Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A CDMA iPhone? NOT!

I think this new iPhone is a 4G LTE iPhone, NOT CDMA 3G as reported.

Actually Verizon is switching from CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access).Their 4G network is based on LTE (Long Term Evolution) which, I believe is a GSM standard. Regardless it is a TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) technology not CDMA. It will probably take somewhere close to 10 years to retire their 3G CDMA network.

This makes since because Verizon has said that they will deploy their 4G/LTE infrastructure through 2010 and 2011. Major markets will have LTE on Vzw by the end of this year. Once a standardized voice profile is established for LTE, voice calls can be made. Spell that Skype.

So my guess is there is no CDMA iPhone coming and there are a number of reasons for that.

  1. It's the old technology (I like CDMA better but I liked BetaMax better too).

  2. To produce a CDMA phone you have to pay (one way or another) Qualcomm royalties. Not something Jobs want to do.

  3. The Vzw LTE network is fast on it's way and will probably get here before Apple could make a CDMA iPhone.

  4. Why would Apple be putting engineering talent on this old CDMA technology that Steve doesn't want when LTE is on it's way for both Vzw and AT&T?

My bet is It's an LTE iPhone not a CDMA iPhone.

I started this as a comment on WSJ's Digits site. A couple of responses to my comment questioned the point about VzW switching to LTE. I believe the premise of their comments went to the point of Vzw abandoning their 3G CDMA network. I think we all know that's not going to happen at least for 10 years and maybe more. The network is still good and reliable and will be for many more years.

But Verizon is adding LTE quickly and as quoted in Wireless Week "Verizon is set to deploy LTE in 25 to 30 different markets later this year."

As I understand it the voice profile for transferring voice data across LTE may not be standardized yet and there could be continued delay for handset development (total speculation on my part). If Apple comes out with a device that works on LTE and works with the closest thing to the current gold stanadard for the voice profile they could walk away with the new LTE phone market. But my guess is that HTC, Nokia, Motorola and LG are all working on the handset technology as well and we will see handsets that are compatible with LTE maybe sooner than later.

As these handsets come onto the market many of them will work with the new LTE networks in the same way as analog/digital model of the last several years. The iPhone may be a bit of a maverick and only work (because their Apple) with the LTE network. The advanced network throughput will be a real consumer draw. If Apple can get it out quickly… (the first LTE handset is the iPhone?) How sweet would that be for Apple! That’s the way Jobs thinks. “Let’s do a little leapfrog from where we are in this tech landscape and shake things up a bit.” The iPhone itself is the proof of this kind of culture at Apple.

So yeah I still think the new iPhone will be the iPhone 4G not a CDMA version of the iPhone 3G

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