• What happens to Vodafone when an LTE iPhone comes out next month?


    It's probably no secret I'm a fan of Renai from Delimiter. He writes a lot of common sense stuff and his prophesying about Australian wireless telcos has been particularly nascent. His latest brain dump is regarding an LTE iPhone and the prospects of Vodafone to compete with Optus and Telstra. He quite succinctly states, "if a 4G iPhone launches in Australia, Vodafone will essentially be bringing a knife to a gun fight."

    Renai is totally correct - I've been using Vodafone's service sporadically the past few weeks and it's not too bad now for 3G. They have DC-HSPA coming any day now too. I'd even rank them better than Optus from my anecdotal evidence.

    It's also true that the next iPhone will get LTE support, in the 1800mhz band, so another iPad "cellular" fiasco doesn't occur. As another one of the better tech writers out there, Anand Lal Shimpi hypothesises, "There's one further improvement as well which MDM9615 hopefully will have over the current MSM8960 implementation, and that's the inclusion of a new 28nm RF (as opposed to logic) transceiver named WTR1605, instead of the 65nm RTR8600. This new transceiver also includes even more ports (7 instead of 5 on RTR8600) which means we will see likely more 3G or 4G LTE bands supported in this upcoming device. Even without that improvement we'll see inclusion of LTE without any caveats." - that pretty much states that the latest phone comms chips have LTE support in a package the right size for Apple to use in a new iPhone and, with enough capacity for multiple bands. Seeing as the rest of the world is using 1800MHz for LTE too (our US friends are the exception to the rule, again), it would be crazy for Apple not to release a phone with support for it, seeing as the chips necessary to do it with, are ready for use now (unlike their status when the iPad came out back in March).

    LTE is a whole different ball game for the telcos too and when the new iPhone comes out, Vodafone has nothing, nothing at all to compete with. They can't even win on price, as there are Optus resellers who are cheaper than Vodafone resellers (Optus will give resellers access to LTE, Open Network and all that, right?). Why would you stay with Vodafone, when your new iPhone has LTE and their network doesn't support it *and* you can probably get a cheaper deal elsewhere?

    I don't want to kick Vodafone whilst they're just getting up, but unless they get LTE going soon, not, "starting in 2013" as they're planning, it's going to be very tough for Vodafone to compete for new iPhone and new smartphone customers in general, as LTE is coming in very, very fast and the benefits are easily marketable by the handset makers and the telcos. God speed Vodafone.
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