Inside the Apple-Verizon iPhone deal: technical planning took 6-9 months

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
While the commercial agreement with Apple and Verizon was finalized in just a day, the technical preparations to bring the iPhone to the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. took much longer.



Verizon Communications President Lowell McAdam spoke with Bloomberg about the deal between Apple and Verizon for the iPhone, which took years to reach. He said each company agreed to trade "inside information" about each others' upcoming products and services.



Apple and Verizon also erected CDMA towers at the iPhone maker's Cupertino, Calif., campus, allowing both companies to do extensive testing with Apple's smartphone in an effort to avoid network issues. AT&T's own network issues have been a public relations concern for the company.



One of Verizon's top engineers worked at Apple's campus, helping the company learn CDMA technology, and McAdam himself even personally tested the new Verizon-compatible iPhone before it was announced on Tuesday. The phone is set to go on sale on Feb. 10, and existing Verizon customers will be able to preorder starting Feb. 3.



Negotiations between the two companies even personally involved Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg. McAdam also said the lack of a Verizon logo on the new iPhone 4 was not a "major issue" for the company.



"We worked probably six or nine months on the technical side of this and saw we could make this work," McAdam said in the interview. "Then we did the commercial side. The commercial side took us a day."



The new, close partnership with Verizon has already lead to information leaks, including numerous reports on the Verizon iPhone announcement well before Tuesday's press conference. And also this week, Verizon's chief financial officer, Francis Shammo, let slip that Apple is planning a new iPad with an integrated CDMA radio that will allow the touchscreen tablet to access Verizon's network without the need for a MiFi portable hotspot.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,523member
    Since it's been said that they didn't sign an exclusivity agreement, I'd like to see Sprint and T-Mobile signed on when the new iPhone is announced this summer. That would seem to be the right time.
  • Reply 2 of 46
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,292member
    Quote:

    also erected CDMA towers at the iPhone maker's Cupertino, Calif., campus, allowing both companies to do extensive testing with Apple's smartphone in an effort to avoid network issues.



    This is probably what AT&T did as well. What's the point of this? The purpose of the phone, regardless of carrier, is not just to work on Apple's campus - it's to work anywhere. Does Apple still think they can release phones without doing extensive testing in the real world? Because if they do, they're setting themselves up for another P.R. disaster if Verizon doesn't have enough bandwidth to support the users.



    According to news reports, Verizon's website has already had problems. If they weren't smart enough to get more server capacity for the crush, do you really think they've expanded their network enough to support the crush of new iPhone users?
  • Reply 3 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    This is probably what AT&T did as well. What's the point of this? The purpose of the phone, regardless of carrier, is not just to work on Apple's campus - it's to work anywhere. Does Apple still think they can release phones without doing extensive testing in the real world? Because if they do, they're setting themselves up for another P.R. disaster if Verizon doesn't have enough bandwidth to support the users.



    According to news reports, Verizon's website has already had problems. If they weren't smart enough to get more server capacity for the crush, do you really think they've expanded their network enough to support the crush of new iPhone users?



    They need a nearby tower to test within the Apple campus at full strength. They can then adjust the signal strength as need to do more testing (going into shielded rooms, etc). Apple has already acknowledged that they do a lot of real world testing all round the place and that it carries the risk of the phone be 'stolen' or misplaced (left at a bar). Don't think that Apple doesn't do a lot of real world testing on their phones. I would be there are engineers walking amongst us with 5th gen iPhones already if not very soon.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,055member
    In other news, the CDMA ipad is cancelled.



    Just kidding. Apple may have told them it was OK to spill. It changes nothing, really.
  • Reply 5 of 46
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,523member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    This is probably what AT&T did as well. What's the point of this? The purpose of the phone, regardless of carrier, is not just to work on Apple's campus - it's to work anywhere. Does Apple still think they can release phones without doing extensive testing in the real world? Because if they do, they're setting themselves up for another P.R. disaster if Verizon doesn't have enough bandwidth to support the users.



    According to news reports, Verizon's website has already had problems. If they weren't smart enough to get more server capacity for the crush, do you really think they've expanded their network enough to support the crush of new iPhone users?



    Of course they do extensive testing. I suppose you haven't heard of the Gizmoto phone story?



    But in order to do prototype testing under ideal conditions, which must be done first, they need a real tower outside of their own labs.
  • Reply 6 of 46
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    This is probably what AT&T did as well. What's the point of this? The purpose of the phone, regardless of carrier, is not just to work on Apple's campus - it's to work anywhere. Does Apple still think they can release phones without doing extensive testing in the real world? Because if they do, they're setting themselves up for another P.R. disaster if Verizon doesn't have enough bandwidth to support the users.



