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Apple readying dual-mode GSM/CDMA iPhone?

updated 09:50 pm EST, Fri November 6, 2009

iPhone may have CDMA option next year

An analyst report sent today hints at Apple producing an iPhone that would work with both GSM and CDMA networks. The OTR Global note obtained by AppleInsider claims to know of an iPhone in development with a hybrid Qualcomm chipset that will support the two normally incompatible standards. It would support UMTS-based 3G on carriers like AT&T and would presumably support EVDO-based 3G on Verizon and similar CDMA carriers.

Dual-mode phones like these have existed for years but typically require two chipsets and often have extremely limited UMTS and HSPA 3G support, often at the behest of CDMA carriers that want to prevent customers from switching to a local UMTS/HSPA rival like AT&T.

The same researcher claims that Taiwan-area contractor Pegatron would build this phone to diversify Apple's suppliers away from Foxconn alone and that a smaller model will be involved. The news corroborates rumors of a 2.8-inch screen last summer as well as talk of an "iPhone lite" destined for Verizon. If true, OTR Global's note would have the device ship in summer of next year, or just in time for the third anniversary of the iPhone and the possible end of AT&T's extended exclusivity deal with Apple.

Rumors of a Verizon iPhone have often been contentious and have regularly contradicted Apple's own stance by suggesting Apple would make a CDMA-only device; the Cupertino-based company has dismissed CDMA as a "dead" standard and warned that a CDMA version would force it to produce two separate devices when it only wants one. A hybrid that supports both GSM and CDMA would let Apple continue to make one product but support Verizon customers and potentially Sprint, Cellular South and other previously overlooked carriers.

Alleged smaller iPhone prototypes from summer 2008; the 3.2-inch example hasn't been mentioned in the new report (via iLounge).

by MacNN Staff



  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bell and Telus have switched to HSPA

    This is wishful thinking on the part of Verizon fanboys.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    With even the CDMA carriers switching to LTE (a GSM standard) by next year, there is absolutely no reason for Apple to provide a CDMA phone - even outside the US, CDMA represents an incredible minority, and even those carriers have committed to LTE as well.

    Verizon fanboy wetdreams

  1. julyjoes

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I appreciate it.....

    We would really appreciate the prices for such phones. We have the two networks in Kenya and this would be greatly convenience customers of both networks.

  1. joesporleder

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wrong . . .

    I'm not a Verizon fanboy, it's just that Verizon is the only carrier in my part of the world. You are also wrong that the CDMA carriers (particularly Verizon for example) are switching to LTE by next year. It ain't gonna happen that fast. They might have a few of their markets with LTE by the end of 2010, but they won't finish a nationwide build-out in all of their market area until late 2013 or early 2014.

  1. coxt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This means dual core ARM

    All this means it Apple will be able to load a software based radio onto the iPhone, we already do this and have a rugged smart phone using the same chipset. Makes it easier/cheaper to manufacture devices for both standard easily.

    But what is does mean is the iPhone will have a dual core ARM processor. One will be dedicated to run the software cell phone, the other for normal OS and software. Good for marketing but nothing extra for the consumer!

    The reason for this is there are CDMA networks outside North America, and these markets still have huge customer base. It may not be as large as the global GSM market but its worth the investment. But it may also be a sign that Apple are aiming the iPhone at large USA corporate customers with this new phone, for most of the part still use CDMA.

    There are reasons why big corp America still likes CDMA, the most important is the lack of a SIM card and locking users into phones and multi-year payment plans, which has always confused me why companies allow themselves to get involved with. This is something Apple would also like to have for CDMA customers, theres no jail breaking CDMA phones!!!

    Note: It does not mean consumers will have an iPhone with GSM and CDMA at the same time!@@ The benefit is only for the manufacture,.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Makes phones & simply puts a different board in them depending who its selling to.

    - A

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Well, well, well....

    Looks like Apple is trying to suck up to Verizon, begging on their hands and knees to put the iPhone on the Nations Best 3G Coverage Network!

    "Oh Mr. Seidenberg, please allow us to place our humble iPhone 3GS World Phone on your kick a** network" "We've learned our lesson with AT&T and we're willing to loose our massive phone subsidy just so we can sell more iPhones to your loyal customers".

    (Seidenberg)"Thank you Mr. Jobs, we'll think about it..." "I'll get back to you."

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Correct

    With even the CDMA carriers switching to LTE (a GSM standard) by next year, there is absolutely no reason for Apple to provide a CDMA phone - .

    You people are smoking something really strong.

    Carriers will be switching to LTE in the next year or two. But you all make it sound like all Verizon has to do is throw a switch and, BAM!, their entire network is LTE.

    Let's look at ATT's 3G rollout. How long have they been working on that? And how far has it gotten? That's what I thought.

    LTE is going to be the same process. It will be a slow rollout across the US that will take years. Yet you all seem to think that, since it starts in 2010, h***, there's no need for backwards compatibility (oops, I forgot, it's Apple - knowing them, they'll release an LTE phone and take out all 3G/2G connectivity, and tell you to upgrade your service).

    And the only reason there's no CDMA phone right now is that Verizon turned down Apple for the iPhone. If they agreed, you'd all be using a CDMA or a dual CDMA/GSM phone right now and telling everyone how great it was to have choice of carrier, and how Apple is so forward thinking. But, no. They went with Cingular. And now GSM is all that and a bag of chips, and all other be damned.

    even outside the US, CDMA represents an incredible minority, and even those carriers have committed to LTE as well

    Which implies that inside the US it is an incredible minority. I guess if you don't count like half the cell phone using population, you're probably right.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh, and

    With even the CDMA carriers switching to LTE (a GSM standard)

    What is that supposed to mean? GSM is a standard. How can LTE be a GSM standard?

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