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Will iPhone Give Verizon Some Post-Holiday Cheer?

By Richard Adhikari MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Dec 14, 2010 9:00 AM PT

A rumor that Verizon Wireless will unveil an iPhone on its LTE post-3G network is making the rounds in the blogosphere.

Will iPhone Give Verizon Some Post-Holiday Cheer?

Meanwhile, a photo posted on the Web depicting of an iPhone with the words "Verizon LTE" on the upper left hand corner of the screen is generating some controversy.

Verizon Wireless is pushing hard to complete the roll-out of its LTE (Long Term Evolution) post-3G network, and it's locked in a four-way war with AT&T and T-Mobile over who's got the fastest 4G network.

Verizon Wireless and Apple didn't comment by press time.

More on the LTE iPhone Rumors

News of the purported LTE iPhone was first run on MacDailyNews.

The publication cited an anonymous source as saying that Verizon has held management training for iPhone sales and that trainees used functioning LTE-capable iPhones.

The device is already shipping in bulk to Verizon warehouses and will be formally announced right after Christmas, according to the report. MacDailyNews said this is because AT&T asked Apple to hold off so it could maximize sales of the iPhone for Christmas.

The LTE iPhone will reportedly have multiband chip backward compatibility with Verizon Wireless's regular CDMA network.

MacDailyNews said the information came from a single source and couldn't be confirmed independently so should be treated as a rumor.

iSmile! You're on Candid Camera!

A photo of the purported LTE iPhone for Verizon is on display at Today's iPhone.

That photo reportedly came from an anonymous source.

It shows an iPhone with the words "Verizon LTE" above the top left of the device's screen. The iPhone, which is black, is resting against the keyboard of a Mac Book that's claimed to belong to a Verizon engineer in the Pacific Northwest region.

The LTE iPhone is running iOS 4.2, Today's iPhone claimed.

However, iPhone World has dismissed the pix as a fake.

Why LTE? Why Now?

For months, rumors have asserted that Verizon Wireless will roll out a CDMA iPhone in the first quarter of 2011, so why would it jump the gun and offer an LTE iPhone shortly after Christmas? Or has Verizon decided to scrap the CDMA-only iPhone altogether?

Theoretically, Apple could nearly double its earnings in the U.S. market if it added Verizon to its list of domestic carriers, and iPhone users have been pretty vocal about their anger at service provided by AT&T, which is currently the iPhone's sole carrier in the U.S.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean Verizon desperately needs the iPhone.

"AT&T and Verizon are both doing very well, thank you very much," Ramon Llamas a senior research analyst at IDC, told MacNewsWorld. "The third quarter was the time for iPhone sales to jump and they did, but Q4 may be a little more quiet."

Third-quarter iPhone sales are high because "Apple loyalists come out of the woodwork shortly after new devices are launched in July and August," Llamas explained. For the fourth quarter and beyond, the iPhone is facing challenges from LG, Samsung, Motorola and HTC, all of which have devices on Verizon Wireless, Llamas pointed out.

It's not likely that Verizon will get an LTE iPhone shortly after Christmas, Llamas opined. "It's a pretty big thing for Verizon to get the iPhone, so you can expect they'll make a big splash," he said. "They haven't made any announcements yet."

Chances are, Verizon will make an announcement in the first quarter of 2011 and deliver an iPhone in the second quarter, Llamas said.

"There will be a lot to pack into the new device if it's to be an LTE iPhone," Chris Hazelton, a research director at the 451 Group, pointed out. "It will have to be familiar with Verizon's CDMA network -- it must have the entire CDMA stack, including 2G, 3G, EV-DO, GSM, WCDMA and other technologies."

In order to justify all that, the new device will probably have to be a world phone.

If Verizon does indeed get an LTE iPhone within the first quarter, it will only be a device that works within the United States and has CDMA capability, Hazelton told MacNewsWorld.

AT&T declined comment. Neither Apple nor Verizon had responded to requests for comment by press time.

What About LTE?

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, all of which offer post-3G technologies, are claiming their technologies are 4G in a bid to win customers.

As it's being offered currently, LTE does not fully comply with the IMT Advanced (International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced) requirements for 4G. These include peak data rates of up to about 100 Mbps for high mobility such as mobile access and up to 1Gbps for low mobility such as nomadic or local wireless access.

None of the wireless carriers in the United States offers transmission at anywhere near these speeds.

Verizon's LTE network, for example, peaked out at 32.8Mbps for downloads and 11.99Mbps for uploads tests by Gizmodo showed.

T-Mobile says its service offers theoretical speeds of up to 21Mbps; it has seen peak speeds of nearly 12Mbps in some cities.

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