iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending April 20

Blame Qualcomm, liquidmetal bounces back, most awesomest phone among iPhone 5 rumor highlights

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Nace contacted Sprint PR and not too surprisingly gets a Sprint PR response: "Sprint has announced it will largely complete the rollout of Network Vision by the end of 2013. In order to meet that timeline, Sprint has begun work and is at varying stages of completion at every cell site across the country." Which is what Sprint has been publicly saying since last December.

But for Nace, the stock PR generality Indicates Something Big. "The last sentence, while not directly confirming the leaked documents ... certainly corroborates the reports that they are in fact working widespread across the U.S.," he concludes. We think it's safe to conclude that Sprint's repetition of its earlier public comments certainly corroborates those comments.

Nace is disappointed that Sprint didn't say more. "Sprint did not respond to whether or not this heightened work on the 4G network has anything to do with an upcoming iPhone release," he says. Darn.

All this Sprint LTE activity somehow suggests to Nace that "perhaps" the carrier is "in a bid to prepare itself for a massive 4G iPhone 5 release that could be coming sooner rather than later."

"[I]f the iPhone 5 is coming soon -- June perhaps -- and it is to be 4G, Sprint may have to ramp up its 4G rollout ahead of the announcement in order to maximize on sales," Nace declares, ignoring the fact that the same would be true of AT&T and even Verizon, which, though much further along with LTE than Sprint, are still hardly pervasive.

Sprint is already selling phones that support LTE but for now run on its 3G network, as part of a strategy it calls "Phones First." Nace is skeptical that iPhone 5 users brandishing their phones in June would put up with this nonsense. "[I]t remains to be seen if [Sprint] would risk it with the iPhone 5, considering how coveted 4G capability for the next iPhone is in the U.S.," he claims.

But the previously mentioned Wall Street Journal story at least raises the question that the covetousness may be overblown, as LTE adoption at both Verizon and AT&T has been minimal. "Despite the two carriers' efforts, 4G LTE has been slow to take hold, in part because Apple's popular iPhone doesn't yet operate on them. Verizon Wireless said recently a mere 5% of its customers were using devices designed for the technology. AT&T hasn't disclosed what percentage of its users are on its LTE network."

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. : http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww john_cox@nww.com http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed

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