iPhone: The Network Is A Problem

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Apple’s iPhone will clearly change the landscape for mobile phone manufacturers — and consumer handheld devices overall. My friend, Carl Howe, at Blackfriars has the best analysis on the announcement. But there is a small gotcha in the device that not many people are talking about. The network is a problem.

The iPhone is exclusive to Cingular, and as such it uses Cingular’s data service to connect to the Internet. But the specification listed on Apple’s web site shows the iPhone supporting something called GSM/EDGE, a horribly slow network that is marginally better than GSM’s ubiquitous GPRS.

iphone drinkCingular is in the process of rolling out its higher speed HSDPA network — a wireless data service that typically can support average datarates of 500–700 Kbps on the downlink and peak data rates of 1.8 Mbps. Surely, by June when the iPhone ships, Apple and Cingular should think about supporting HSDPA.

Apple may have an exclusive with Cingular, but it might want to think about supporting a subsequent version of the iPhone for the Sprint,Verizon, and other EV-DO Rev A networks. EV-DO Rev A networks offer QoS and 3.1 Mbps peak data rate on the downlink and 1.8 Mbps on the uplink.

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Tagged: , Personal Computers
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