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Don’t Count on a Verizon iPhone May 29, 2010

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by David Goldman
Friday, May 28, 2010

It’s that time of year again: The weather is getting warmer, Apple‘s (Nasdaq: AAPL -News) annual Worldwide Developers Conference is just around the corner, and rumors about the iPhone coming to Verizon (NYSE: VZNews) are sprouting up.

Don’t believe it, Verizon fans. It’s unlikely that Steve Jobs will announce a Verizon tie-up when he gets on stage at the WWDC event on June 7.

The rumors have been swirling around for years because an Apple-Verizon partnership seems to make sense for both parties.

The top reason consumers who are in the market for an iPhone decide to pass is AT&T‘s (NYSE: T- News) 3G network problems, which are notorious in New York and San Francisco, according to a CFI Group study. Meanwhile, Verizon has built up its reputation as the “most reliable network.” Also, Verizon’s 93 million wireless customers would present a huge opportunity for Apple to grow its customer base.

Yet there are some fundamental reasons why a deal isn’t imminent.

Different Networks

Verizon’s network runs on a wireless standard called CDMA, which is incompatible with AT&T’s GSM network. It’s not impossible to offer phones on both networks — Research In Motion(Nasdaq: RIMMNews) sells BlackBerry phones on every major U.S. network. But it wouldn’t necessarily make economic sense for Apple.

For one, Apple has proudly advertised that consumers can make calls and surf the Web simultaneously on the iPhone, but Verizon’s CDMA network can’t support that feature.

Secondly, Verizon is set to roll out its 4G network later this year, and AT&T will unveil its 4G network in 2011. Those networks will be on a new universal, global standard called LTE, making a 4G/LTE iPhone much more cost-effective for Apple and easier to sell around the world. That would make next year or even 2012 a more likely timeframe for debuting a Verizon iPhone.

And suppliers haven’t given any indication that Apple is building a CDMA phone, according to Jagdish Rebello, principal analyst of communication systems at iSuppli.

AT&T’s Exclusivity Contract

Apple has a five-year exclusivity deal with AT&T, according to court documents, making it unlikely that the iPhone could come to Verizon before 2012.

Many analysts said nothing is set in stone and speculated that the terms could have been renegotiated.

“No one has a good handle on how long that exclusivity deal runs, but those contracts usually last 90 days to six months,” said Josh King, general counsel at Avvo.com and former senior corporate development executive at AT&T Wireless.

But one big indication that AT&T’s contract will continue for a while is its sweet 3G pricing deal for the iPad.

AT&T offers unlimited 3G access for the iPad on a contract-free basis for an average of about $22 a month. Because those sales only account for 15% of AT&T’s data revenue, according to data tracker Trefis, it may be part of a bigger strategy.

“There is speculation that AT&T is offering attractively priced 3G data plans … as part of a broader deal with Apple to maintain iPhone exclusivity for longer than the original agreement,” Trefis said in a recent analyst note.

“AT&T is our exclusive partner in the U.S. and we’re very happy with that,” said an Apple spokeswoman but she would not comment on Apple’s plans to sell the iPhone on other carriers.

Verizon Might Not Want the iPhone

When Apple was searching for a network to carry its iPhone in 2007, Verizon was widely reported to have balked at Apple’s demands to take a share of the company’s revenue.

Verizon said it would be able to handle the iPhone on its network, but wouldn’t comment on its interest in carrying the iPhone specifically.

“The Verizon Wireless network is optimized for maximum efficiencies and … we can mange the growth,” a Verizon spokeswoman said. “We pride ourselves on having an array of smart phones on several different operating systems.”

Recently, Verizon appears to be shrugging off the iPhone by going all-in with Google(Nasdaq: GOOGNews). Verizon’s past two flagship phones have been Google Android-based phones, and the company is working with Google to launch a tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad.

Verizon also couldn’t have made Apple too happy after launching a scathing “iDon’t, Droid Does” campaign, in which the company went after all of the iPhone’s deficiencies. And in a separate campaign, Verizon poked fun at Apple’s “there’s an app for that” slogan when it went after AT&T’s 3G network with its “there’s a map for that” ad.

“There’s a lot for Verizon to consider, including revenue sharing and how much the iPhone would fit in with what the company is doing now,” said Ramon Lamas, mobile device analyst at IDC. “But right now, they’re all about Google.”

Copyrighted, CNNMoney. All Rights Reserved.

LTE Overview May 21, 2010

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LTE (Long Term Evolution) standardization within the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) has reached a mature state. Changes in the specification are limited to corrections and bug fixes. Since end 2009 LTE mobile communication systems have been deployed as a natural evolution of GSM (Global system for mobile communications) and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System).

The ITU (International Telecommunication Union) has coined the term IMT-Advanced to identify mobile systems whose capabilities go beyond those of IMT 2000 (International Mobile Telecommunications). Specifically data rate requirements have been increased. In order to support advanced services and applications 100Mbps for high and 1Gbps for low mobility scenarios must be realized. Throughout 2009 3GPP has worked on a study with the purpose of identifying the LTE improvements required to meet IMT-Advanced requirements. In September 2009 the 3GPP Partners made a formal submission to the ITU proposing that LTE Release 10 & beyond (LTE Advanced) should be evaluated as a candidate for IMT-Advanced. Beyond achieving technical requirements, a major reason for aligning LTE with the call for IMT-Advanced is that IMT conformant systems will be candidates for future new spectrum bands that are still to be identified. This ensures that today’s deployed LTE mobile networks provide an evolutionary path towards many years of commercial operation.

To download the complete notes please click here

Courtesy of Rohde & Schwarz website.

P2R – Prefer to Refer May 16, 2010

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I am now a volunteer for AT&T P2R. Please see my badge below.

IMG_0241

P2R is a one-stop web site where AT&T employees and “registered” retirees can submit and track referrals for AT&T products and services.

To order products and services, please call toll-free: 1-877-827-5288

Referral Code: NG7259

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