Verizon may not be planning to ditch CDMA for voice customers just yet, but already begun the process of wooing them away from their old devices.
“As we’ve previously stated, we will support our 3G (EVDO) network at least through the end of the decade, and that continues to be the plan,” Verizon told Wireless Week. “We are actively working with our customers to help ensure an easy transition.”
That work apparently includes introduction of new LTE devices that will appeal to those less likely to upgrade to the latest flagship smartphone. The carrier recently debuted the new LG Exalt, a handset offering LTE-only technology in a flip phone form factor familiar to basic feature phone customers. The Verge noted the addition on Friday.
A rundown of the Exalt’s specs includes a 3-inch screen and a classic numeric physical keyboard (think T9 style typing). The phone also includes text-to-speech capabilities to read messages out loud, and a 5 mp camera capable of capturing HD video. The handset retails for $168, or can be purchased on an installment plan for $7 per month.
Even though it is planning to keep the old network for a while yet, it makes sense Verizon is starting now with handsets. Even for top-tier smartphones, replacement cycles have slowed in recent years. Back in September, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found 34 percent of Android users were holding on to their devices for more than two years before upgrading phones, while the average age of upgraded iPhones has increased by more than three months over the past three years.