The highlight of this week in the telecom world is undoubtedly the Verizon iPhone CDMA Launch. After a year long speculation, rumour and testing Verizon officially confirmed the CDMA version of iPhone 4 on verizon’s network. What makes this so special? Is it so difficult for Apple to offer a CDMA version? What happened to the exclusivity contract that apple had with AT&T? What are the design changes that are new in iPhone 4 CDMA? When will iPhone 4 CDMA be available in the market? How much will it cost? There are lots of questions. We will go through them all.
Apple sold 14.1 million iPhone 4 handsets in the last quarter. That’s a spectacular number. Mighty impressive! For all the success that apple has received, they were still receiving one question “When will iPhone 4 be available on Verizon?”. At the same time, AT&T was enjoying a 3.5 years of roaring success with the exclusive contract it had with iPhone. AT&T won millions of customers because of exclusive access to iPhone. AT&T earned good amount of profit due to the increased customer base. But for the last year and half, AT&T’s network started buckling under pressure and could not withstand the traffic demands of iPhone users! Negativity started raising the head around AT&T. This made Apple to revisit the exclusivity contract. I dont have the actual details about the state of the contract but the industry rumours point out that the exclusivity has become semi-exclusive contract. This allowed Apple to launch a CDMA version of iPhone 4. Amidst this backdrop, iPhone 4 CDMA phone was officially announced on Verizon’s network. Now you can understand the importance of this event.
But it looks like the iPhone 4 CDMA is one step backward for Verizon. Verizon has just launched the 4G LTE network, america’s fastest network. But iPhone 4 CDMA will not be compatible with Verizon’s 4G LTE network! It will work on Verizon’s existing EV-DO network that is 3G. Apple justified this by saying that iPhone would have to undergo unnecessary design changes to work with 4G LTE network and Verizon’s customers were desperate to get a iPhone 4 now. Also, Verizon’s CDMA network does not support simultaneous data and voice as it is possible with GSM version! So when you are on data connection browsing the network, you cannot receive a voice call!
However, there was one good thing to cherish for verizon’s customers. The iPhone 4 CDMA version brings one new feature. Personal hotspot, also known as wireless tethering that allows iPhone’s data connection to be used with 5 other wireless devices.
So, what about the availability and pricing. Verizon will make iPhone 4 available beginning February 10th. Existing verizon customers can pre-order from February 3rd. New customers can order from February 10th. The 16GB Version would be available for $199 and the 32GB version would be available for $299 with a 2-year contract.
While the wireless operators are progressing towards 4G networks, iPhone 4 cannot enjoy the network. Users have to wait for iPhone 5 which possibly can support the 4G network. Competitors like T-Mobile have been making fun of this scenario as depicted on the video below!
Android has been making some rapid strides into the handset market. So, I am not sure if iPhone CDMA version will make any dent to the android’s growth in US. Bottomline, iPhone availability on Verizon has come little late and iPhone 5 is around the corner. So, the positive impact that Verizon expects may not translate into reality!
T-Mobile’s pun on AT&T and Verizon.
Also, iPhone 4 introduced a feature called “FACETIME”, another way to address “Video calling”. This feature would work only on Wi-Fi. This feature will not work on mobile networks (when you are on the go). The reason quoted “It’s a drain on the network. It’s a bandwidth hog!”. The following video is a take on this issue 🙂
Verizon iPhone 4 CDMA launch event highlights
Verizon and Apple Q&A
The Daily Show take on Verizon iPhone