Hoping for a blazing fast 4G LTE compatible iPhone 5 to hit shelves later this year? Don't hold your breath. Although competitors to Apple's iPhone are already coming out with LTE phones, analyst Sam Greenholtz from Telecom Pragmatics claims Apple will wait for the iPhone 6 use the technology.
A report in The Street explains that Greenholtz has communicated with sources who say the LTE iPhone 6 is already under development. June or July 2012 is Apple's target launch date, which also gives carriers including AT&T and Verizon more time to roll out their LTE networks to full capacity.
The iPhone 5 is expected to launch on AT&T this summer, with a Verizon launch soon after. This next generation Apple phone will sport a hybrid Qualcomm chip that allows the device to operate on GSM networks such as AT&T's as well as the Verizon CDMA network. Although this single device may simplify Apple's production and make things easier on consumers who need to switch networks, the iPhone 5 will be limited to data speeds currently seen on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.
MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittinen was also cited in the article, stating that Apple may not have anticipated this level of competition from LTE devices in 2011. On the Verizon Wireless network, 10 LTE devices are already planned for launch during the first half of the year. Verizon is interested in rolling out LTE as quickly as possible to get a jump on AT&T and maintain its reputation for speed and reliability.Recent tests of the CDMA vs. GSM iPhone 4 showed that the AT&T network is currently faster than Verizon. GSM technology allows callers to perform more functions and connect to more lines in a conference call than Verizon's CDMA standard. Data features can also be used while on a call with AT&T's network. AT&T formerly had an exclusive deal to carry the iPhone in the US, however the company has suffered from bad press and a reputation for dropped calls.
Once LTE 4G technology is widespread, comparisons between major carriers will be based on different metrics as Verizon and AT&T will both be using the same standards, theoretically capable of achieving the same download speeds.