    According to news reports, Verizon's website has already had problems. If they weren't smart enough to get more server capacity for the crush, do you really think they've expanded their network enough to support the crush of new iPhone users?



    the network traffic is probably routed to preserve secrecy and through all kinds of network diagnostics devices for debugging purposes
  • Reply 7 of 46
    69 months, that's a long time.
  • Reply 8 of 46
    When AT&T was getting really bashed for lack of bandwidth from iPhone users they swooped-in and took over the WiFi hotspots at Starbucks, McDonalds, etc. At first they controlled free access to AT&T users with an SMS authentication method. Later they relaxed this and now you can use any device at Starbucks for free internet even Android, Palm, Symbian, laptops, etc.



    Now that Verizon Wireless will have the iPhone will AT&T roll-back their WiFi hotspot policy limiting use to AT&T devices? Even though I'm an AT&T iPhone user having easy access for my laptop would be nice to continue. And even though I may be 'subsidizing' Verizon iPhone users bandwidth there, with my AT&T fees, being able to do Facetime chats with Verizon iPhone users, since FT is WiFi only, would be good.



    How much does companies like Starbucks pay AT&T for providing hotspots? Maybe their fees will go up?
  • Reply 9 of 46
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,128member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    McAdam also said the lack of a Verizon logo on the new iPhone 4 was not a "major issue" for the company.



    Verizon is one of the most notorious in terms of crippling phones and plastering their junk all over phones. McAdam I'm sure is downplaying this to save face.



    It's nice to know that Verizon is finally someone else's lapdog for a change. McAdam probably had to bite his lower-lip numerous times due be being told "No" by Jobs / Apple in terms of iPhone deals.



    In the end, this is very exciting times for Apple the the smartphone industry. I'm eagerly waiting to see about CDMA use in China / India. This is going to be huge for Apple and AAPL!
  • Reply 10 of 46
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iLoveStuff View Post


    69 months, that's a long time.



    But a great position for them to be in.
  • Reply 11 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    This is probably what AT&T did as well. What's the point of this? The purpose of the phone, regardless of carrier, is not just to work on Apple's campus - it's to work anywhere. Does Apple still think they can release phones without doing extensive testing in the real world? Because if they do, they're setting themselves up for another P.R. disaster if Verizon doesn't have enough bandwidth to support the users.



    Apple does extensive field testing of its handsets in the SF Bay Area.



    As a matter of fact, one Apple engineer forgot his prototype iPhone 4 in a Redwood City beer garden. This unit eventually made it to the editor of Gizmodo and the device was revealed several months before it was released.



    Naturally, Verizon has scads of data about its entire network, dropped calls, data usage by handset, etc. Apple doesn't have to test the phone everywhere.



    Also remember that the GSM iPhone works fine in other markets. AT&T's problems are entirely theirs.
  • Reply 12 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    While the commercial agreement with Apple and Verizon was finalized in just a day, the technical preparations to bring the iPhone to the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. took much longer.



    Apple: "Here are our terms, if you don?t like it we?ll go to Sprint and T-Mobile.?

    Verizon: ?Where do I sign??





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Since it's been said that they didn't sign an exclusivity agreement, I'd like to see Sprint and T-Mobile signed on when the new iPhone is announced this summer. That would seem to be the right time.



    I?m not expecting to see Sprint or T-Mobile USA come aboard until at least next year. I think the increased demand of the GSM iPhone as well as the new CDMA iPhone on Verizon will keep their production at full tilt as it is.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Of course they do extensive testing. I suppose you haven't heard of the Gizmoto phone story?



    But in order to do prototype testing under ideal conditions, which must be done first, they need a real tower outside of their own labs.



    I would think they?d change up their policy for real world testing. I can see some vehicles being outfitted with testers driving around for 8 hours a day. Keeping the device in the vehicle and always having someone in the vehicle.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ThinkKnot View Post


    When AT&T was getting really bashed for lack of bandwidth from iPhone users they swooped-in and took over the WiFi hotspots at Starbucks, McDonalds, etc. At first they controlled free access to AT&T users with an SMS authentication method. Later they relaxed this and now you can use any device at Starbucks for free internet even Android, Palm, Symbian, laptops, etc.



    Now that Verizon Wireless will have the iPhone will AT&T roll-back their WiFi hotspot policy limiting use to AT&T devices? Even though I'm an AT&T iPhone user having easy access for my laptop would be nice to continue. And even though I may be 'subsidizing' Verizon iPhone users bandwidth there, with my AT&T fees, being able to do Facetime chats with Verizon iPhone users, since FT is WiFi only, would be good.



    How much does companies like Starbucks pay AT&T for providing hotspots? Maybe their fees will go up?



    I think that service is pretty cheap that AT&T will want to maintain them. I also believe that Starbucks is the one that wanted the free WiFi for customers to encourage sales, which dropped off sharply after the recession and McDonald?s offered new coffee options. I?m not sure if either or both are causes for Starbucks decline in profits.
  • Reply 13 of 46
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Negotiations between the two companies even personally involved Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg. McAdam also said the lack of a Verizon logo on the new iPhone 4 was not a "major issue" for the company.



