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.