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Will the iPhone Be Better on Verizon?

by Jack McGrath | January 9, 2011January 9, 2011 1:56 am PDT

Though the possibility of the iPhone becoming available on Verizon’s CDMA network is causing a buzz throughout the tech universe, it does have some rather large hurdles to overcome before it can be as savvy as its AT&T brother. There will be features missing from the CDMA iPhone that many early adopters will notice almost immediately. Will they detract from the user experience? Is this why Apple has waited so long before dropping its exclusivity agreement with AT&T?

There is a basic difference between Verizon’s network and AT&T’s – the former runs on a standard called CDMA and the latter on UMTS. This requires manufacturers to construct different antennae for phones running on multiple carriers, a reason why one cannot access Verizon’s network on an unlocked iPhone.

This difference is significant enough that it takes away one key feature from the device – multitasking. A UMTS phone allows users to browse the web and talk on the phone simultaneously, while CDMA offering can only allow a user to do one or the other in a single session. A technical fix will be made available by later this year, but many businesspeople and casual consumers alike rely on this sort of “on-the-go” multitasking.

CDMA also limits the iPhone internationally, as UMTS bands are generally more available overseas, meaning that the international traveller will suffer by purchasing a Verizon iteration. The Verizon-specific network also forces devices to chew through battery life faster.

According to a survey conducted by Credit Suisse, about 23 percent of current iPhone users said that they would switch to Verizon as quickly as the device becomes available. Market analysis says that this is due to the fact that many perceive Verizon’s network to be more stable despite the fact that AT&T has made steps to fix their network.

What do you think? Will the technical limitations hurt the success of the Verizon iPhone? Will AT&T see significant subscription loss? Let us know.


Jack McGrath

Rooted in his childhood obsession with dismantling and reassembling gizmos and gadgets around the house, Jack McGrath's knowledge of programming,...

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