With the 4G LTE capabilities rumored for the Verizon version of the coming iPhone 5, some cellphone users might be encouraged to switch providers to get the feature. Jefferies & Co. analyst Thomas Seitz believes that the LTE will play a large role in consumers' choice of networks after the release date for the new iPhone.
Seitz predicts that with the iPhone 5 rumors pointing to an LTE feature, clients of providers like AT&T will want to switch to Verizon's LTE-capable network, reports CNet. The Verizon LTE network is the largest in the United States, reaching approximately 230 million people across 337 markets, says CNet.
Verizon has projected that by the end of 2012, only a few months after the rumored iPhone 5 release date, it will add another 260 million people in more than 400 locations to its LTE network. AT&T's primitive LTE network covers only about 80 million people, with no hope of catching up before the iPhone 5 release.
"We believe this network advantage could lead to a share shift towards Verizon, primarily at AT&T's expense," said Seitz, "which we estimate could see its market share of iPhone sales decline modestly to 45 percent in 3Q12 from 47 percent in 2Q12."
To add to the blow to AT&T from Verizon's superior LTE network, AT&T in July raised its prices for shared family plans with data. Just two months prior to the expected release date, when upgrading users will likely be out of contract, a price jump could prove a disastrous move for AT&T.
"Though its customers still have a choice to stay with the traditional plans, those who find it cheaper to move to the shared data plans are going to find that AT&T's price advantage vis-a-vis Verizon has shrunk," noted Seitz.
The Verizon plans have similar prices to their AT&T counterparts, but the competing companies aren't offering identical products. For the same price users can get more with their iPhone 5 or any other LTE-enabled smartphone from Verizon.
Jefferies & Co. projects U.S. iPhone 5 sales to jump 156 percent from sales in Q3 of last year, following the iPhone 5 release. That's an estimated 11.3 million iPhones, including older models and the new iPhone 5.
Even though LTE is broadly believed to be a part of Apple's newest smartphone, the iPhone 5 has not yet been confirmed to have such capability. This rumor may have more foundation than others since most analysts have supported the theory.
The iPhone 5 release date is rumored to be Sept. 21, just nine days after the rumored date for the smartphone's announcement. Rumors about the new iPhone 5 have been circulating ever since the release of the iPhone 4s in October 2011.
There have been several alleged leaks of iPhone 5 specs. A YouTube video from SmartPhone Medic displays what it claims to be iPhone 5 parts.
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