By Liam Cassidy, GigaOM Finally, after years of rumours and speculation, it looks like Verizon is about to start selling Apple’s iPhone. On Saturday, citing people “familiar with the matter,” the Wall Street Journal boldly proclaimed “The iPhone is finally coming to Verizon Wireless.” From the WSJ:
The largest U.S. wireless carrier will make the long-awaited announcement at an event Tuesday in New York City… The phone will make its way to Verizon Wireless stores around the end of January. The move will for the first time let U.S. consumers choose the network that carries their iPhone and perhaps give them additional pricing options that could affect their monthly bills.The article confirms that the Verizon iPhone will feature a radio chip making it compatible with the carrier’s CDMA wireless network. By comparison, AT&T iPhones work with the (globally ubiquitous) GSM wireless network. Verizon’s invitation-only “special event” will be held tomorrow, at New York City’s Lincoln Center. According to John Paczkowski of All Things Digital, the event will be headed by Verizon COO Lowell McAdam, and, “barring any unforseen circumstances,” Apple’s very own Steve Jobs. More details (also from Paczkowski) on Verizon’s shiny new iPhone suggest that we can expect the phone to debut with an unlimited data plan;
Sources close to Verizon tell me the carrier will offer the iPhone with an unlimited data plan (presumably the same $30 unlimited plan it offers for other smartphones)–though they wouldn’t say for how long. That should distinguish it a bit more from the iPhone on AT&T, which requires a capped plan for data service.
For AT&T, the Damage is Already DoneOf course, the question now is how much a Verizon iPhone will impact AT&T’s business. Since the iPhone launched in 2007, AT&T has been the only carrier in the United States to officially offer Apple’s iconic smartphone to customers; but in the last three years, AT&T has been criticized for high prices and shaky service. The carrier has cited iPhone-customers’ insatiable hunger for data as the reason for sometimes-unreliable service and dropped calls, pledging significant upgrades to their network in order to better meet demand. Even Steve Jobs (sort of) defended AT&T’s difficult position when he spoke at the D8 Conference in June last year, saying;
“They [AT&T] worry about the network, while we worry about the phone. They’re improving, but they do have some issues. Remember that they’re handling way more traffic than all other competitors combined.