A CDMA iPhone

Wayne Rash

There are two rumors out about a new iPhone that Apple is allegedly working on. The first is that Apple is working on a 4G version of the iPhone. The second is that Verizon is going to announce a version of the iPhone in the fall. Pardon me while I fail to get excited about the inevitable.

The only real question is whether the new iPhone is going to Verizon or Sprint. Here's where the discussion gets interesting, if only because it lets us drag out all those cool conspiracy theories and unfounded suppositions that wander around the net like displaced spirits in search of a house to haunt.

The first reaction is that it must be Verizon, if only because it's a much larger organization and thus can sell tons of iPhones. But Verizon is heavily invested in a whole passel of Android phones. Would there be a reason to shoehorn an iPhone into the lineup?

The other choice in the U.S. is Sprint, which badly needs something to counter the lack of excitement over the Palm Pre and Pixi, both of which have dropped into the electronic sea with barely a ripple. But Sprint is a lot smaller than Verizon, and its iPhone tonnage might not be so big. On the other hand, only Sprint is building out a 4G data network, so if the 4G rumors are right, then it has to be Sprint.

Now, couple this with another persistent rumor that may not seem connected. But maybe it is. There's long been discussion in the financial community that Deutsche Telekom is looking for a merger for T-Mobile USA. Those rumors have almost always placed Sprint in the crosshairs as the merger partner. And that makes sense. DT ended up with Sprint's old GSM network in the U.S., and still partners with Sprint on a lot of co-locations and cell towers.

Now, add to that the fact that T-Mobile in Germany is already selling the iPhone there. The German iPhone is already compatible with T-Mobile's 3G network in both countries. While T-Mobile has been building its 3G network in stealth mode, the fact is that it's a lot more like a 4G network in speed and capability. In fact, the differences between T-Mobile's 3G and Sprint's 4G are pretty minimal.

So are we seeing the barest glimmer of something a lot bigger than simply a CDMA iPhone? Are these just the visible surface ripples of a quiet effort to build a very large wireless company?

Who knows? I'll bet even Apple doesn't know the details of that one.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 8, 2010 10:04 AM Prometheus Prometheus  says:
I read a lot of iPhone/Apple news around the web, some of it good and some of it bad. This article is just flat-out wrong on several levels, however. First, you mention that Sprint is rolling out a 4G network, so maybe that's where a 4G iPhone would go. Except that all the rumours, and by far the most likely choice, is that the iPhone will support LTE, which the majority of world carriers are supporting and not WiMax, for which Sprint is the ONLY major carrier worldwide. Why would Apple move their platform to a carrier with only one major carrier in the world? LTE is being rolled out by every major carrier in Europe and North America in the next 2-3 years.Secondly, T-Mobile's 3G network in the US is not compatible with either the iPhone or T-Mobile's German network. The iPhone and the German network run on the 2100MHz UMTS band; T-Mobile US' 3G network operates on the 1700MHz band.A little fact-checking would go a long way in this. Reply
Jan 26, 2011 12:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
I would never underestimate what Apple may or may not know. Reply
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