Apple happy with AT&T, indicates no plans for CDMA iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Asked Wednesday about his company's exclusive relationship with AT&T -- cited by some as a barrier to further iPhone penetration -- Apple interim chief Tim Cook responded by praising the carrier as 'the best wireless provider in the US,' explaining that its GSM foundation gels with Apple's goal of providing 'one phone for the entire world' while rival CDMA technology 'doesn't really have a life to it.'



Speaking during Apple's second-fiscal quarter conference call, Cook reiterated that Apple chose AT&T (then named Cingular) as its exclusive partner in the US because of its support for GSM, the mobile networking standard in use worldwide by the majority of cellular phone providers. That enabled Apple to launch and sell one unit globally.



The second generation iPhone 3G added support for UMTS service, the third generation mobile network standard that all GSM providers are moving toward. Development of UMTS is managed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) organization.



While many phone makers sell versions of their handsets for both GSM/UMTS worldwide and Qualcomm's rival CDMA mobile network technology operated by Sprint and Verizon Wireless in the US, doing so requires twice the development effort. Taking on that extra effort is becoming increasingly less attractive as CDMA providers make plans to transition to the next generation of mobile networks.



"CDMA doesnt really have a life to it after a certain point in time," Cook said during the call, dashing any fantasies of the iPhone becoming available to Sprint and Verizon users in the next few years. Cook was referring to the entire Qualcomm CDMA stack in comparison with 3GPP GSM/UMTS specifications, as UMTS actually uses a related W-CDMA carrier technology as opposed to GSM's TDMA signaling.



For Verizon, the primary competitor to AT&T in the US, the next generation mobile network means Long Term Evolution (LTE). That future specification is sometimes referred to as 4G, but is really the next stage of 3GPP development. AT&T currently operates a 3GPP Release 5 network now being upgraded to incorporate newer improvements in the 3GPP specifications; LTE is simply a name attached to the forthcoming 3GPP Release 8.



Once LTE networks are built out over the next several years, Verizon's CEO told the Wall Street Journal that an LTE version of the iPhone would make Apple "more likely" to want to work with Verizon in addition to AT&T. If all goes according to plan, at some point early in the next decade both Verizon and AT&T will operate compatible networks, just like all the providers in Europe.



However, AT&T has already stated that it plans to upgrade its existing network incrementally, which is a much easier path toward LTE than Verizon's plans to completely replace its CDMA/EVDO network with LTE. During that time, AT&T will also be able to continue to advertise a faster mobile network, and Apple will be able to leverage global support for 3GPP mobile networks to release increasingly faster versions of the iPhone.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 99
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,270member
    I don't know about being the best wireless provider in the US, but att is certainly the best provider in my area. I switched to att in 2001 and I'm very satisfied.
  • Reply 2 of 99
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    The article needs to be changed. A non-CDMA iPhone dashes all hopes for Sprint (as far as I know, they'll be using WiMax as their 4G tech) and Verizon until they switch to LTE.



    Common sense dictates that Apple wasn't going to bother with a CDMA phone, especially when carriers are openly switching away from that technology. Since it's also obvious that Apple doesn't have ready an LTE iPhone right now, they were bound to deny any inkling of talking to Verizon.



    Rest assured, in two years when LTE chipsets are mature and Verizon and AT&T's 4G LTE networks are up and running, that's when Apple will seriously begin talking to Verizon about potentially supporting the iPhone. Until then "iPhone on Verizon" rumors aren't even rumors, they're fantasies.



    Also, do we know if the bands AT&T and Verizon are using for LTE will even be compatible? I thought that during the FCC Wireless auction they got separate bands. Did they get exclusive rights to the portion of spectrum they won? What about the what bands the rest of the world is using? All of this is pretty important information in terms of inter-compatability in trying to build a "world phone" that's a lot easier to manufacture.
  • Reply 3 of 99
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,620member
    I've been with CellularOne/Cingular/AT&T for as long as I can remember. I've never had any problems with them at all.



    I think Apple made a good choice to go with AT&T for the U.S. Biggest GSM carrier in the US which also allowed Apple to market the same hardware to other countries using GSM. Good move. Sprint/Verizon on the other hand won't be going anywhere outside the U.S. so not much point to make separate hardware to satisfy them.



