The rise of LTE has brought alongside it a dream we’ve yet to see realized: that some day pure-LTE phones will be the norm, and we might finally get smartphones with radio support so broad that they could function on any carrier in the US. As things stand, we still have a long way to go, and all the currently-available LTE phones also have 3G and legacy voice support that can be carrier-dependent. Still, we’ve seen progress towards this goal, like the recent news of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile trying a spectrum-sharing experiment. The latest development that has us hopeful comes from Verizon, where CFO Fran Shammo talked about the coming arrival of CDMA-less Verizon phones.
Shammo sees Verizon embracing Voice over LTE as the catalyst for the development of phones that eliminate their old CDMA radios, and operate purely on Verizon’s LTE network. Besides just opening the door for cross-network operation (as long as the necessary frequency support is present), this could also lead to lower-cost devices, as eliminating an unneeded radio will save money not only in manufacturing, but in testing hardware, as well.
While Shammo framed that in the context as Verizon needing to pay lower subsidies, it should also effect those of us who pay full-price for our smartphones. In addition to those savings, Shammo also sees increased competition between manufacturers driving down phone prices over the next several years.