Tag Archives: lte

AT&T Singles Out iPhone For Likely Record Smartphone Sales

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AT&T appears to be the latest announcing higher iPhone sales. Continued “strong” demand for iPhone 4S likely will push the carrier beyond its previous single-quarter record sales of 6.1 million smartphones — and a month still remains before the end of the fourth quarter. The news isn’t too surprising, given in October AT&T activated 1 million iPhone 4S handsets in just five days.

In just the first two months of the quarter, the carrier sold 6 million smartphones, AT&T announced today. Earlier today, we reported other predictions of a record quarter for the iPhone. Citing “supplier checks,” Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu told investors he expects Apple will sell 28 million iPhones during the holiday quarter, up from an earlier forecasted 26 million. Despite “much improved production capacity,” supply for the handsets still can’t keep with the demand.

Although AT&T did not mention specific iPhone sales figures for the quarter, the Apple handset was the only smartphone mentioned by name. During the previous quarter, the iPhone comprised 56 percent of AT&T smartphone additions, or 2.7 million handsets. By comparison, rival Verizon posted 700,000 iPhone activations for the third quarter.

AT&T also updated investors on its progress building out an LTE network ahead of the LTE-enabled iPhone expected in early 2012. The carrier announced New York City would get LTE this month with 70 million people covered by AT&T’s 4G network by the end of 2011.

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Sprint Delays LTE Rollout To Late 2012, Just In Time For iPhone 5

Photo by evo_terra - http://flic.kr/p/8dy8s4

Sprint may want to rename its “Now Network” to the “Later Is Better Than Never Network” after the carrier’s finance chief pushed back 4G LTE to late 2012. Although the new delay puts the third-place wireless carrier further behind Verizon and AT&T, the new rollout date for the faster network should coincide with Apple’s iPhone 5, expected to use LTE.

The announcement came in a webcast by Sprint’s chief financial officer, Joe Eutenauer. “We believe LTE is the key to our future,” Euteneuer told the UBS webcast interviewer. Earlier this fall, Sprint introduced a new base station that supports both LTE and 3G.

The delay puts Sprint even further behind its rivals’ support of LTE. By the latter part of 2012, Verizon Wireless will have more than two dozen markets where LTE is available. AT&T’s 4G network is available in 15 markets now. Although some fans were disappointed the iPhone 4S unveiled in October did not support LTE, speculation is mounting that the next iPhone, perhaps released in Spring 2012 (but more likely to release in October 2012, will support the faster network. If so, Sprint’s faster network would be right on time — that’s if there are no more delays, like todays.

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U.S. Cellular: We’ll take the iPhone when Apple gives us LTE

It’s a common misconception that Apple is picking winners and losers among the wireless operators by bestowing or withholding the iPhone, but U.S. Cellular and its parent company TDS prove otherwise. TDS CEO Ted Carlson told attendees of a UBS analyst conference Monday that U.S. Cellular is waiting for Apple to offer a more “cutting edge” iPhone before U.S. Cellular would be willing to take the risk of selling it, FierceWireless reported. By cutting edge, U.S. Cellular means LTE.

In November, U.S. Cellular revealed that Apple had offered it the CDMA variant of the iPhone, but it declined, saying it couldn’t make the economics work. That makes a lot of sense in this case: selling the iPhone requires enormous upfront subsidies from wireless operators, leading U.S. Cellular to question the model’s profitability. In addition, the smartphone takes a tremendous toll on operators’ data networks.

Other regional operators like C Spire have risen to the challenge, but C Spire doesn’t have what U.S. Cellular has: a big, dense, data-hungry market like Chicago. U.S. Cellular only has 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in Chicago, with which it serves a tightly packed population of more than 13 million. U.S. Cellular doesn’t have that many 1X voice and EV-DO data carriers to go around. The iPhone’s enormous data impact likely would force U.S. Cellular to shift more voice channels to EV-DO, which might upset the delicate balance between voice and data services it has in Chicago.

The smarter thing to do, from U.S. Cellular’s perspective, is wait until Apple births an LTE smartphone, presumably the iPhone 5. U.S. Cellular plans to launch its own LTE network within the month, starting in smaller markets across its regional footprint.