    BS. Technological Planning - 9 moths. Business Side 1 day. Logo not on the phone - the rest of the 2 year negotiations.
  • Reply 14 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    This is probably what AT&T did as well. What's the point of this? The purpose of the phone, regardless of carrier, is not just to work on Apple's campus - it's to work anywhere. Does Apple still think they can release phones without doing extensive testing in the real world? Because if they do, they're setting themselves up for another P.R. disaster if Verizon doesn't have enough bandwidth to support the users.



    According to news reports, Verizon's website has already had problems. If they weren't smart enough to get more server capacity for the crush, do you really think they've expanded their network enough to support the crush of new iPhone users?



    No offence, but this is nonsense. You don't know what kind of testing is required, and you don't know what the specific failures of AT&T's network were all about either but your fine casting aspersions freely on Apple and whomever else in spite of it.



    To say that they "better have done their testing" because there will be a disaster if "enough bandwidth" isn't there, is a completely nonsensical thing to say. That's like saying "Ford better have tested the fuel economy on that car before they release it because if they go on the road and the brakes all start failing they'll have hell to pay." Then implying they have network problems "already," because their website is being hit? WTF? I mean seriously, what the heck are you talking about?



    1) Apple *does* do network testing in the real world

    2) There is no way this can inform them as to whether Verizon has the bandwidth or not

    3) You're blaming *Apple* (instead of the carrier) for something they have *no* control over
  • Reply 15 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    No offence, but this is nonsense. You don't know what kind of testing is required, and you don't know what the specific failures of AT&T's network were all about either but your fine casting aspersions freely on Apple and whomever else in spite of it.



    To say that they "better have done their testing" because there will be a disaster if "enough bandwidth" isn't there, is a completely nonsensical thing to say. That's like saying "Ford better have tested the fuel economy on that car before they release it because if they go on the road and the brakes all start failing they'll have hell to pay." Then implying they have network problems "already," because their website is being hit? WTF? I mean seriously, what the heck are you talking about?



    1) Apple *does* do network testing in the real world

    2) There is no way this can inform them as to whether Verizon has the bandwidth or not

    3) You're blaming *Apple* (instead of the carrier) for something they have *no* control over



    What other mobile handset vendor has shown us their testing facility? Which other mobile handset vendor can put that much emphasis into one CDMA or GSM handset per year? They all have dozens of new phones that all have to be tested, so why would we even think Apple is doing less testing than other mobile handset vendors per model type?



    Is it all from the silly “antenna-gate”? One thing to note is that AnandTech already put the Verizon iPhone in Field-Test mode and found that the ‘death grip” is equvalant to the iPhone 4 GSM. So much for Apple redesigning a faulty antenna design. \





    PS: Not disagreeing with anything you said. Your post got me thinking, hence all the questions.
  • Reply 16 of 46
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Apple: "Here are our terms, if you don?t like it we?ll go to Sprint and T-Mobile.?

    Verizon: ?Where do I sign??



    Absolutely. You know Verizon went into this with little negotiating power.







    Quote:

    I?m not expecting to see Sprint or T-Mobile USA come aboard until at least next year. I think the increased demand of the GSM iPhone as well as the new CDMA iPhone on Verizon will keep their production at full tilt as it is.



    I agree. Apple has not been able to keep up with launch demand for AT&T. It'll be interesting to see how they handle both AT&T and Verizon.
  • Reply 17 of 46
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    What other mobile handset vendor has shown us their testing facility? Which other mobile handset vendor can put that much emphasis into one CDMA or GSM handset per year? They all have dozens of new phones that all have to be tested, so why would we even think Apple is doing less testing than other mobile handset vendors per model type?



    Is it all from the silly ?antenna-gate?? One thing to note is that AnandTech already put the Verizon iPhone in Field-Test mode and found that the ?death grip? is equvalant to the iPhone 4 GSM. So much for Apple redesigning a faulty antenna design. \



    We should point out to all noobs here that ALL mobile phones have the same or similar death grip possibilities before you are quoted out of context as being the source of the new "Verizon iPhone antenna-gate?.
  • Reply 18 of 46
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,382member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    BS. Technological Planning - 9 moths. Business Side 1 day. Logo not on the phone - the rest of the 2 year negotiations.



    I can believe the 1 day part ...



    SJ :" Here is the deal, take it or leave it."
  • Reply 19 of 46
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Why do you think it was BS? Verizon would have to have some terrible negotiators if they took more than one day to concede to Apple everything it wanted.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    BS. Technological Planning - 9 moths. Business Side 1 day. Logo not on the phone - the rest of the 2 year negotiations.



  • Reply 20 of 46
    Quote:

    We worked probably six or nine months...



    Reminds me of the Steven Wright joke where he starts, "About two years ago...no, wait, it was last night."
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