Telecom Timeout

Oct 20 2009   9:31PM GMT

Apple’s record-setting quarter and what it means for telecom

Kate Gerwig Kate Gerwig Profile: Kate Gerwig

Telecom is a hard-knock life sometimes, like this week when Apple announced its most profitable quarter EVER. No small part of that smashing success is the 7.4 million iPhones sold in the quarter. Of course, in the U.S., AT&T benefits from those new iPhone users since they use AT&T’s 3G wireless network.

And then there’s Google. Last week the Android-backing company also crowed about increasing its net profit for the third quarter, declaring the recession almost over.

Meanwhile back at the network, while things are looking up, those in traditional telecom circles are talking about how to stem plummeting cost per bit and wondering if they can make a buck deploying 4G LTE networks.

So what does all of this iPhone success mean for wireless operators? For starters, Verizon hasn’t negotiated to also sell the iPhone, apparently, because its new ads are promoting the “Droid,” an Android 2.0 phone that may be supplied by Motorola (one of the Android mobile operating system’s original backers). And so we may be in for a new season of handset wars, which can be dangerous business, according to our telecom guru Tom Nolle. The weakness with the iPhone is the stress it’s putting on AT&T’s 3G network, Nolle reminded us. When Verizon moves to 4G LTE and introduces the Droid, both Apple and AT&T could face more heat.

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