AT&T Shrugs Off Verizon iPhone

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- AT&T ( T) shrugged off the arrival of Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone to its rival Verizon on Tuesday, moving quickly to downplay the phone's impact.

"For iPhone users who want the fastest speeds, the ability to talk and use apps at the same time and unsurpassed global coverage, the only choice is AT&T," said an AT&T spokeswoman in an e-mail sent to TheStreet shortly after Verizon's iPhone announcement.

AT&T, which up until now held the exclusive U.S. deal to sell the iPhone, sent journalists a list of bullet points criticizing CDMA networks, which Verizon uses.
AT&T

Shares of AT&T traded down on Tuesday, falling 38 cents, or 1.34%, to $27.96, as did Verizon's, which tumbled 65 cents, or 1.81%, to $35.28. Apple's stock also dipped slightly, slipping 76 cents, or 0.22%, to $341.70.

Speaking during a glitzy launch event in New York, Apple COO Tim Cook said that the gadget maker had been working with Verizon for awhile. The Verizon iPhone launch is just the beginning of the partnership between the two firms, he added.

A note on Verizon's website heralded the announcement as "The phone that changed everything -- coming to America's most reliable network." The telco is offering a 16-Gbyte iPhone 4 for $199.99 on a 2-year deal, and a 32-Gbyte iPhone for $299. The phone will be available on Verizon's network on Feb.10.

Verizon has long been one of the biggest champions of Google's ( GOOG) Android operating system, and unveiled a slew of new Android phones at CES last week, including offerings from Motorola ( MMI), LG, HTC and Samsung. These Android phones are expected to go on sale sometime in the spring.

AT&T, clearly anticipating the end of its exclusive iPhone deal, has also been ramping up its Android efforts. The telecom giant recently announced plans to offer more than a dozen Android phones by the end of this year.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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