Report: Worldmode iPhone May Run on Verizon, End AT&T Exclusivity


It probably hasn't been more than a week since a rumor surfaced about Apple's iPhone making the jump to Verizon Wireless from AT&T, but the newest buzz claims a Qualcomm chip will help the smartphone bridge the gap between CDMA and UMTS 3G networks.

The latest churn of the rumor mill claims that Apple is developing a "worldmode" iPhone that will add compatibility with CDMA networks, such as Verizon Wireless's in the U.S., to the existing UMTS 3G capabilities of the iPhone.

According to AppleInsider, a new report from OTR Global claims that a worldmode Apple iPhone will be compatible with CDMA2000 and UMTS 3G networks due to a hybrid chip that is being built by Qualcomm. The worldmode iPhone could land on Verizon -- and any other network in the world -- by the third quarter of 2010.

The emergence of the Qualcomm hybrid chip would allow Verizon to bring the iPhone onto its current CDMA network. Previously it seemed Verizon would have to wait until its planned switch to an LTE network in 2011. LTE technology, or Long Term Evolution, is the successor to UMTS.

A worldmode iPhone would likely spell the end of AT&T's exclusive deal with Apple, something many current users and potential adopters would like to see happen. Since the roll out of the iPhone in 2007 on AT&T, users have been frustrated by the lack of service in major markets, such as New York City and San Francisco.

AT&T has also been slow to support smartphone features, earlier this year badly botching the roll out of the iPhone 3G S by not offering MMS or tethering. The S in iPhone 3G S, of course, stands for speed. Another issues AT&T is having with support for the smartphone, as the wireless carrier is unable to support the faster 7.2 Mbps data potential.

Those likely to benefit from a worldmode iPhone are consumers. The competition Verizon would pose to AT&T for iPhone supremacy may force the exclusive carrier of the smartphone to beef up its network and drop prices for service plans.

Verizon might also snap AT&T out of what appears to be complacency, perhaps instilling a sense of urgency. As it stands now, AT&T is so confident that consumers will continue to adopt the iPhone that, as the launch of the 3G S demonstrated, it doesn't feel the need to support all the features of the smartphone.

But with Verizon reportedly getting closer and closer to getting its paws on the Apple iPhone, AT&T might start to step up its service and support.