Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

Summary: Apple is reportedly making CDMA iPhones for some carrier. But that carrier doesn't appear to be Verizon Wireless. That leaves Sprint as a new iPhone carrier.

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Apple is reportedly making CDMA iPhones for some carrier. But that carrier doesn't appear to be Verizon Wireless.

On Wednesday, Susquehanna Financial Group Jeffrey Fidacaro said in a research note:

In line with expectations for an early CY11 launch of a CDMA iPhone, our checks indicate that 1QFY11 (December) CDMA iPhone production estimates are currently at 3 mln (unchanged from last month), putting total iPhone production (3 GS, iPhone 4, CDMA iPhone) at 21 mln-22 mln (up 5% from 20 mln-21 mln units previously). The slight increase is indicative of continued demand for iPhone 4 and increased distribution.

The natural assumption is that the iPhone would go to Verizon.

And then Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg spoke at the Goldman Sachs conference Thursday morning.

The key highlights from Seidenberg's talk via AP and the Wall Street Journal:

  • Verizon doesn't have an iPhone deficit and is doing fine with Android.
  • Apple will hopefully build devices for Verizon's LTE network at some point and "get with the program."
  • Tiered pricing is likely next year.

Sure doesn't sound like Verizon is plotting an iPhone launch. That leaves Sprint as a natural carrier for the iPhone in the U.S. A 4G WiMax iPhone could be pretty powerful.

Update:

Here's what Seidenberg said about landing  the iPhone for Verizon:

This is like the Knicks getting Carmelo Anthony, you know. Like it would be really good if the Knicks got Carmelo Anthony but they have to play the game to get him. Right? So here is kind of like the way I would look at that. We have worked hard to make our network a destination for all the suppliers to develop devices and equipment. Because we think we have the best value proposition to attract customers. So that is our view.

So the iPhone, AT&T has done a wonderful job with it, Apple obviously has done a wonderful job with it. We were not in the game because it was GSM-based, it was global standard, really not there. We have worked hard at building a franchise out of Droid which proves that if there is an alternative, an acceptable alternative to the iPhone, and a great network and a great distribution channel, the market will go that direction.

I’m hoping that the success we have had with the Droid will lead us to the place where Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Huawei even, will want to build 4G devices and accelerate the ecosystem development so that the number of devices that will be available on 4G will be extraordinary. And our view would be we would want to carry them all.

I can’t speak for Apple but my view is there is a lot of momentum in the industry for people to move on the 4G issues quicker. Now there was a fear that we build a network and that the devices wouldn’t be there. Well, we are going to have a tablet. We have already announced one. There will be other tablets coming out. We have got a device lineup that would include some 4G capability starting in the first quarter.

We don’t feel like we have an iPhone deficit. We would love to carry it when we get there but we have to earn it. And I think what we need to do is show all the suppliers that we have equal treatment and we have the best network for people to put all their equipment on. So the answer to your question is I am believing that 4G will accelerate the process and any other decisions that Apple makes would be fine with us and I think we are running our business to make ourselves the destination for all of the key tablets and devices and hopefully at some point, Apple will get with the program.

Topics: Verizon, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos

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16 comments
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  • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

    Here we go again...how many Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile stories have we seen in the past two years?

    Can we just wait and see until someone actually announces they are going to carry the iPhone besides AT&T?
    cyberslammer
    • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

      @cyberslammer

      Hey they haven't mentioned US Cellular yet as a rumor. But I agree, stop with the rumors and hold out for an official announcement at this point. They already have CDMA iPhones over in Europe do they not?
      bobiroc
      • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

        @bobiroc
        CDMA is almost exclusively a U.S. deployed technology. There has been much speculation that one of the reasons Apple developed the iPhone for GSM only is that Apple was looking for the one technology with the most widespread use. To date there is no CDMA iPhone being sold.
        use_what_works_4_U
      • Actually, Biggest CDMA Growth is not in America!

