The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has contracted two manufacturers to produce the next generation iPhone. The big news is that one of the manufacturers has been brought on to produce a CDMA version of the iPhone that will run on the Verizon network.
Thus far, the iPhone runs on GSM technology and has only been available to AT&T customers in the United States. The majority of mobile phone networks use GSM technology, but things are divided in the United States, with Verizon and Sprint relying on CDMA technology. According to WSJ, the CDMA version of the iPhone will be built by Pegatron Technology starting in September.
Since the iPhone went on sale in June of 2007, AT&T has been Apple’s exclusive partner for wireless services. All three versions of the iPhone and the iPad have been locked into AT&T’s network. Countless mobile phone subscribers switched from Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and smaller carriers in order to buy iPhones. If Verizon begins selling a CDMA version of the iPhone, Verizon customers will have little reason to switch networks in order to get an iPhone.
AT&T has faced heavy criticism for wireless network congestion in major cities such as New York and San Francisco. Some customers have abandoned their iPhones because of call quality and connection reliability issues. Of course Apple wants to have as large of an iPhone user-base as possible so it can continue selling devices, digital content, applications and third-party accessories for the platform.
Share of Apple’s stock (NASDAQ: AAPL) were trading at record levels on the news this afternoon.