Verizon iPhone 4 Unveiled With Same Specs As AT&T's, Launches Feb. 10
The iPhone finally unleashed itself from AT&T's grip Wednesday as Apple announced Verizon Wireless would become the second U.S. carrier to offer the iPhone 4 beginning Feb. 10.
"Today we're partnering with a giant of the industry, and that's Apple," Verizon COO Lowell MacAdam said.
Thousands of the 93 million subscribers on the nation's largest wireless network rejoiced on Twitter during Wednesday's unveiling of the phone that runs on a CDMA chip designed by Qualcomm.
Apple's original line of iPhones, all built with SIM cards, had been exclusively tied to AT&T for the past four years. The agreement between the companies is believed to have expired very recently. Verizon has been in talks to acquire the phone since 2008, and one year of tests later, the phone is finally ready as part of a multi-year, non-exlusive deal with Verizon.
The 16 gigabyte version will sell for $199 and the 32 gigabyte version for $299--the same regular prices as on AT&T--to new and existing customers at Apple or Verizon stores. Verizon customers can pre-order online beginning Feb. 3. The phone is expected to require a $30 data plan that offers 5 gigabytes of data transfer. The Verizon iPhone can be used a mobile hotspot with five devices tethered to it, but like other CDMA phones, it won't allow data usage during a call.
"We've built our business on building the very best network -- and now our customers have a choice for the iPhone 4 on the nation's most reliable network," Verizon's Dan Dee said.
The Verizon phone has the same features as the AT&T one: 3G, FaceTime, retina display., 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, HD video camera, and Apple's A4 chip.
The iPhone's availability to a new base of subscribers will help it start to catch up to quick pace of growth phones powered by Google's Android operating system has enjoyed. Android phones can be used on all four major carriers--Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. For Verizon, it could mean even more phenomenal growth.
Despite having a reputation of being the nation's most reliable network, many smart phone users opted to move to either AT&T to have an iPhone on what is considered a faster network or T-Mobile to pay what had until recently been lower rates for data usage on a sometimes painfully small and slow network.
Here's some things to watch out for in the next year:
A mass defection of as many as six million AT&T iPhone users to Verizon could cripple the latter's network and free up bandwidth on the former's, reversing the pair's reputations. Of the course the cost of switching mid-contract could be as high as $325.
One analyst says one out of every 10 people who would have bought an Android phone this year will now buy a Verizon iPhone. Though some have said this will hurt Google, the company's services are heavily used on both sets of smart phones. While they would prefer the use of Android phones, the effect may not be as chilling as predicted.
Apple has now become notorious for having lots of bugs with its early iPhone releases, and there's no reason to expect that the first iteration of this line of iPhones won't have serious glitches.
It's debatable how many people will actually buy the Verizon iPhone since it's possible Apple could announce an iPhone that runs on 4G/LTE networks five months after the Feb. launch.