Apple Testing Carrier LTE Networks Before Allowing iPhone Access

According to Telecoms.com, Apple has been running its own, independent, LTE tests before it allows carriers to offer the iPhone 5 as an LTE device. It’s somewhat of a reversal of how the carrier-handset maker relationship traditionally worked – where the carrier wouldn’t sell a device until the device was tested and met all the quality assurance requirements. Now Apple, infamous for their desire to control all ends of the user experience, is testing the carriers before it allows the iPhone access to their LTE networks.

Telecoms had initially heard of the tests in October but this week heard from an official Swisscom spokesperson that said “Apple only enables 4G access after testing their device on an operator’s live network”.

While extensive network testing of handsets has always been necessary, the focus has historically been on whether or not the handset functions on the network, with operators keen to protect their network assets and customer relationships against poor quality devices.

A handset vendor vetting networks on a technical basis before allowing its device to be used on them is a reversal of this situation, and one that Apple alone has the power to bring about.

Bengt Nordstrom, CEO of consultancy group NorthStream told Telecoms that he was “shocked” of hearing of the policy. Noting that it proved “who is running the industry” and that “Apple have put themselves in the driving seat; it’s really changing the game quite a lot.”

[via @BenedictEvans]