Verizon working on simultaneous voice and data for CDMA

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Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) is developing a new solution that will allow its CDMA subscribers to access voice and mobile data services at the same time.

Multiple reports, including one over the weekend in the New York Times, have stated that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is making an iPhone for Verizon's CDMA network and that Verizon will launch the phone early next year, which would break AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) grip on the popular smartphone. A key difference between Verizon's network and AT&T's UMTS network, of course, is that AT&T subscribers can access voice and data services simultaneously--which Apple made the focus of an advertising campaign. Verizon appears poised to erase the issue.

Biran Higgins, Verizon's executive director for ecosystem development, told the Wall Street Journal that the carrier is working on making its network capable of handling voice and data at the same time, though he declined to say when the functionality will be available. He also downplayed its importance. "I think there are fringe cases where something like that could be important," he said. "For a vast majority of customers, I don't think it's a terribly important use case."

Brad Shewmake, a spokesman for the CDMA Development Group, confirmed to the Journal that a solution that will allow CDMA subscribers to access voice and data at the same time will be commercially available in the first half of 2011.  August 2009 the CDG announced that specification, called SVDO. The new service will allow CDMA2000 devices to access EV-DO packet data services while in an active 1X circuit-switch voice call.

Representatives from CDMA chip heavweight Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether the company is working on the SVDO project.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this NYT article

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