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AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?

Sarah Thomas
5/25/2011

12:55 PM -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is only bringing Long Term Evolution (LTE) to five markets this summer and 15 cities by year's end, suggesting Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) may not be delivering an LTE iPhone anytime soon. (See AT&T Starts Small With LTE .)

The only way to make an LTE iPhone viable for AT&T this summer would be if AT&T users could roam on to Verizon Wireless 's 4G network, and Verizon isn't yet saying anything one way or the other about a roaming agreement. My guess is there isn't one between the rivals. (See AT&T's LTE Plans Provide Clue to iPhone 5 Launch and New Networks Hint at an iPhone 5 Timeline.)

Verizon would welcome the LTE iPhone on its network, however, as its first 4G smartphone has proved to be a hot item. Apple would have to build an LTE/3G CDMA dual-mode version of the device for Verizon, but would risk alienating its one-time exclusive partner if it didn't have an LTE/3G GSM version ready at the same time. (See Verizon Charges Up 2nd LTE Smartphone.)

We know there are other issues possibly at play (or not) in holding up the LTE iPhone, but coverage is a big one. Until AT&T's LTE network is more nationwide, which isn't going to happen in 2011, I wouldn't hold out for the LTE iPhone on any U.S. carrier this year.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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sarahthomas1011
sarahthomas1011
12/5/2012 | 5:04:21 PM
re: AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?


I think most people agree now that there won't be an LTE iPhone this summer, but anybody still holding out for it in September? I'm thinking early 2012.

wap545
wap545
12/5/2012 | 5:04:19 PM
re: AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?


Doesn't MetroPCS have a new LTE phone based on their AWS spectrum??

sarahthomas1011
sarahthomas1011
12/5/2012 | 5:04:18 PM
re: AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?


Yeah, MetroPCS offers the Samsung Galaxy Indulge on 4G with 2G fall back. I'm not saying no one's going to do LTE phones yet, but the stakes are different for Apple and the iPhone.


sarahthomas1011
sarahthomas1011
12/5/2012 | 5:04:18 PM
re: AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?


Yeah, MetroPCS offers the Samsung Galaxy Indulge on 4G with 2G fall back. I'm not saying no one's going to do LTE phones yet, but the stakes are different for Apple and the iPhone.

NetworkOptimizer
NetworkOptimizer
12/5/2012 | 5:04:15 PM
re: AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?
As both providers will be still using their 2G/3G for voice, and therefore cannot roam between the networks.

Even they want to use LTE only for data, there are 2 problems (that I could see) for AT&T:
1. The user authentication and authorization will not be same (or atleast will get real tricky) if they use different authentication for LTE and 3G.
2. AT&T always pitches that you can have data and voice together. Unless they have 2 transceivers working at the same time, this wont be possible. If they have, then that equipment will be more expensive.
sarahthomas1011
sarahthomas1011
12/5/2012 | 5:04:14 PM
re: AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?


They'll have dongles for the network, and AT&T has said that they'll also have devices ready at launch. I'm just not expecting the iPhone to be one of them.

jetpen
jetpen
12/5/2012 | 5:04:14 PM
re: AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?


So "bringing LTE to market" in this sense means what exactly, since no one in the markets where LTE is being brought will be capable of using the service?


This is rather confusing.


 

sarahthomas1011
sarahthomas1011
12/5/2012 | 5:04:13 PM
re: AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?


Those factors would suggest a summer launch, but not necessarily for an LTE iPhone. I still think we won't see anything until the Fall though.


And you're right that Apple doesn't care much about carrier needs or network tech - it launched an EDGE iPhone first after all.

DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 5:04:13 PM
re: AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?


I think Apple is more worried about market timing and making consumers upgrade and less concerned with creating an ideal world for carriers or fussing over which carrier has the most LTE markets are running.


When will the largest percentage of iPhone contracts expire? What date? What carrier? That, I think, tells us what Apple will do and when.

alandal
alandal
12/5/2012 | 5:04:05 PM
re: AT&T LTE Plans Too Small for LTE iPhone?


remember Apple is never interested in leading new air interface introduction.


they may have very good reasons for that too.

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