    I wonder what the CEO of Verizon thought of after his comments from a few days ago. I guess he's a bit red at the moment.
  • Reply 4 of 99
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,263member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    The article needs to be changed. A non-CDMA iPhone dashes all hopes for Sprint (as far as I know, they'll be using WiMax as their 4G tech) and Verizon until they switch to LTE.



    Common sense dictates that Apple wasn't going to bother with a CDMA phone, especially when carriers are openly switching away from that technology. Since it's also obvious that Apple doesn't have ready an LTE iPhone right now, they were bound to deny any inkling of talking to Verizon.



    Rest assured, in two years when LTE chipsets are mature and Verizon and AT&T's 4G LTE networks are up and running, that's when Apple will seriously begin talking to Verizon about potentially supporting the iPhone. Until then "iPhone on Verizon" rumors aren't even rumors, they're fantasies.



    Getting an iPhone to be LTE ready isn't the problem. Getting the backbone to be LTE ready is the problem. What smart person would wait 2 years from today and plan for another carrier when your current carrier was on a wiser spec with a broader world acceptance, especially when your goal is to sell this phone to the globe, not just to the United States? I'd prefer AT&T incrementally updating to the standard than wait for an entire rip out and replace by Verizon.
  • Reply 5 of 99
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    Wanting to be GSM-only only doesn't explain why Apple hasn't made a deal with T-Mobile. In cities like Seattle, service would be better. I know people with jail-broken iPhones who use T-Mobile because even with a data plan it costs them less. An a lot of us aren't on the go enough to justify $70 or more a month for AT&T's pricey package.
  • Reply 6 of 99
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:

    rival CDMA technology 'doesn't really have a life to it.'



    That ranks right up there with "Blu-ray is a bag of hurt."- UTTER NONSENSE.



    That's why Blu-Ray is having a banner year this year. The snobbery of Apple sometimes is baffling.
  • Reply 7 of 99
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Blu-ray is having a banner year? Does that mean it finally cracked 10% of DVD sales?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    That's why Blu-Ray is having a banner year this year. The snobbery of Apple sometimes is baffling.



  • Reply 8 of 99
    iluomoiluomo Posts: 25member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    I've been with CellularOne/Cingular/AT&T for as long as I can remember. I've never had any problems with them at all.



    Where do you use your phone in SF? It seems inconceivable that you use it around the city much. It's astonishing to me how bad AT&T coverage is. I know the difference because I was on Verizon before. Maybe you think it's good because that's all you've known. But I curse AT&T nearly every day. I never go longer than a day or so without a dropped call or some sort of lacking in service. And this is in my car or outside, not in a building.



    Yesterday, for example, I drove from Potrero Hill all the way to the Marina and did not have 3G coverage until I got there. I know because I wanted to buy a song and couldn't because, while I had bars, I had no 3G or even Edge the whole way over. I finally got a 3G signal outside the Apple Store on Chestnut. By then it didn't matter because I had WIFI. How ludicrous is that?



    The iPhone with all its intensive network functions was in development for quite a while prior to release. AT&T knew the onslaught was coming. Why the hell didn't they start improving their network to handle it? They bill for it, so they should have built it.



    It is only a testament to how much I love the iPhone that I don't dump AT&T and go back to Verizon.
  • Reply 9 of 99
    I don't know about it being the best carrier. I switched over to AT&T from Verizon (which I NEVER had any dropped calls from) because of the iPhone. I can understand why Apple would want to have a phone they can use for the rest of the world, however, I think AT&T's service is very shoddy at best. Dropped calls, inability to make calls is very frustrating. As much as I love my iPhone for its abilities, I can't stand AT&T's service...which is not just in my area (because I travel a lot), it's poor in many places.
  • Reply 10 of 99
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Inkling View Post


    Wanting to be GSM-only only doesn't explain why Apple hasn't made a deal with T-Mobile. In cities like Seattle, service would be better. I know people with jail-broken iPhones who use T-Mobile because even with a data plan it costs them less. An a lot of us aren't on the go enough to justify $70 or more a month for AT&T's pricey package.



