updated 10:10 pm EST, Wed November 17, 2010
Verizon says LTE attracted Apple
Verizon's decision to move to LTE attracted Apple, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said in an interview today. The 4G network both drew Apple in the first place and helped land an iPad deal. He followed his wireless chief Lowell McAdam's strategy of bouncing iPhone questions back to Apple and skipped direct answers to WSJ questions.
"If the iPhone comes to us, it's because Apple thinks it's time," Seidenberg said. "Our interests are beginning to come together more but they have to take steps to align their technology with ours."
The remarks virtually confirm a 4G iPad, although it may not necessarily arrive in the next-generation model. Verizon's network will reach just 38 cities by the end of 2010 and won't get to majority coverage until 2012. LTE is desirable to Apple as most carriers around the world plan to use the standard for cellular data and possibly voice, including AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
A Verizon iPhone is by now considered virtually certain for early 2011 but would use CDMA for voice and EVDO for 3G data.
Tiered pricing has been floated as a likely change coming along with LTE, but it might also come with segmentation based on speed, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said. Much like landline access, Verizon could limit a connection to as little as 1Mbps or peak the speed at the observed 12Mbps high-end speeds or whatever it could realistically expect by launch. Transfer limits might also persist in this vision.
Seidenberg reiterated a company point of view and cautioned that Verizon wouldn't necessarily end unlimited plans. The provider needed to "figure out what the customer thinks is fair" and gauge what to use at that point. It recently added a $15, 150MB light plan but kept the $30 unlimited plan. Its rival AT&T has dropped all unlimited data and offers 2GB on smartphones and tablets.
More details are likely to be made public at Verizon's CES keynote in Las Vegas, on January 6.