Verizon won't be selling the CDMA version of the iPhone next year, according to people familiar with the plan at Verizon. However, there will likely be a Verizon 3G version of the iPad available next year, these people say.
The no-Verizon-iPhone scenario re-emerged Thursday when Verizon chief Ivan Seidenberg told investors at a conference that the iPhone might be a more realistic option when the company gets closer to completing its 4G network in 2012. "Hopefully, at some point, Apple will get with the program," Seidenberg said, according to the AP.
Wall Street brushed aside the news that the popular phone wasn't headed to the largest U.S. carrier as expected, sending Apple to a new all-time high of $293.53 in early trading Friday.One factor behind the optimism may be that Apple plans to go ahead with production of the CDMA iPhone for sale to other carriers like Sprint (S) or other CDMA telcos in countries like Japan, China and Mexico. RBC analyst Mike Abramsky estimated that the impact of "no Verizon iPhone" would be "nominal" to Apple. In a note Friday, Abramsky estimated that Verizon would have sold about 7 million iPhones next year, but instead that would be offset by about 4.5 million sold by Sprint and other new carriers in the U.S. and abroad. For Verizon, the strength of its Google (GOOG) Android phones seems to have provided a strong alternative for smartphone buyers, countering the Apple/AT&T (T) iPhone attack. Another possible reason for the continued Apple/Verizon split may be the iPhone's performance. People familiar with the testing say the iPhone has not worked well on the Verizon network, and that Verizon wants to avoid the whole network quality mess that AT&T went through. Perhaps a good test of Apple on Verizon will come with the Verizon iPad. Apple had been prepared to offer a CDMA version of the iPad when it was launched earlier this year, but AT&T appears to have sealed an exclusive deal by cutting its data service pricing dramatically. Verizon is expected to unveil its own tiered pricing plan soon, which will likely offer a range of prices and data allotments. --Written by Scott Moritz in New York.
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