Get ready for the race to claim the title of ‘Best 4G carrier’ in nations worldwide as telcos rush to deliver tempting 4G LTE services in time for the September/October introduction of the Apple [AAPL] iPhone 5.
[ABOVE: Fake Apple parody ad. Status: Slightly amusing. Slogan: "The iPhone 5: picture your life. Better.]
Here comes the iPhone 5
Look around and you can’t miss the signs. Carriers -- most recently Germany’s Mobilcom Debitel -- are beginning to let slip that the new iPhone is on the way: "In September, it's finally time for a new generation of smartphone to go on sale," the German carrier said.
From TechCrunch: “A trusted Verizon employee has just confirmed to TechCrunch that the carrier is having an all-staff vacation blackout from the dates of Friday, September 21 to the following Friday, September 30. You know what that means, right?”
Just last week BGR reported a "trusted AT&T" source who confirmed that carrier intends launching the iPhone 5 in the third or fourth week in September. That’s completely in line with the current September 12 introduction, September 21 launch claims we’ve been hearing for weeks.
There’s also hints to expect a big mobile broadband battle between 4G service providers, set to begin on the launch of the new iPhone.
New iPhone means battle of mobile broadband
This means iPhone buyers in the US can expect to see carriers introduce a range of competitive deals designed to help service providers hook as many customers as possible to their faster mobile broadband services. Significant carrier moves that suggest this include:
Does Apple 'get' international?
Everything Everywhere's move is potentially good news for UK customers who’ve been unable to benefit from 4G/LTE speeds as yet, but isn’t necessarily going to be good for iPhone users as we still don’t know if Apple’s devices will support LTE over Everything Everywhere’s adopted spectrum. It’s also good news for customers of the UK’s Three network, which has purchased some of Everything Everywhere’s spectrum for use with its own 4G services.
The current 4G iPad only supports 700MHz and 2,100MHz LTE/4G frequencies. These aren’t used in many places outside of the US. However, previous reports from Korean carriers suggested Apple is discussing 4G support for 800MHz and 1,800MHz bands in conversation with those carriers.
The significance of all this activity is clear: 4G may still have some hurdles to cross before it becomes the de facto mobile broadband standard you can’t live without (international standardization around deployed wavelengths is just one obstacle it faces), but it’s getting there.
Apple dipped its toes in the 4G water when it launched its iPad, but it is to be hoped that the new iPhone will see a more significant excursion into mobile broadband. Apple’s poor execution and explanation of the limited 4G support bundled inside its tablet led it to cough up millions in compensation. It is to be hoped that this mistake is not repeated, this time around.
However, as we wait for the slimmer, faster, LTE-enabled 4-inch iPhone next month, the signs are that the next 12 months won’t just be about the challenge of delivering the best phone, but also that of delivering the best available 4G support.
Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you knowwhen these items are published here first on Computerworld.