    With T-Mobile's limited coverage–great roaming though–I can't see that they are any less than anybody elses. Unless you can differentiate the data plans (http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/Package...d=myFavesPlans)
  • Reply 11 of 99
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,840member
    dunno... Apple might be happy with AT&T but many users aren't.
  • Reply 12 of 99
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    GSM is pretty much gone from the developed world: what ignoramuses call 3G GSM is in fact a variant of CDMA (W-CDMA) . The 3G iPhone already works with W-CDMA, and the W-CDMA world is converging with the CDMA2000 world via LTE.



    So consider the facts:

    1. We know that Apple will release an LTE phone, perhaps as early as June.

    2. Sprint and Verizon will almost certainly be faster to the draw with implementing LTE across their network than ATT will. AI's assumption that an incremental upgrade is easier is full of shit! ATT is still struggling with getting up to 3G standards due to their legacy GSM base. CDMA in any flavor is an easier upgrade to LTE than GSM is, for a plethora of reasons.



    By 2010 we can expect that an iPhone will be workable over non-ATT US carriers, either through "open" iPhone sales or by agreement.
  • Reply 13 of 99
    ajmasajmas Posts: 556member
    Why would Apple need to spend money on a CDMA phone, since:

    - it add to development costs

    - it is already making enough money as it needs to

    - if providers are moving to GSM 4G, then the cost is already delegated.
  • Reply 14 of 99
    gbrangbran Posts: 2member
    I live on the edge of the Kansas City metro area that ATT just doesn't cover. Therefore, I can't get an iPhone. If I lived 20 miles north, no problem -- but where I've chosen to raise my family, no dice. I can get Verizon there, and I can get T-Mobile. I would gladly switch to ATT if it was an option, but it's not. Opening up the iPhone to T-mobile would be an option that I would gladly welcome.
  • Reply 15 of 99
    I'm a little dissappointed (but not surprised) to hear the iPhone is seemingly staying with AT&T, because they themselves are the barrier for entry to me: No native network coverage in Montana. My iPhone options are a choice between getting a jailbroken one and using it on CellularOne's GSM network here, or getting one from Spokane WA or somewhere and risking getting the boot for excessive off-network usage. The lack of coverage seems to be the case for folks in many midwestern/northwestern areas (It was reported in the news here that there is no native AT&T coverage at all in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, or South Dakota), and is the reason that I take issue with Cook's assertion that AT&T is "the best wireless provider in the US."



    I've read reports that AT&T wants to buy Alltel's divested network here and convert it. A glimmer of hope?



    This comes with living in Montana, in any case. I choose access to Glacier National Park over access to AT&T!
  • Reply 16 of 99
    gyokurogyokuro Posts: 83member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post


    dunno... Apple might be happy with AT&T but many users aren't.



    I partially agree with this statement, however, if people are SO upset with the phone service, why is iPhone so successful? Why are Apple making billions including apps, etc? I see it as the best phone/portable device ever created and most people are willing to look beyond its obvious flaws.
  • Reply 17 of 99
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Your facts are pretty well short on facts.



    GSM is used by over 3 billion people around the world.



    Apple won't have an LTE phone in June, there aren't any LTE chips available for phones yet.



    Sprint won't go LTE at all they are using WiMax as their 4G network.



    Exactly what are the reasons you think it will be easier for Verizon to completely switch wireless standards, than for AT&T to continue an extension to its existing wireless standard?



    Verizon doesn't even expect to have its LTE network fully up and running by 2010, I'm not sure why you expect it to.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post


    GSM is pretty much gone from the developed world:



    So consider the facts:

    1. We know that Apple will release an LTE phone, perhaps as early as June.

    2. Sprint and Verizon will almost certainly be faster to the draw with implementing LTE across their network than ATT will. AI's assumption that an incremental upgrade is easier is full of shit! ATT is still struggling with getting up to 3G standards due to their legacy GSM base. CDMA in any flavor is an easier upgrade to LTE than GSM is, for a plethora of reasons.



    By 2010 we can expect that an iPhone will be workable over non-ATT US carriers, either through "open" iPhone sales or by agreement.



