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Discussion Starter #1
Contract manufacturer Pegatron (Taiwan) will be producing a CDMA variant of Apple's iPhone from September 2010, with likely launch early 2011.

AT&T loses US exclusivity, but I guess Apple decided it couldn't ignore the combinded ~70% market share of CDMA operators Verizon, Sprint and their affiliates.

Expect Google to follow, if it doesn't already have plans in the works.
 

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I would take this with a grain of salt for several reasons:

- The Verizon iPhone rumor has popped up quite a few times with nothing to show for it.

- a CDMA iPhone would have a slower network connection, and would not be able to talk and use data at the same time. It would seem like a downgrade from the existing iPhone.

- It doesn't match Apple's traditional release schedule. It reminds me of the rumors of a camera-equipped iPod Touch that was going to be released early this year.

- With CDMA carriers in the US rolling out LTE around this timeframe (or sooner) would it make sense to realease a CDMA version? I'm doubtful.

Of course it is all speculation at this point. What I can say though is don't expect a CDMA version here in Canada. That would cause a lot of confusion with Bell and Telus already carrying the current HSPA one.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Does Apple EVER say anything ;)

I wouldn't doubt the WSJ :D, plus I think you're underestimating the continued importance of the CDMA installed base with its ~70% market share in the US.

Yes, VZW is planning to deploy LTE (I'm with a major selected vendor), but it will be limited to select hot-spots (read: data) for the short-term and will probably be an overlay, not a replacement network.

In the meantime, the CDMA side of our business is going gangbusters with network expansion and continued feature requests from this important customer.
 

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CDMA won't happen. Verizon will get an iPhone, but it will be LTE.

Bottom line is that CDMA just isn't a viable option. Those carriers still using it are all well advanced in their replacement plans to move to LTE.

Apple, by the way, is currently hiring LTE engineers to work on this product.
 

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Different go-to-market strategy. Apple prefers to be more techno-chic and won't pander to low-brow/knuckle-dragging CDMA just for the sake of gaining share. They'd rather appeal to the the higher end of the market and command a higher price.

Is it the best strategy? That's debatable. But that is their approach.
 

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These rumours first appeared in early February (link below) - so its not timed as April Fool's joke. But where there's smoke, there's usually fire.

LINK
 

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We had this rumor last summer as well. Actually I think that was for an "iPhone like device" - speculation was that the body shape would have been a little different/smaller. Nothing happened then and I'll believe it this time when I see it.

But then again, it really doesn't matter to me (I barely care) :)
 

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I don't think that's likely to happen that Apple will go to LTE directly. Eventually over time, yes.

LTE is still new and the infrastructure is only in specific, and strategic places and has not been rolled out to all major and moderate metro areas yet. So, just as Apple first first introduced the iPhone 2G model, where everyone was wondering why Apple chose to come out only with 2G as the initial introduction instead of 3G, Apple won't move to pre-4G (LTE) yet until there is sufficient critical mass in the LTE infrastructure (easier adoption by more people) and this LTE infrastructure won't happen until mid-2011 or end of 2011, or later.

Carriers don't invest heavily in CDMA technology and then rip them out to replace them with LTE. They usually move to new technologies gradually e.g. LTE, consolidate, or overlay, and/or move the older technologies e.g. CDMA to smaller or rural areas.

I think what's more likely to happen is that for 2010+, Apple will introduce the Apple OS4 and CDMA iPhone (to grab existing CDMA market share from other phone manufacturers), and in 2011/2012, they'll come out with their next iPhone 5 (aka iPhone pre-4G or LTE). That way their future version of iPhone will be usable on the more readily available LTE infrastructure.

Most people always think that people can install such cell technologies as fast as people can design them. But in actual truth, the overall time taken to manage the roll out and implement LTE (or any new technology) is very long.

GSM is still around and was introduced back in 1991. That's nearly 19+ years ago. CDMA will be around and maybe for just as long but definitely longer than when LTE will be implemented for the masses.

Anyways, that's my 2 cents. It definitely will be interesting to see which way Apple moves to. I'm for the CDMA iPhone rumour due to the additional milking revenue that Apple will get with introducing the CDMA iPhone in 2010 and another LTE iPhone in 2011/12.

I forgot to mention, that if Apple moves to an LTE iPhone, and there is no LTE signal supported in a specific regional area, then there is no fallback technology unlike the HSPA/2G/GSM that is possible with the existing iPhones. That's why Apple won't be moving to LTE yet since the infrastructure is not there until 2011.
 

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But LTE does fallback to HSPA, doesn't it? HSPA is available just about everywhere in the civilised world today...

My guess is that Verizon is in the same situation that Bell/Telus found themselves in...at the dead-end of their technology cycle and needing to make a massive capital investment to stay relevant. Seeing as they are well down the path of making this required investment, Apple is just as well to direct their engineering efforts towards the next-generation (which will generate returns around the world) rather than invest in a technology that will be tired before it even comes out.

