If you live in the United States, today’s news of the Verizon iPhone was big, big enough to affect either you or someone you know directly. If you live outside the US, you’re probably looking at the Yank news wires going “what the hell is a Verizon?” Believe it or not, the news of a Verizon iPhone is important not only to the U.S., but to the rest of the world as well.
In a world dominated by GSM, it’s hard to believe that CDMA has any sort of impact outside the U.S. Hell, only three of the world’s 30 largest telecoms are CDMA based, with Verizon leading the back by a very comfortable lead. However, those other two networks happen to have access to the biggest mobile consumer footprint in the world: China’s China Telecom and India’s Reliance Communications (Brazil’s Vivo also supports CDMA but it is primarily a GSM carrier). It is no secret that China Telecom and Reliance Communications have been in talks with Apple for months now regarding a CDMA iPhone. With the Verizon model hitting the spotlight, it’s only a matter of time before these other two behemoths get it.
Granted the iPhone is a luxury in China and India, costing well over $600 for the base model in societies where almost half the population makes less than $10 a day. However with CDMA accounting for 20% of India’s mobile population, it seems likely that some sort of subsidization, or even a CDMA version of an older model is possible. The big hindrance has been affordability, which is why these markets have relied on cheaper alternatives, or even fakes, to keep them caught up to the global pace of technology. Make no mistake that Apple knows that it has a chance to add a brisk hundred million to its sales numbers by opening up to CDMA in China and India.
So the Verizon iPhone is big news for not only the Yanks. Of course, you may not care about what happens in India or China, but those two nations have been the up and coming telecom frontier for years now. And rest assured that Apple has them in its cross-hairs.