Verizon: iPhone 5 Will Be A “Global Device” That Will Work On Any Network

Verizon: iPhone 5 Will Be A “Global Device” That Will Work On Any Network

Right now, there are effectively two iPhone 4s: the CDMA version and the GSM version. From an American viewpoint, one runs on Verizon, the other runs on AT&T, but are otherwise identical handsets… yet because of the vagaries of cellular communication technologies, these handsets are actually tangibly different phones.

This isn’t the sort of situation Apple likes. They avoid forking hardware as much as possible, and if they are forced to fork a product — as they did with iOS when the original iPad was released — they converge those tines into a single product as quickly possible (in this example, iOS 4.1).

So we know that eventually, Apple just wants to make one iPhone that they can sell on both CDMA and GSM networks. And according to Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo speaking at their quarterly earnings conference call, that iPhone will be the iPhone 5, a truly “global device.”

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo, asked about the sluggishness of the company’s ARPU growth in Q1, when the iPhone was introduced – growth was just 2.2%, compared to 2.5% in Q4, remarked:

“The fluctuation, I believe, will come when a new device from Apple is launched, whenever that may be, and that we will be, on the first time, on equal footing with our competitors on a new phone hitting the market, which will also be a global device.”

The technology’s already there, of course. Inside the Verizon iPhone 4 is a Qualcomm chipset that would technically allow the CDMA iPhone to run on any GSM or CDMA network around the world, but it’s not a chipset design issue alone: there’s also the antenna to consider.

If Shammo’s right, expect the tines to converge again in September, when Apple releases the iPhone 5. And expect the iPhone 5 to have a very different antenna design at that.

[via Macrumors]

  • bplano

    So, theoretically, I could get an unlocked iPhone 5 and throw it on any carrier? Or would it be unlocked from the beginning, so to speak, so that once my original contract ended I could switch from CDMA to GSM?

  • Shawn Dildine

    I am honestly not surprised by this. I think that its the smart thing to do because why would Apple want to spend more money making two different phones when they can have just one? I am just waiting for the new iPhone to come out in July, September, or whenever.

  • prof_peabody

    No one knows for sure, but since the USA is one of the last countries in the world to have unlocked iPhones, it would make sense for Apple to add “completely unlocked,” to “works anywhere” (even for the USA this time).

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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