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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 6, 2010 at 3:22 PM

More details on Verizon LTE, iPhone

More details are coming out about Verizon’s LTE (4G) rollout and the rumored arrival of the iPhone on the company’s network.

For starters, don’t count on an actual 4G iPhone from Verizon anytime soon.

The company’s LTE network will go live in Seattle and 37 other metro areas by the end of the year but will only work with laptop wireless cards and USB sticks to start. Verizon won’t be selling LTE phones until the middle of 2011.

It doesn’t sound like Apple’s iPhone will be the debut smartphone on the network. Verizon today said Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt will be on stage in January when the first batch of LTE devices are announced, according to Tricia Duryee’s writeup of Verizon’s CTIA press conference today.

That means Android phones will be the first on Verizon’s LTE network.

At the same CTIA event, Verizon President and Chief Operating Officer Lowell McAdam tamped down the latest rumors of a Verizon iPhone, a story in the Wall Street Journal saying a Verizon iPhone will be available in early 2011.

McAdam said the story “is something that rolls out every few weeks,” Tricia reported.

The key McAdam quote suggests Apple may be aiming toward the LTE network, but that would mean mid to late 2011 at the earliest:

“Apple has to be the one that makes that announcement. I expect at some point in time our business interests will align and I think LTE is a reason why they’d want to have a device or tablet on our network.”

In the meantime, Verizon’s LTE network will bring superfast mobile speeds but incomplete regional coverage. The company’s announcement said service will extend from Lynnwood to Fife and Issquah to Seattle’s waterfront, but a spokesman told me Vashon will also be included.

Kitsap County will have to wait, as will much of Pierce and Snohomish counties and the rest of Washington.

“This is just the first phase. Each year we’ll be adding substantially,” spokesman Scott Charlston said.

The Journal story on the iPhone quoted anonymous “people briefed by Apple” saying it was developing a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 for Verizon, to sell in early 2011. That means it would be another 3G phone with a misleading “4” in the name, but maybe switching to CDMA will fix the antenna flaw.

You’ve got to wonder if the leak to the Journal was perhaps intended to keep Apple stock’s momentum going. Otherwise it could have been a rough week, heading into Monday’s launch of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.

On Tuesday Apple lost a $625 million patent suit, for infringing on a Yale professor’s work.

The same day, Nielsen reported that Android phones overtook the iPhone in smartphone sales over the last six months. That lead’s probably going to continue with the new Android G2 and MyTouch phones announced recently by T-Mobile USA, the first to use the fast HSPA Plus service.

AT&T is also preparing HSPA Plus service, promising 4G-like speeds until its LTE network is ready, but the faster speeds will require a new phone.

Meanwhile, AppleTV’s arrival late last week was underwhelming, and may be overshadowed by GoogleTV announcements today and Tuesday.

Quick, someone float the Verizon iPhone story again!

Comments | More in | Topics: Android, Apple, apple


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