Verizon and Apple today released the iPhone on Verizon's 3G network. It will start selling on Feb. 10 for $199.99 for a 16 GB version and $299.99 for a 32 GB unit at Apple and Verizon stores. This could rock the smartphone market in the U.S.
By Ryan Kim, GigaOMThe debate about whether a Verizon iPhone is coming is no longer up for speculation. Verizon Wireless confirmed one of the most talked about rumors in technology by unveiling the iPhone 4 on its network today at an event in New York. “We welcome this game-changing device to our network and to our Verizon family,” said Dan Mead, CEO of Verizon Wireless. The device, available for pre-order for existing Verizon customers on Feb. 3, is very similar to the current iPhone on AT&T but will work on Verizon’s 3G CDMA network. It will sell for $199.99 for a 16 GB version and $299.99 for a 32 GB unit. Mead said the phone will become broadly available at Verizon and Apple stores on Feb. 10 and will come to Verizon resellers later. While the phone is largely the same as its GSM counterpart, it will offer a personal Wi-Fi hotspot feature to connect five Wi-Fi devices. Also, because it’s a CDMA device, the iPhone 4 will not be able to handle voice calls and a data connection at the same time. Mead declined to talk about data pricing for the iPhone 4. Apple COO Tim Cook appeared at the event and said Apple was extremely pleased to partner with Verizon and offer the iPhone 4 to Verizon’s customers. He said the partnership is multi-year but non-exclusive. “We are incredibly excited to bring the iPhone experience to Verizon’s 93 million customers. Both of us think there is a tremendous opportunity,” Cook said. “This is the start of something big.” Cook said Apple took at look at LTE but said the faster network would require design changes that Apple wasn’t happy with. He said Apple was also anxious to answer the No. 1 desire of consumers for a Verizon iPhone. Mead said Verizon is prepared for the added strain of the iPhone 4 and has tested the iPhone 4 on Verizon’s network. He said the company has added capacity to handle the additional users it expects. “We have advanced the capacity and built margin into the network throughout the country so we are ready for this launch,” Mead said.