A week can’t go by without another Verizon-iPhone rumor, fueled by dissatisfaction with Apple’s exclusive deal with AT&T and that carrier’s strained network in media-saturated big cities like New York and San Francisco. Now there’s word that Apple is gearing up to build its first 3 million CDMA iPhones, which would work on Verizon’s network, this December, according to Jeffrey Fidacaro with Susquehanna Financial Group.
Fidacaro sent out a note to investors yesterday based on checks with overseas suppliers, a common way Wall Street analysts obtain information on the secretive company. If his research proves accurate, the move to CDMA technology would put Apple in a good position to release a Verizon iPhone early next year.
CDMA, a less common cell-phone technology than the GSM standard AT&T and most carriers worldwide use, runs Verizon and Sprint’s networks. It is also the dominant standard in South Korea.
Apple is hardly abandoning GSM. Fidacaro expects Apple to build between 21 million and 22 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2011, up from about 18.3 million iPhones this quarter. Apple was able to ramp up production this quarter because display-panel issues with LG have been resolved, he told investors. He expects Apple to sell 11.6 million iPhones this quarter — a 39 percent increase from the 8.4 million sold last quarter.
The news coincides with an earlier report from Bloomberg that Verizon is preparing to offer the iPhone in January. According to Credit Suisse, AT&T would lose 1.4 million users to Verizon in early 2011. A survey found that 23 percent of iPhone users would switch to Verizon when it’s available, and 18 percent said they would wait for their AT&T contract to end.