Faced with losing iPhone exclusivity and millions of customers to Verizon, AT&T is waging a war of words with its arch-nemesis, saying its technology is superior. Verizon is reportedly revving up to introduce a CDMA iPhone on Tuesday, and AT&T knows something big is coming its way, so it began to attack Verizon.
AT&T PR boss Larry Solomon told Business Insider that AT&T's GSM technology is faster than Verizon's CDMA technology: "The iPhone is built for speed, but that's not what you get with a CDMA phone. I'm not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane." Solomon launched a tirade against Verizon, essentially confirming Verizon is indeed getting the iPhone, ending three years of AT&T exclusivity. Verizon is yet to comment on AT&T's lashing out, and probably won't comment until the iPhone announcement on Tuesday.
GSM Vs CDMA: War of The Worlds
AT&T runs on a standard called UMTS, while Verizon runs on CDMA, something that did not allow iPhone users to go with Verizon by now. T-Mobile is also a UMTS carrier, while Sprint relies on CDMA technology. CDMA is widely used in the U.S., but less elsewhere in the world, which is why Apple probably went with AT&T from the beginning, so that it could sell the same model of the iPhone all over the world.
Since 2007, when the first iPhone was launched, the millions of data-hungry iPhone users have brought AT&T's network to its knees on several occasions. While iPhone users outside the U.S. were enjoying MMS and tethering, U.S. users had to wait almost a year until AT&T implemented the data-consuming features.
The terrific data demand on AT&T's network because of the iPhone has given the carrier a bad reputation among consumers and pundits, and was even the target of a jealous advertising campaign by Verizon, which poked fun at AT&T's 3G coverage. Despite these negatives, millions of people bought the iPhone 4 last summer, accepting a two-year contract with AT&T.
This brings us to the Verizon iPhone, a long-expected and oft-rumored gadget consumers wanted in order to bypass AT&T's network in favor of the prestige of Verizon's network. Now, it looks like the long-awaited moment has arrived, and the Verizon iPhone is becomes a reality, taking with it millions of unsatisfied AT&T customers, according to analysts' estimates. The cherry on top of the Verizon iPhone could be the unlimited data plan the carrier is reportedly planning. AT&T has stopped offering unlimited data plans last June.
Verizon presumably could not be much happier about the CDMA iPhone, because even with Android's popularity surging, the carrier did not achieve record sales with a single Android device that could even compare with the first-month sales of the iPhone. Verizon has a chance to top those numbers, however, with the CDMA iPhone.
But the Verizon iPhone could be missing something that AT&T iPhone users take for granted, despite connectivity woes with the carrier. Because of the difference in wireless technology, Verizon iPhone users are theoretically unable to make a phone call and use a data connection at the same time. Instead, they can do only one or another. AT&T's technology enables them to use data and voice simultaneously.
It's unknown what chipset the Verizon iPhone would use, but it is believed a solution that will allows simultaneous data and voice on CDMA could be incorporated. Also, don't expect the Verizon iPhone to take advantage of the latest 4G LTE technology the carrier introduced last year, as Apple will probably wait another year until it will put 4G technology on the iPhone, be it LTE on Verizon or HSPA+ on AT&T (remember the first iPhone was 2.5G, even though AT&T has 3G rolled out).