updated 05:55 pm EDT, Thu April 16, 2009
4G iPhone on Verizon?
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Verizon executive Ivan Seidenberg mentioned that Apple could be more willing to work with the carrier on a potential iPhone deal as the 4G LTE network begins operation. The technology will also be used by AT&T and a number of other carriers, although Verizon is expected to be one of the first with active service by 2010.
AT&T plans to introduce 4G-grade access sometime in 2010, but the commercial service will not arrive until the middle of 2011 and about a year behind Verizon. In the meantime, the iPhone carrier will rely on HSPA+ software upgrades to existing HSPA networks, which will cap at roughly 20Mbps.
Even if Verizon launches LTE ahead of the crowd, a deal in 2010 is still unlikely unless Apple decides to produce a CDMA-compatible iPhone that could work on the broader network until the carrier phases out CDMA in 2011. Seidenberg said Apple never seriously planned on producing a CDMA iPhone due to limited distribution potential.
In the meantime, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is reportedly involved in discussions with Apple to extend the exclusive iPhone deal into 2011. Both companies have been publicly quiet about terms of the current deal, although it is said to expire at the end of the year.