File this under “semantics are fun”: Nokia Corp. has denied that it is working on an exclusive LTE touchscreen for Verizon Wireless. But it’s still planning to have LTE gadgets ready to go in the first part of next year, so maybe the term in question is “exclusive.”
Verizon will launch its first commercial LTE network in early 2010, with Bell Canada and TELUS following quickly. Other carriers that are GSM-based and planning to go to HSPA+ before 4G – like AT&T Inc. – will follow later.
It follows that if Nokia is to have that coveted first-mover advantage in 4G handsets in the United States it will need to launch on the Verizon network if the operator makes its timeline as the first to market. And a jump on the competition is increasingly important for the handset maker, which has lost market share in the quarter to Apple Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd., and which is faced with a North America that has so far been patently disinterested in its handsets.
In late January, Nokia reported that its fourth-quarter earnings were down 69 percent, dropping its dominance of the global handset market to 37 percent.
Only time will tell, and Nokia has not confirmed any other details of its LTE plans.