The Wall Street Journal has reported that a CDMA iPhone is being built. The new iPhone is expected be similar to the iPhone 4 except that it will run on a Qualcomm chip. Verizon currently uses the CDMA technology. That has fueled speculation that a Verizon iPhone is being produced and should be available for distribution in early 2011. If that rumor is correct, it will mean the end of AT&T’s exclusive domain in providing service for the iPhone. Neither Apple nor Verizon has confirmed whether this is true.
According to Engadget, the idea of an iPhone running on the Verizon network has been one of the most hoped for cell phone possibilities. ChangeWave Research did a survey in the summer of 2010. They found that 27 percent of the 213 iPhone 4 owners surveyed expressed their dislike of being forced to use the AT&T network. Another survey, done by Morpace Omnibus, found that half of the Verizon customers surveyed would likely buy an iPhone if it were on the Verizon network. They also found that around 20 percent of customers from Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile would also switch to a Verizon iPhone.
Verizon is set to launch a new 4G long-term evolution (LTE) network at the end of 2010. If there are plans to have a Verizon iPhone, it seems more likely that it would be made to run on the new LTE network rather than CDMA. Verizon chief executive Ivan Seidenberg has stated that his company would definitely like to carry the iPhone. He feels that the new 4G network will help expedite that process.
Verizon is not the only phone carrier that uses CDMA. Others include Cellcom, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, Virgin Mobile, and China Telecom. It is possible that the CDMA iPhone could be partnered with any of the other companies.
One factor in this scenario is when Apple’s contract with AT&T expires. One source has it ending in 2012, but it is possible there is some type of clause allowing an early termination. Everything at this point is just speculation and rumor. For now, we will just have to wait and see what develops.