If reports published by industry analysts and CNN Tech are to be believed, the upcoming iPhone 4S may launch on all major U.S. carriers in September. The rumored launch would simultaneously include T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T. This move would be unprecedented for Apple, whose iPhones have historically been exclusive to AT&T and later launched on Verizon Wireless.
The iPhone 4S will use HSPA+, sometimes marketed as 4G, but not LTE. LTE, or the Long Term Evolution standard, is the true 4G system everyone has been anticipating. As detailed in a previous article, LTE was deemed by Apple to cause too many compromises to be ready for use in its products. So, it looks like we’ll have to be happy with very, very fast 3G until sometime next year when the iPhone 5 launches.
Perhaps the single biggest reason this is good news for consumers is the sheer introduction of serious competition to the U.S. iPhone market. For the entire history of the iPhone, users have been plagued with expensive iPhone-specific rate plans, miscellaneous unexplained data charges, and other annoyances. AT&T and Verizon are the two largest telecoms in North America, and they both tend to act like it — bullying both their customers and their competition alike.