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Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 08:55 am PT (11:55 am ET)

Mexico's Telcel claims iPhone 4 antenna hardware fix in the works

An executive with Mexican carrier Telcel has suggested that Apple plans to release a revised iPhone 4 with a tweaked antenna design after the company's free case giveaway expires at the end of September.

Marco Quatorze, director of value added services at Telcel, said that his country will initially receive the same iPhone 4 model that was released in the U.S. and resulted in the "antennagate" controversy. But, in comments he made last week, and discovered by MacRumors, he claimed that revised hardware with an improved antenna design will become available after Sept. 30, when Apple's iPhone 4 Case Program expires.

It's likely that Quatorze's comments are merely speculation rather than inside information, as the notoriously secretive officials at Apple would not likely to share such information with a carrier partner. For example, earlier this year before the iPad was announced, an executive with France Telecom implied that Apple's forthcoming tablet device would have a webcam, a conclusion based on rumors and speculation.

When the iPhone 4 launched, users discovered that they could reduce the reception of the device and, in areas of weak reception, cause dropped calls by covering the bottom left of the handset. Apple was forced to hold a press conference in July and state that all phones experience reception issues when held incorrectly.

The company also announced the iPhone 4 Case program, through which free cases will be shipped to every iPhone 4 purchase made through Sept. 30. After the deadline, the company plans to reassess the situation and conclude whether or not it will continue the giveaway.

But Quatorze's comments, if they are in fact based on legitimate information and are not purely speculation, could suggest that Apple is quietly working on a hardware revision that it plans to release by the time the iPhone 4 Case Program concludes. Before the case giveaway was announced, various reports indicated that Apple was working on a hardware fix for the issue.