All personal opinion, but that's my $0.02.
 

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Not sure if LTE fallback to HSPA. But I know that HSPA is not available in cottage country in Ontario (yet). I guess it depends on what you imply by civilized world ... :)
 

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But LTE does fallback to HSPA, doesn't it? HSPA is available just about everywhere in the civilised world today...
Well presumably it would where the carrier is currently HSPA or moving to it. For the ones that are going to leap directly from CDMA to LTE, there would be no HSPA to fall-back on. Just like Bell/Telus have no GSM to fall back on.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Following lawman's arguments, I still think this has legs...

Did any of you guys follow the GSM technology cycle?

The death of GSM was called in ~2000. Yet, HW and SW sales for a vendor I'm familiar with peaked in 2009, yes a full nine years AFTER the world was supposedly going to tear down the multi-billion dollar networks and migrate to UMTS.

Didn't happen, did it? So why would you expect it to happen in the migration from CDMA to LTE (aka Wideband CDMA). You guys do realize that the current infrastructure will be upgraded (HW/SW) rather than be replaced, right?

So let's look at CDMA. While the technology has certainly crested, sales continue to be very strong. In addition to current operators scrambling to upgrade capacity for SMS growth, they're also increasing their Do RevC footprint to improve (smart phone) data capacity before what will be a multi-year migration to LTE.

In addition to current customers, there are new CDMA bids and contracts being signed every month, and R&D is scrambling to keep up with new feature requests.

Let's also put it out there that Bell/Telus didn't deploy HSPA to replace their respective CDMA networks, they did so primarily to get a share of the Intl. roaming revenues that Rogers was hording. IMHO, the iPhone was a secondary benefit.

Finally, against that backdrop;

1. Verizon is the largest operator (by subscribers) in the USA

2. Adding Sprint into the mix and you're looking at a combined ~70% market share.

3. These vendors have collectively spent many billions of dollars to build CDMA networks.

4. Even if the transition from CDMA to LTE is 2x the rate of GSM-UMTS, you're looking at years for a network-wide migration.

5. Verizon wants the iPhone to compete w/ AT&T, and I suspect that Apple wants to sell phones to another 80+ million US customers.

6. Verizon WILL get an LTE iPhone, but they won't wait that long and will push Apple to provide an interim product that works with their current network.

7. Verizon's CDMA network will have a lifespan approaching 5yrs (maybe more) before full deployment of LTE is completed.
 

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Let's also put it out there that Bell/Telus didn't deploy HSPA to replace their respective CDMA networks, they did so primarily to get a share of the Intl. roaming revenues that Rogers was hording. IMHO, the iPhone was a secondary benefit.
I find it difficult to believe that international roaming is a major determining factor in going to HSPA, doesn't make sense as an investment. Only US roamers will have the correct phones to make use of the North American HSPA bands, anyone else has to buy a phone here. A good chunk of US are already on CDMA, which didn't need any investment to facilitate their roaming here. So, the gain is very small indeed. Now the technology path to higher speed networks and LTE is admitted as the reason in Bell and Telus's own public financial statements. As publicly-traded corporations, they need to make accurate disclosures - why speculate that the main rationale was roaming traffic? Getting access to a broader range of phone products including iPhone would seem to be a far greater secondary benefit than roaming.
 

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+1 on the above. I'd say roaming revenue was the ancillary benefit for Bell and Telus. Getting access to a broader range of handsets, especially smartphones, and equipment at lower prices (due to larger world market, meant more. The different frequencies this is still a problem between NA and the rest of the world but I assume it's easier for manufacturers to tweak the frequencies than develop a CDMA version of a phone for the NA market (using the iPhone as an example).

I could theorize that Bell and Telus wanted out of the "us vs them" CDMA/GSM battle with Rogers. Rogers, in terms of subscribers, is far larger than Bell and Telus. Add Rogers' argument that they operate on the "world standard" (conveniently ignoring that most of NA is on CDMA) and it was starting to hurt. Bell and Telus, with their limited selection of phones, were starting to look like anachronisms while Rogers always had the hot new products first. The first thing Bell and Telus did with the HSPA network was launch the iPhone to prove they could be just as cool as the big guy. Both are proud to flaunt the Nexus1 and Telus is trying to be hipper than Rogers with the Milestone. None of this would have been possible with only CDMA. Witness the phenomenal success of the BB Storm and Storm2. :)

And what is the second biggest complaint about Wind (after the spotty service)? Lack of a selection of attractive phones (which the N1 could help solve if it weren't so expensive).

Bell and Telus will use HSPA/UTMS for a few years to slow the loss of subscribers to Rogers until LTE technology is ready. That the transition to LTE is easier than from CDMA to HSPA made the decision more obvious.
 
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