But if U.S. Cellular does plan to support the LTE iPhone, it won’t launch it in Chicago – at least not with its current spectrum holdings. The operator failed to pick up any 700 MHz spectrum at auction in its flagship market, though it picked up licenses in all of the surrounding regions. U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless have filed a petition with the FCC to swap some of the former’s PCS spectrum throughout the country for some of the latter’s 700 MHz spectrum in Illinois and Indiana. If Chicago is part of that deal – and Verizon is flush with Windy City frequencies – then U.S. Cellular can build a complete iPhone-worthy 4G network.

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Apple On Track To Launch 4G-Equipped iPad And iPhone Next Year [Rumor]

In the latest report regarding Apple’s future adoption of LTE/4G for its mobile devices, Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo is allegedly set to release a 4G-equipped iPad in the summer of 2012. An LTE-equppied iPhone is then set to premiere in the fall of next year.

We’ve been hearing whispers about a 4G/LTE-flavored iPhone for quite some time, and Macotakara is relaying that Apple has been in talks with carriers about making 4G a reality for its next-generation devices.

Executives from NTT DoCoMo reportedly visited Apple in the U.S. this month and met with CEO Tim Cook. Apparently Apple is looking to release a 4G iPad next year, if this report is to be believed.

A recent report from The Wall Street Journal said that Apple and NTT DoCoMo had been unable to reach an agreement, mainly due to the fact that NTT DoCoMo wanted Apple to let it install its own pre-loaded apps on the iPhone. While Apple will obviously never let such a thing happen, the two seem to have reached some sort of deal that is in the final stages of negotiations.

Carriers are heavily promoting 4G Android devices in advertising campaigns and print marketing. Many analysts believe that Apple must release a 4G iPhone next year to stay relevant. We find that hard to believe, since Apple released a non-4G iPhone this year and it seems to be doing just fine.

(via AppleInsider)

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Japan rumor: LTE iPad 3 coming in summer 2012, LTE iPhone 5 in Fall

According to the Japanese blog Macotakara, which relayed a Nikkei Business story, Apple is gearing up for a 2012 release of both 4G LTE iPhone and iPad on NTT DoCoMo, the predominant mobile phone operator in Japan. According to the machine-translated article:

NTT DOCOMO releases iPad for LTE in the summer of next year and releases iPhone for LTE by autumn.

The Fall 2011 timeframe for a 4G LTE iPhone 5 sounds right as it’s about a year since the October 14 debut of iPhone 4S. The carrier’s president Kiyoyuki Tsujimura and vice president Takashi Yamada allegedly met with Apple CEO Tim Cook mid-November to discuss the deal. They reportedly “agreed in principle” to sell both the next-generation iPhone and iPad. The executives apparently pinned down the rules of the game at the meeting, including order commitment.

Despite the rumor-mill insisting that Apple was readying a 4G LTE iPhone, the company’s management downplayed the fourth-generation Long Term Evolution radio technology because the current crop of 4G LTE chips are not fully optimized for low power consumption on mobile devices. Apple’s chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said on an April 2011 earnings call:

The first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make.

The Wall Street Journal reported mid-November that negotiations with carriers in Asia came to a standstill because Apple was requiring iPhone sellers to commit to too large a volume. Additionally, NTT DoCoMo wanted to control what software goes on users’ iPhones, a concession Apple was unwilling to make.

Apple doesn’t have a prior distribution agreement with NTT DoCoMo. Instead, the Cupertino, California designer of gadgets partnered with local carrier Softbank to sell the handset to customers in Japan. Beginning with iPhone 4S, Softbank’s exclusivity ended as Apple cut an agreement with au/KDDI. As you know, 9to5Mac yesterday discovered evidence pointing to a next-generation iPhone and iPad in the code of iOS 5.1 Beta, which was seeded to developers on Monday. An iPhone 5,1 reference is of particular interest as it indicates a major iPhone update likely involving Apple’s A6 chip, designed in-house and believed to sport four ARM Cortex A15 processing cores and an unknown graphics core. An iPad 2,4 reference, which we also discovered in iOS 5.1 Beta code, implies a carrier variation, which could mean anything from a 4G LTE version to a GSM+CDMA dual-mode device to a Sprint iPad 2 or something completely new. In a somewhat related iPhone news, carrier China Unicom is said to be awaiting the final paperwork to begin selling iPhone 4S in China. The country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently finished testing the device, it passed the necessary wireless regulatory tests and is now certified for public consumption. China, the 1.33 billion people market, recently overtook the United States to become the world’s leading market for smartphones. Accounting for twelve percent of Apple’s fiscal 2011 revenue, or about fifteen billion dollars, China is increasingly becoming one of Apple’s key growth regions.

