Originally Posted by NeilM
I've long been skeptical about Apple offering a Verizon CDMA phone in the twilight of that technology. As time continues to run out on it, the option becomes less and less attractive as a business case.
Hold on a sec here. I've been reading about CDMA, GSM and "flavors" of 3G and 4G for years and a few things don't seem right. Or at least I don't have them straight.
I'm told one can discriminate wireless technologies as follows, without reference to the internals of each: 2G - a circuit-switched digital network. 3G - a network that's a mix of circuit and packet switching, for (I think) respectively voice and data. 4G - a network that's fully packet switched, finally leaving behind the telco heritage of circuit switching which goes all the way back to the earliest analog, party-line networks.
I'll certainly accept correction on the above, but if I'm in the ballpark, this leads to some other questions which need sorting out to make sense of where the iPhone (and telephony in general) is heading.
First, the current iPhone defaults to using a 3G signal whenever it's available, correct? And only steps down to 2G (GSM or "Edge") when it has to. And presumably later iPhones will prefer a 4G signal when 4G's rolled out. So as networks get built out with 3& 4G, the 2G signals become less and less relevant, no? At least to "smart phones." Or does the CDMA/GSM signal still have a core (or any) function in terms of the functioning of the higher G's? E.g., does the iPhone use 2G for voice and 3G for data?
If the 3 and 4G signals become as ubiquitous as 2G, and if they propagate at least as well as 2G signals, won't we see smart phones that don't have 2G built in at all (to save space and power)? And given the cost of deploying and broadcasting cell signals, won't all phones eventually be at least 3G so that the expense of broadcasting multiple signals (soon 3) withers away to at least only two over time?
Note: We've all seen plenty of Verizon vs. ATT 3G maps, but is there much more saturation of 2G than 3G in Verizon's own coverage today (and ATT's for that matter)? And for the forseeable future?
Second, as is often pointed out, not all 3G and certainly not all 4G signals are going to be the same (witness Sprint WiMax "4G" vs LTE vs ??? - ATT's "3.5 G" which will increase data speeds with tech that today's iPhones can use - and the wars over whose network can do more at once on 3G).
Yet we're told Apple makes one iPhone model for the world. Does that mean that every other country's Apple-licensed phone companies use GSM and 3G technology and frequency spectrum identical to AT&T's? And that only in America is there a crazy quilt of incompatible signals and frequencies at the 2, 3 and 4G levels?
Questions. I have questions. But the answers seem relevant to making this whole discussion intelligible.