While Verizon’s announcement of the first CDMA-compatible iPhone was big news in the United States, there’s more than one country that could benefit from Apple’s latest hardware. As the not-always-reliable DigiTimes reports, CDMA iPhones produced by Pegatron are already expected to ship to previously semi-tapped iPhone markets including China, Japan, and South Korea. In those countries, carriers such as China Telecom, au, and LG Telecom could be potential candidates for a CDMA iPhone.
Outside those markets, however, there are plenty of other options that Apple is surely considering.
India is one of the world’s fastest-growing cellular markets, and Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and MTS India all offer CDMA service—three potential new partners. Unefon offers CDMA in Mexico, another market where Apple has been operating without any exclusive deals. Russia has no less than four CDMA carriers—Skylink, BWC, ETK, and Sotel-CCB—operating in various parts of the country, while Thailand’s CAT Telecom offers service in 51 provinces; co-owned network Hutch offers service in 25. Here in the U.S., plenty of carriers outside of Verizon offer CDMA service, including Sprint, U.S.
Cellular, Cellcom, Cellular South, MetroPCS, nTelos, and Alaska Communications Systems.
So even if CDMA technology is seen by many as a dead-end technology, soon to be supplanted by LTE, the large number of international carriers using CDMA provides Apple with a near-term opportunity to vastly expand its network of iPhone carrier partners. This will likely lead to a radical increase in iPhone usage worldwide, assuming Apple decides to widely distribute its latest iPhone variant. The next step will obviously be creating a single GSM/CDMA world phone with support for 4G technologies so that multiple versions won’t be needed, and a SIM card slot can enable international use without roaming.