Optical/IP Networks

An LTE iPhone? Think 2012 (or Later)

If you didn't realize it yet, it seems highly unlikely that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) -- or any other vendor -- will deliver a fully featured smartphone using proto-4G Long Term Evolution technology before 2012.

New research from Information Gatekeepers Inc. (IGI) today reinforces what Unstrung has already been hearing from different chip firms and other analysts like The Linley Group and Heavy Reading: Mass-market handsets, capable of supporting VOIP calls, will probably start to ship in volume in 2012. (See 'Millions' of LTE Handsets by 2012?, MetroPCS Gets to Work on LTE Phones, and LTE Phones Will Lag Behind Networks .)

Information Gatekeepers breaks it down like this:

  • Data-only devices will support LTE networks in 2010, the earliest gizmos being data cards and USB devices.
  • Mobile Internet devices, notebooks with embedded LTE and -- possibly -- data-only handsets will follow in 2011.
  • Voice-centric LTE handsets are expected by 2012.
Note the word "expected" in that last bullet point. "Uncertainty remains over voice-centric LTE handsets," the Gatekeepers say in their notes about the research.

As Eran Eshed, co-founder and vice president of marketing and business development at Altair Semiconductor , told us this week, phone makers are still working out the kinks on issues like handovers between base stations on LTE devices. He is predicting that silicon from his startup will appear in production LTE handsets for network testing in the second half of 2010.

Unsurprisingly, Information Gatekeeper is expecting LTE devices to be "more costly devices compared to previous 3G technologies in the short to medium term." Price reductions should start to happen as the chips underpinning the devices get more integrated.

Operators and vendors may also look at getting a variety of consumer electronics gadgets unwired on LTE networks so as to add to their data revenues while they wait for mass-market handsets to kick in.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

data_sub 12/5/2012 | 3:55:05 PM
re: An LTE iPhone? Think 2012 (or Later)

Given coverage footprint, battery life, cost and limited benefit 2012 is unlikely for an LTE iPhone.  

omniobso 12/5/2012 | 3:55:05 PM
re: An LTE iPhone? Think 2012 (or Later)

Finally, rational observation on LTE; it's simply an OFDMA (Wimax) downstream with a hybrid IPR laden upstream.  As has been stated, inumerable times, it WILL BE more expensive.  The 2012 timeline is believable.  But they're still going to need an entire new backhaul system and MORE SPECTRUM.

Going through the FCC noticiing, ad nauseum; they'll be lucky to get started by 2012!


joset01 12/5/2012 | 3:55:04 PM
re: An LTE iPhone? Think 2012 (or Later)

Yep that why I said "or later" in the headline, these are very early guide-lines that you can get from talking to semicon vendors. There's definitely more detail to be shaded in on these timelines in the coming months and years.



lrmobile_jepovic 12/5/2012 | 3:55:03 PM
re: An LTE iPhone? Think 2012 (or Later)

So what? The key terminals are the laptops, which will consume the bulk of the traffic. Second most important are datacentric handsets, which can/will use 2G/3G networks for voice anyhow. A pure LTE voice-centric handsets seems rather silly for most operators.

lrmobile_trzwuip 12/5/2012 | 3:55:03 PM
re: An LTE iPhone? Think 2012 (or Later)

LTE coming to Tmobile next year 2010, cant wait.

RussLarson 12/5/2012 | 3:54:54 PM
re: An LTE iPhone? Think 2012 (or Later)

I agree with the article and posts (2012 or later is likely timeframe for a voice centric LTE phone). 

But Apple & Verizon simply cannot wait for an LTE iPhone.  The conventional wisdom says it isn't worthwhile for Apply to develop/release an iPhone on the CDMA network.  

I think that's not true… I think there is money to be made between 2010 through 2013, and it would have positive strategic implications for Verizon and Apple.  

iPhone Verizon 3G in 2010?  Not a prediction, just saying we shouldn't be surprised.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 3:54:53 PM
re: An LTE iPhone? Think 2012 (or Later)

Or maybe not an iPhone per se but some other kind of Apple device on the network? 


And how does the Android deal affect all this?



jzweig1 12/5/2012 | 3:54:53 PM
re: An LTE iPhone? Think 2012 (or Later)

This is so deja vu...2012 is optimistic at best. Have been saying 2012-2014 for past two years...2012  A vendor's dream.  An operator's dream.  A consumer's nightmare.  We saw all of this back when analog went to digital, when 2G went to 3G and now we are seeing the same thing.  Wonder when the industry will ever learn from its past mistakes...Operators are setting up expectations which are destined to fail...Return on Investment???  many many years.

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