FCC Chairman: I’m Going To Kill This Anti-Competitive AT&T / T-Mobile Deal

Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Communication Commission, has spoken out about AT&T’s proposed acquisition of  T-Mobile and deemed the merger to be against the public interest. Genachowski has called for commissioners to vote for an administrative public hearing against the $39 billion, which could prove to be a huge setback for the two carriers.

Genachowski issued a draft order today in which he asks the other four commissioners to call for an administrative hearing, and says the merger would create an “unprecedented” level of concentration in the wireless market. He argues that it is impossible to see how the deal could be beneficial to the U.S. public.

As you’d expect, AT&T isn’t happy about the move. Larry Solomon, the carrier’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, said the FCC’s actions are disappointing, and that the U.S. economy “desperately” needs the jobs that the merger will create:

“The FCC’s action today is disappointing. It is yet another example of a government agency acting to prevent billions in new investment and the creation of many thousands of new jobs at a time when the US economy desperately needs both.”

However, the FCC disagrees, and claims that in fact, jobs would be lost as redundant positions are cut as part of the move. While AT&T claims jobs will be created for the rollout of the company’s 4G LTE network, the FCC argues that there’s no evidence to suggest the buyout would help speed up the proposed 4G rollout.

The FCC isn’t the first to oppose the merger; unsurprisingly, Sprint has also filed a formal petition with the FCC against the deal. As things stand, it’s certainly not looking good for AT&T.

[via AppleInsider]

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Is This The Next-Gen LTE Chipset That The iPad 3 And iPhone 5 Have Been Waiting For?

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been blunt about Cupertino’s plans for adopting LTE: they’d love to, but they’re waiting on next-gen LTE chipsets that aren’t so power-thirsty they’ll turn your iPhone’s battery pack into a desiccated husk within seconds of flipping the 4G radio on.

Well, Qualcomm may have just announced the next-gen LTE chipset that might finally allow Apple to roll out 4G speeds to iDevices in 2012.

The chipset is the Gobi 4000 for 4g LTE and HSPA+ devices, and it’s also backwards compatible with HSPA and EV-DO. The chips are based on Qualcomm’s MDM9600 and MDM 9200 3G/4G wireless partners. Devices coming up that will come with LG’s LTE chipset includes future Lenovo ThinkPads and Dell’s Latitude laptops.

But what about Apple, who has been leaning towards Qualcomm Gobi chips for the last year? While the press release obviously doesn’t mention Apple by name, we’d say it’s very possible that the Gobi 4000 LTE chipset is going to make its way into Apple’s devices next year… starting with the iPad 3.

Why the iPad 3? A few reasons.

One, Apple’s already been seen testing LTE iPads in the wild as recently as August.

Second, even with next-gen chips, LTE is likely to suck up more battery than existing 3G chipsets… and as far as sheer battery volume is concerned, the iPad has more of it to spare than the iPhone, making it a great test platform.

Finally, the iPad’s pricing structure already attaches a $130 premium to the price of any 3G iPad. Apple could price 4G iPads with a similar premium.

If you think about it, Apple’s going to have a lot of problem rolling out LTE in the next year. The only network who is really ready for LTE is Verizon, with AT&T and now Sprint now scrambling to catch up. Releasing an iPhone with LTE first guarantees that these still weak networks will be absolutely crushed. But if Apple releases iPads with LTE first and prices the LTE models with a premium, Cupertino can test out LTE’s affects on the networks and their devices’ battery life on a manageable number of tablets… all while raking in money hand-over-first.

What do you think? iPad 3 w/ Wi-Fi + 3G + LTE in 2012? Let us know in the comments.

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