Verizon Wireless finally appears poised to offer its customers the.
Verizon Wireless finally appears poised to offer its customers the iPhone
Verizon has scheduled a press conference in New York on Tuesday to make an announcement. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the nation’s largest wireless carrier will unveil its own version of the iconic smartphone, ending the exclusive distribution arrangement that Apple has had since 2007 with AT&T.
The Verizon phone will be similar to but run on the carrier’s CDMA technology, according to the Journal report which cited “a person familiar with the matter.” It isn’t clear when Verizon devices will be in stores.
Reuters also reported Verizon’s iPhone announcement plan, citing an unnamed source. USA TODAY could not confirm the report.Verizon and Apple declined to comment.
An agreement between Apple and Verizon could boost iPhone sales. Many Verizon customers who want the phone did not want to switch to AT&T, which has been plagued with reports of dropped calls in cities including New York and San Francisco.
But a Verizon iPhone could hurt Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA which do not have deals to offer the iPhone.
The move to expand iPhone carriers beyond AT&T comes as Apple faces growing competition from phones based on Google’s Android operating system. Google had no comment on the Verizon-iPhone reports.
Rumors of iPhone coming to Verizon have swirled for two years. They increased in intensity as sales of Android-based phones grew. They collectively eclipsed iPhone in mid-2010, according to market researcher Gartner.
That provoked Apple CEO Steve Jobs to criticize Android as “fragmented” in a rare appearance on a conference call with analysts in October.
Apple faced a choice of lowering the price on AT&T’s iPhones, or adding Verizon to the mix, mobile analysts say.
“If I’m Apple’s board and I want to find a way to make a lot of money with little effort, I launch Verizon,” says Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner. “There is great momentum to move away from AT&T, given their dissatisfaction with AT&T’s (balky) service.”
Apple’s deal with AT&T initially helped it reach a large audience. But its exclusivity helped Google to sell Android devices on all carriers, says Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray. “As soon as Verizon gets iPhone, it will reverse the trend of Android gains,” Munster says. “iPhone will sell well vs. Android phones when given the chance.”
AT&T accounts for about 10% of Apple’s business, Munster says. Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones in its fourth quarter, ended Sept. 25.
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