed….iPhone on LTE devices should be on the roadmap for Apple so VZW getting it in a year makes sense. Apple putting it on both providers network is win win for Apple

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    1. We all know that AT&T service is now on a plummet but we also need to settle the facts first and see the side of AT&.

      Updates: ATT had recently released a statement why they are suing Verizon. May the “there’s a misinterpretaion for that that” image help you to understand better why AT&T is having a boiling-point over the matter.

      detailed sources: http://bit.ly/ATT-VS-VERIZON-Theres-a-misinterpretation-for-that

      Hint: The conflict is about not including AT&T’s Zedge 2.5G on the picture :D

      Flame-on!

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  2. Actually Om, LTE for both Verizon and AT&T would be only the data part of their service (like HSPA is currently for AT&T right now and EV-DO is for Verizon). The voice networks (GSM for AT&T and CDMA for Verizon) would continue to remain the same even after the launch of LTE in 2010/2012.

    So this means that a Verizon iPhone would indeed be a CDMA device (even if with LTE); the first for Apple.

    And I know you’re thinking VoIP over LTE, but no, that isn’t going to come for at least another 4-5 years.

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    1. Raj

      You are right… about CDMA. I checked with the Verizon folks. They say:

      “Voice is packet data on LTE (via IMS). Initially will remain over CDMA (1xRtt)”

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      1. Actually your all wrong… LTE is voice and data. Voice will run like VOIP (IMS). Hence, the ability for all networks to be on LTE and make calls. Why would this just be data? Your all wrong. CDMA will remain for Verizon but LTE will be more of a VOIP approach. If i am wrong, can someone please explain to me why voice would not be included? Why would all networks merge just data with LTE? Voice will roll out through LTE like RAJ says but when it launches i am sure LTE devices will be IMS 100% and previous devices will be cdma. I also think CDMA rev a will still be going on for a while. LTE means 100% new network for VOICE & DATA. LTE Devices should be running 100% on the service.

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      2. LTE is just a network standard for data. Eventually, consumers that have a SIM card for voice and data, will be able to insert that SIM into a VZW device and use that device on Vzw’s network. Won’t be GSM or CDMA. LTE will be the new standard. Watch out AT&T and Sprint. Verizon’s got backing from Vodafone and DT. You’re all wrong…:)

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    2. EV-DO doesn’t do voice, but HSPA does.

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  3. Krishna Baidya Sunday, April 26, 2009

    i totally agree that lots of feature/ applications/ services can be better enjoyed on faster data network of future and surely apple will be investing $$$ on that sort of development.

    Om, I guess you have already discounted the future parallel path to LTE for CDMA stream. I tend to agree with that as well.

    Raj: lots of CDMA players are making a switch and its not surprising the Verizon Wireless will adopt LTE.

    Verizon Wireless announced on September 20, 2007 that it plans a joint effort with the Vodafone Group to transition its networks to the 4G standard LTE. The time of this transition has yet to be announced.

    Telus and Bell Canada, the major Canadian cdmaOne and EV-DO carriers, have announced that they will be cooperating towards building a fourth generation (4G) LTE wireless broadband network in Canada. As a transitional measure, they are implementing 3G UMTS to go live by early 2010.

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  4. One thing this rumor does is kick ATT in the ass about upgrading their network quicker. That is really the only way they could possibly retain iPhone exclusivity, unless Verizon was to make undue demands, which, is still within the realm of possibility. I do not expect an iPhone for Verizon UNTIL there is LTE, and ATT should have LTE by then as well, although they appear to be lagging. ATT is certainly not hyping LTE like Verizon is.

    ATT is adopting the LTE standard as well, but you NEVER see them mentioned in the numerous press releases about LTE. The past few months of LTE press releases in the US probably came direction from the desk of Verizon PR; ATT simply is not mentioned.

    That being said, Verizon and ATT both have issues with network and customer service; your coverage footprint may vary. Verizon’s current standard penetrates the interior of buildings better, apparently that baby bell wasn’t as concerned on cannibalizing landline customers as much. But I see no CDMA iPhone before LTE, unless there is currently a chipset that has BOTH GSM and CDMA radios within.

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  5. does anybody else see the next internet boom that is about to happen? i have not been this excited since my cable company started offering internet service!

    – jason nadaf

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  6. Justas Anaside Monday, April 27, 2009

    Just a Heads Up that this is the same USA Today author who started the whole “AT&T has a 5 years iPhone Exclusive” rumor that EVERYONE reported as fact, only to quietly change that to “two years” when he wrote an article ==a year or two later== about the iPhone 3G.

    I don’t know about you but this USA Today author for SURE hasn’t gotten my trust back yet.

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  7. Going for a next generation mobile standard without supporting a legacy standard is like living on the top floor without a way (escalators or steps) down. The air is nice up there, but there is a big world outside the “top floor” where you cant live. I find this article laughable. I can understand the excitement for a new technology but your thoughts are pushing a bit too much. I am currently working on the LTE technology as a designer and LTE has a long way in become the standard that could replace GSM/CDMA. LTE has to co-exist with previous technologies just like 3G has with GSM no matter how big the jump in technology is.

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  8. Sachin Balagopalan Monday, April 27, 2009

    It’s about time iPhone users had a choice of networks … http://tinyurl.com/cfknw5

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  9. In summary:
    – Even when Verizon launches LTE, most of its network will still be running EVDO or CDMA 1X for data, and all of its network will still be running CDMA for voice. This won’t stop until at least 5-7 years from now and possibly longer
    – AT&T isn’t upgrading to LTE as fast because it has more room for speed improvements on its current 3G network technology – HSPA – than Verizon, and so can offer more widespread speed improvements than Verizon in the short term, even if the ultimate speed isn’t as high (it will go to LTE about 1-2 years after Verizon)
    – Therefore, unless Apple is willing to do essentially a huge new development effort for 1 or 2 carriers globally running CDMA that would be worthwhile partners for Apple, a Verizon iPhone doesn’t seem likely any time soon

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    1. Verizon is not running 1x for data, they are at Rev.A and Alltel is now up to Rev.A as well. (Verizon/Alltel)
      GSM is nice but it’s still based on TDMA.

      When Apple was looking for a carrier they approached Verizon first and Verizon said no.
      Look at the limitations Apple put on AT&T.
      If Verizon does get an iPhone it will be better because AT&T ‘bled’ the way and the bugs should be worked out now.

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  10. I’m on Verizon and I haven’t gotten an iPhone because it would be so expensive to switch carriers. Do you think if I close my eyes and wish real hard then this will happen?

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