According to Telecoms.com, Apple has been conducting independent tests on LTE networks before it gives iPhone carriers the go ahead to offer the iPhone 5 as an LTE device.
The news comes as a direct reversal of the standard relationship between carrier and manufacturer. Usually, it was the carrier that would refuse to sell a device until it was tested, however it seems that Apple likes to do things a little differently. An official Swisscom spokesperson said that “Apple only enables 4G access after testing their device on an operator’s live network.
CEO of consultancy group NorthStream told Telecoms that he was “shocked” at the news, and that it proved “who is running the industry”. He claims that Apple have put themselves in the driving seat… really changing the game quite a lot.”
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.
Is it right that Apple tests the iPhone on carrier networks? Or should carriers have the final say?