Verizon Finally Gets the iPhone 4
Aside from using 3G CDMA technology rather than a 3G GSM radio, the device is almost exactly the same as the current iPhone 4 being offered by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). One key difference is that, as result of the CDMA technology that underpins the phone, Verizon can't currently support simultaneous voice calls and data downloads like it's AT&T counterpart. So, no looking up maps and directions during a phone conversation.
After the announcement, Verizon had its version of the iconic phone on show in the Lincoln Center in NYC Tuesday:
The history It turns out that Verizon has been talking to Apple since 2008 about developing a 3G CDMA iPhone. The operator's move to offer the WiFi iPad with a 3G MiFi device last year helped the operator to get familiar with Apple's sales and support procedures. (See Verizon Gets iPad With a WiFi Twist.) "This goes to prove the old adage, if you write about something long enough and hard enough it will happen," quipped Verizon President and COO Lowell McAdam at the beginning of the press conference.
The network Verizon insists that it won't suffer the same call-dropping and capacity problems that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has faced as millions of iPhones poured onto its GSM-based network in the last few years. (See AT&T Drunk on iPhone Success and AT&T to Spend $2B More on Wireless in 2010.) "We're ready for this launch," boasted new Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead. He says that the operator has spent time monitoring its network and building out capacity over the past couple of years. In particular, he notes, the operator has been adding more fiber links to its cell sites to improve mobile backhaul capacity, which appears to be one of the bottlenecks that AT&T has experienced with increased data traffic on its network from the iPhone.
Beefing up network capacity could be a good thing for Verizon if sales predictions are anything close to accurate. "I expect Verizon to sell 10 million iPhone 4s in 2011," says Berge Ayvazian, senior consultant at Heavy Reading.
IHS iSuppli is predicting that Apple will ship 12.1 million CDMA iPhones through Verizon and other global CDMA wireless carriers in 2011. "This will increase global iPhone shipments to 61.2 million units for the year," the analyst firm says in a note.
The wait for LTE One thing Apple didn't have at the launch was a time frame for its first LTE phone. Apple COO Tim Cook said that the current generation of chipsets supporting the 4G technology placed "design constraints" on Apple that it wasn't ready to live with, while not detailing what those may be. Apple customers, meanwhile, he added, had been asking for a 3G phone on Verizon.
"LTE is a power hog, and will significantly reduce battery life," notes Heavy Reading's Ayvazian. He adds that integrated LTE and CDMA chipsets will be "large and expensive," which could definitely be two factors likely to discourage design-conscious Apple from taking on LTE right away. (See The LTE iPhone.) Just the facts, ma'am The iPhone will be offered to existing Verizon customers from Feb. 3 and become generally available on Feb. 10. The gadget has a suggested retail price of $199.99 for the 16GB model and $299.99 for the 32GB model with a new two-year customer agreement.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile