At this point, many say that it has been all but confirmed that Verizon, an American wireless company, will launch the iPhone 4. Today Verizon is holding a media event at which almost everyone who has any knowledge of iPhones and Verizon expects the CDMA iPhone 4 announcement.
While this is going to be great for Apple’s bottom line and increasing stock price, and also great for Verizon, its customers, and the thousands switching from AT&T to Verizon, I am more curious about what this means for Canada.
As we all know, Telus and Bell created a joint HSPA+ network in order to launch the iPhone and compete with Rogers/Fido. Telus and Bell spent a lot of cash on expanding their network and it’s safe to say that it is probably paying off.
However, before HSPA+, which is a 3G-only type of network (no EDGE, GSM, etc), Telus and Bell proudly operated Canada-wide CDMA networks and these networks were good. Like really good. I would even say that they were better than the Rogers/Fido coverage, since CDMA at the time ran on both Analog and Digital signals, giving cellular access to the most remote places in Canada.
With the upcoming launch of the CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon, what does this mean for Canadians? Well, it could mean a couple of things.
First, Telus and Bell/Virgin Mobile could be receiving CDMA-based iPhone 4 devices. This would not make their HSPA+ iPhone 4 device obsolete, but instead would deliver iPhone service to the many remote areas in Canada that customers have been unable to use an iPhone because of the lack of HSPA+ coverage. Such a device would also undoubtedly be available at an Apple Store as an outright and unlocked purchase.
Secondly, this CDMA iPhone 4 could mean that Verizon will be receiving an iPhone 4 that is both CDMA and GSM. In other words, this device would carry all the required wireless bands for CDMA, but also the bands and SIM card for GSM networks. Such a device would almost certainly replace every retail iPhone 4 at the Apple Store and also effectively make our existing iPhone 4 devices obsolete.
While the fundamental function of the device would not change, those with a CDMA/GSM iPhone 4 would have significantly more network access across Canada and abroad than we would with our GSM or HSPA+ iPhone 4 devices.
Thirdly, this CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon could simply mean nothing for Canadians. Verizon will get the device and that’s it. Canadians, and the rest of the world, will await and anticipate the iPhone 5 with not a care for the CDMA iPhone 4 on Verizon.
We have heard nothing from Telus or Bell recently regarding the adoption of such a CDMA iPhone 4, but who knows how this will play out. I guess we will wait and see.