  • Reply 18 of 99
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Inkling View Post


    Wanting to be GSM-only only doesn't explain why Apple hasn't made a deal with T-Mobile. In cities like Seattle, service would be better. I know people with jail-broken iPhones who use T-Mobile because even with a data plan it costs them less. An a lot of us aren't on the go enough to justify $70 or more a month for AT&T's pricey package.



    T-Mobile is the 4th largest carrier in the US, they have less coverage than the top 3 and their 3G network was literally non-existent when the original iPhone hit. On top of that, since building up their 3G network they have had to use a different 3G spectrum than AT&T and most of the world on GSM/UMTS-based 3G. They just weren't a good choice for many reasons. In Germany, T-Mobile makes perfect sense.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iluomo View Post


    It seems inconceivable that you use it around the city much. It's astonishing to me how bad AT&T coverage is.



    I'd say that my worst AT&T coverage was in SF and Oakland areas. Sometimes it would literally fluctuate on the handset every few seconds. It's been about a year so I hope things have improved.
  • Reply 19 of 99
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post


    GSM is pretty much gone from the developed world: what ignoramuses call 3G GSM is in fact a variant of CDMA (W-CDMA) . The 3G iPhone already works with W-CDMA, and the W-CDMA world is converging with the CDMA2000 world via LTE.



    So consider the facts:

    1. We know that Apple will release an LTE phone, perhaps as early as June.

    2. Sprint and Verizon will almost certainly be faster to the draw with implementing LTE across their network than ATT will. AI's assumption that an incremental upgrade is easier is full of shit! ATT is still struggling with getting up to 3G standards due to their legacy GSM base. CDMA in any flavor is an easier upgrade to LTE than GSM is, for a plethora of reasons.



    By 2010 we can expect that an iPhone will be workable over non-ATT US carriers, either through "open" iPhone sales or by agreement.



    Wow, there are so many things wrong with what you wrote, it's gonna take forever! But I'll dive in anyway!



    1) "GSM is pretty much gone from the developed world:" - GSM is what everyone uses when W-CDMA (3G) isn't available. The only CDMA carriers I'm aware of are the 2 in North America and a few in Korea, maybe 1 in Japan. That's a far cry from the other 80% of the world that uses GSM as their base technology (3G isn't everywhere). And while CDMA and W-CDMA both have "CDMA" in the name, that doesn't mean they are the same. In face, the correct name for the technology that Verizon and Sprint use is CDMA2000.



    2) "Sprint and Verizon will almost certainly be faster to the draw with implementing LTE across their network than ATT will" - partially true. First, Sprint will be using WiMax, not LTE as their 4G standard (how can you make that slip-up?). Second, Verizon has already stated their LTE rollout will be publically available mid-2010, whereas AT&T will have theirs ready mid-2011. I'll leave defending AT&T for delaying their network by a year to someone else.



    3) "ATT is still struggling with getting up to 3G standards due to their legacy GSM base" - I don't see how upgrading a network will be harder than building a new one as Verizon has to do with LTE.



    4) "CDMA in any flavor is an easier upgrade to LTE than GSM is, for a plethora of reasons." - I don't see how CDMA would be easier to upgrade, considering that LTE is an evolution of GSM, not CDMA.



    5) "By 2010 we can expect that an iPhone will be workable over non-ATT US carriers, either through "open" iPhone sales or by agreement." - Apple is unlikely to use immature chipsets for any phone they produce. See Steve Jobs reasoning for not including a 3G chipset in the original iPhone, plus the decrease in battery life in the iPhone 3G.



    I'd prefer if people use facts when making arguments. Sensational fanboyism really irks me.
  • Reply 20 of 99
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajmas View Post


    Why would Apple need to spend money on a CDMA phone, since:

    - it add to development costs

    - it is already making enough money as it needs to

    - if providers are moving to GSM 4G, then the cost is already delegated.



    Unfortunately, none of those is a valid reason for not doing it. Fortunately, the only reason that matters is the contract between ATT and Apple, and Apple won't be making a CDMA iPhone.
Sign In or Register to comment.