How will Verizon, AT&T and Sprint position 4G vs. iPhone 5?

Lost a little bit in the heated run-up to next week’s highly anticipated introduction of (maybe!) the next model iPhone from Apple is the big question: How exactly are the three major cellular carriers in the U.S., Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint, going to balance their “4G” network promotions with a phone that will probably be called the iPhone 5? Which will, as most expect, not even run on a 4G network but on a 3G one to boot?

Our guess — they will ignore the comparisons completely, and continue to push the 4G term in marketing while selling iPhones as fast as they can. While Verizon and AT&T already are doing this dance, you can put Sprint into this equation too, should Big Yeller finally get the iPhone in its stores as is also rumored. So far this year it seems like consumers literally aren’t buying the carriers’ 4G pitches, as witnessed by Verizon’s last fiscal quarter when Big Red sold just 1.7 million 4G devices to Verizon’s 1.2 million devices. Until third quarter numbers are revealed in November we won’t know if Sprint’s victory is like an early season Buffalo upset of New England or whether the Bills and Sprint’s 4G are the real deal. All we know is that it’s going to be hard for Verizon (as well as AT&T and Sprint) to goose 4G sales with a new iPhone on the shelves.

About Paul Kapustka

Paul Kapustka is a longtime journalist who has spent more than two decades covering the information technology business, Paul most recently has been focusing on mobility and how it has changed the computing and collaborative landscape. His newest project outside Mobile Enterprise 360 is a research and analysis operation called WiFi Journal. He is also editor in chief of Mobile Sports Report, which covers the intersection of mobile technology and sports business. Paul is also the founder of Sidecut Reports, a research firm that covered the emergence of 4G technology in the cellular marketplace.


  1. 4G coverage has been limited, and there hasn’t been alot of 4G Android phone choices. That’s changing though, as carriers are starting and expanding their 4G coverage, and offering different choices of 4G Android phones. One reason Android is now the biggest selling mobile OS is, consumers have a wide choice of Android phones.

  2. I imagine that operators will work marketing 4G, not calling the iphone well, but making references to his speed. Here in Brazil the 4G network is coming and I look forward to using it. Like the iPhone 5 which is coming soon. Good placement yours, and good text. Congratulations