Apple will produce a CDMA version of its popular iPhone this year, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, a move likely to end AT&T Mobility's exclusive grip on the device.
The report, citing unnamed sources briefed by Apple, said that contract manufacturer Pegatron Technology will begin mass producing the CDMA version of the iPhone this September, but it is unclear when the gadget will be made available to consumers. Analysts have long speculated that Verizon (and possibly Sprint Nextel, the nation's other major CDMA carrier) will get the iPhone since expanding to the CDMA market would significantly increase the addressable market for Apple. China is also a major CDMA market, and Apple could be producing the iPhone for that market, the largest mobile market in the world.
In addition to the CDMA version, Apple is preparing to release the latest upgrade to the GSM iPhone this summer, keeping in accordance with its practice of releasing a new version in the summer. The upgrade is likely to be thinner and have a faster processor, the report said.
Representatives from Apple, Verizon and Sprint declined to comment. However, an AT&T spokesman told the Journal, "There has been lots of incorrect speculation on CDMA iPhones for a long time. We haven't seen one yet and only Apple knows when that might occur."
The iPhone has become the key growth driver for AT&T's wireless success. In the fourth quarter, AT&T counted 3.1 million new iPhone activations, but just 2.7 million total net wireless subscriber additions.
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