Does a CDMA iPhone Make Sense?

1:45 PM -- There is one important question that nobody seems to be asking about the ever-increasing rumors of the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone coming to Verizon Wireless in 2011: Is there is enough value in producing a CDMA-only device for the North American market?

It is easy to get wrapped up in a very US-centric view of Apple's iPhone and talk about a simple rivalry between AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon. In the beginning, however, building a GSM phone and signing up with the biggest carrier using that technology in the US must have made perfect sense to Apple -- simply because it got to produce one technology platform that it could sell around the world, rather than being largely limited to the domestic market.

Now it's clear that there is enough pent-up demand from Verizon users for the iPhone. Still, does it make sense for Apple to produce a CDMA-only phone in 2011 or hang on until LTE is widely available? Bear in mind, that Verizon says that it will have a complete nationwide footprint built out in 2013, although it is rumored in BGR that the operator will be 75 percent complete by April 2012.

I would think that Apple will want maximum coverage -- at least in the major cities -- before going to LTE. And remember that if it wants to introduce an LTE phone for Verizon it will need CDMA technology in there to handle voice calls anyway, likely for years to come.

This is why I think it makes much more sense for Apple to develop the data-centric iPad for LTE first. If it puts out a 700Mhz version, that could run over either Verizon's or AT&T's upcoming network. Of course, like all other device makers, Apple will face the problem of how to support all the different radio frequencies that LTE could run over globally, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, won't we?

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:27:36 PM
re: Does a CDMA iPhone Make Sense?

An LTE iPad -- I like the sound of that. But it's not something I'm likely to see in the UK for a long time to come, since the operators don't even have spectrum yet. 

Though if Apple just added support for LTE at 2.6GHz, then it would work with a lot of European operators, like TeliaSonera in Sweden and Norway. 

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:27:35 PM
re: Does a CDMA iPhone Make Sense?

The Boy Genius Report blog got its hands on VZW's apparent 2010/11 roadmap and the CDMA iPhone was nowhere on it. Of course, it didn't mention the ipad either. Apple could be the best secret keeper, or all these rumors might just be a load of cr*p.

Maybe we'll find out at CES after Seidenberg's keynote address.

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