The Hilarity of LTE iPhone Rumors
Let's think about it for just a second, shall we? What LTE networks could the iPhone run on in the second quarter? So far, Telia Company has launched LTE in the capitals of Norway and Sweden. These networks cover 150,000 people in Oslo and about 300,000 people in Stockholm. (See TeliaSonera First to Go Live With LTE.)
So far, that's it.
Verizon Wireless says it will have 25 to 30 markets up by the end of the year. It hasn't yet said when in 2010 initial markets will launch. NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) is expected to have some markets up in the second half of the year -- again no color on exactly when. (See DoCoMo Shells Out on LTE and When Will Verizon Launch LTE in 2010?)
Vendors like Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Spirent Communications plc are already suggesting that these timelines are ambitious and probably unlikely. (See Predictions & Probabilities for 2010.)
In fact, I met Eran Eshed, co-founder and VP of marketing and business development at Altair Semiconductor , at CES recently. He is sticking to his prediction that 2010 will be a year of "testing and trials" for LTE. (See 'Millions' of LTE Handsets by 2012?)
Eshed says he is currently seeing three chip companies represented in early trails for LTE: Altair, Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), and ST-Ericsson . Qualcomm started sampling LTE chipsets late last year. It typically takes around 18 months to design a handset around a new chipset.
Consider that many of the devices that Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) were showing off at Verizon's LTE demos in Las Vegas were actually using WiFi or a wired connection for uploads and downloads. (See AlcaLu Will Do LTE in Vegas.) As far as I can tell, it might make sense for Apple to be testing an LTE device now. But it doesn't make sense to launch an LTE iPhone before the networks are up and running and the technology is good and ready.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung