We May See an iPhone 5 with LTE in 2011
Etisalat announces that they are in discussions with Cupertino to carry the company’s fifth-generation iPhone handset later in 2011.
Ali Al Ahmad, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer for Etisalat, a mobile carrier based in the United Arab Emirates, recently gave truth to rumors that the company would be carrying Apple’s iPhone 5 sometime this year. Ahmad was quoted as saying “We are in talks with most smartphone manufacturers including Apple on the rollout of the 4G handset, iPhone 5 later this year. As the first telecom organization to roll out the 4G network, LTE, in the Middle East, we have already started talking to them for the handsets and chipsets in them.”
While it’s true that Etisalat is currently deploying its next-generation LTE network throughout the country, Apple has yet to even confirm the existence of the iPhone 5, let alone its launch date or whether or not it will support LTE technology. Speculation by journalists and analysts alike indicate that Apple will hold off on launching an iPhone handset that supports LTE until sometime in 2012, with any handset that launches in 2011 to likely be an updated version of the company’s iPhone 4, which is still producing incredible sales figures.
As it is based in the US, Apple typically would look to US-based carriers to usher in an iPhone that supports faster network speeds like LTE. Verizon is currently besting AT&T in this department, with the latter expecting it will take a year or two to catch up to Verizon’s LTE deployment. Verizon has been showing off data speeds that have topped 10 to 15 Mbps in LTE-covered areas, proving that the technology truly does bring in much faster speeds than current 3G networks. Not to be topped in the speed department, AT&T recently demoed its LTE offering and touted speeds of nearly 30 Mbps downstream and over 10 Mbps on the upstream.
It truly has been a race amongst the carriers to get 4G data speeds up and running for their customers. All of the wireless carriers have been battling to secure the wireless frequencies and intellectual property necessary to roll out LTE across the nation. Recently, Canadian manufacturer Nortel announced that a number of its patents had implications in the 4G market, and the US Department of Justice expressed that it had some concerns over Apple’s interest in these and other patents. All of this is happening while AT&T is working to close its deal to purchase T-Mobile for nearly $40 billion, claiming that the purchase is necessary to secure the necessary wireless frequencies and bandwidth to support their national 4G LTE push.
In regards to Apple’s next handset – called the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S depending on whom you believe – speculation continues to run rampant that the phone will launch sometime in September or October after this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference passed without Apple showing off any new hardware. Analysts largely expect that the phone will offer an updated camera, possibly a faster processor and perhaps a larger display.
Apple did not comment on the remarks made by Ahmed or Etisalat, nor has it given any indication when the handset will be coming.