        @bobiroc
        China's CDMA market is predicted to not only top Verizon but to top 100 million in th next two years. India too has a large growing CDMA market. If you were Apple it'd make a lot more sense to get into that market than into either Sprint (a marginal growth company) or Verizon when both China and India are expected to out pace them both!

        Plus the only place where a CDMA iPhone is even being tested is in China! ...what does that tell you? Neither Verizon nor Sprint are testing any iPhone and the ones being tested in China wouldn't even work here, because they are being designed to only work in that market!
        i2fun@...
      • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

        @macadam

        Apple developed a prototype with CDMA to present to Verizon. Likewise, they signed a licensing deal with Qualcomm. So although they dont sell a cdma phone, they certainly could if they wanted to.

        When the 4G LTE iphone comes out, it will initially need to support cdma/evdo for it to work on cdma carriers networks. (Obviously the phone already supports the legacy GSM for the gsm carrier networks.)
        otaddy
  • Sprint 4G/WiMax iPhone with Sprint's unlimited plans...

    That would be great news, if true. Unlimited everything at breakneck speeds would be a dream for heavy iPhone users.
    BillDem
  • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

    China has a HUGE CDMA network
    blknyc32
    • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

      @blknyc32 Are we ever going to see real 4G speeds in the US? I get better speeds on AT&Ts 3G in NYC then Sprint 4G
      blknyc32
      • have you contacted Sprint about their wiMax?

        @blknyc32

        Sounds like you arent accessing the 4G WiMax network.
        Have you done any troubleshooting? Its gotta be a device or network problem.
        otaddy
  • I just really want iphone

    been a sprint customer for years have a mac at home. I really want the iphone to come to sprint. sprint is the best network anyway. Free mobile to mobile calling makes it the most affordable plan!
    shofalijindal@...
  • Sprint?

    Sprint? You mean that substandard network no one I even know has?<br><br>Sprint!?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      I've been a Sprint customer since 2007. I started with Verizon, but Sprint is a better value for the money.
      DonRupertBitByte
    • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

      @Cylon Centurion 0005 I was with them for years - the network itself is pretty solid but the CS and the bogus charges on my bill is what drove me away from Sprint... I had a sweet SERO plan (450 min, unlimited data, unlimited text, insurance, N&W @7pm - my entire bill was $41/m) but when they decided to tack on a business internet plan (again on a plan that already had unlimited data) that took 3 months, daily emails, weekly calls, and all the reps verifying that I had the plan I had every single time before the charges were finally removed and THEN to be told I could not buy the Samsung Instinct because it required a plan with unlimited data (which I had) that was the final straw for me. I went to AT&T, got an iPhone 3G, and have not looked back.
      athynz
  • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

    The problem with Verizon's thought process is that in the end, they will be the only benefactors, profit wise, wrt Android. Right now, Android handset makers are making very little profit from their devices and that will only get worst once chinese manufacturers start entering the market. In a year or two, Android handset makers will come to realize that Android truly is a race to the bottom. Of course Google will continue to push the idea that Android is open and provides choice because they, and they only, care about the market share numbers for advert reasons. But it looks like Verizon is exerting more and more control, not of just the medium for which to communicate, but the actual hardware. From licensing agreements with Skype, Bing placement and the introduction of their app store to replace Google's market, the writing is on the wall and it doesn't look good.
    Rabidcb
  • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

    "We have worked hard at building a franchise out of <b>Droid</b> which proves that if there is an alternative, an acceptable alternative to the iPhone, and a great network and a great distribution channel, the market will go that direction."<br><br>Basically they tried to build up Droid as their own iPhone on the network, pushing it hard with ads and even giving them away in their two-for-one deals. And still the iPhone remains the #1 phone to have and a large percentage of Verizon customers want it. I wonder what percentage of AT&T customers want the Droid?
    dave95.
  • RE: Apple's iPhone going to Sprint?

    The iPhone could find a market with with Sprint especially if Sprint can't keep enough Evo's in stock to keep up the orders. But it even coming to Sprint is a big if!
    tommcd64