Now that the long-rumored Verizon Wireless iPhone is a reality, opinions about what this means for the wireless industry are flooding in. Although it's hard to discern the impact for AT&T or Verizon, the Feb. 10 rollout of the iPhone 4 on Verizon's CDMA network will offer early clues.
The smartphone world is well acquainted with the features of the iPhone 4, complete with Retina display, a five-megapixel camera with LED flash, HD video recording, FaceTime video calling, and so on. Verizon's version will also offer a new Personal Hotspot capability that lets customers use the iPhone 4 to connect to up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Verizon's CDMA iPhone 4 comes with a price tag similar to AT&T's GSM version. Verizon customers will pay $199.99 for the 16GB model and $299.99 for the 32GB model with a two-year agreement. Verizon will begin taking pre-orders on Feb. 3.
Impact on Android
"This is going to be a huge deal for Verizon. They are going to sell so many of these it's going to make people's heads spin, but it's not going to kill AT&T," said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis.
"Most of AT&T's customers are locked into a contract, or they are on a family plan, or they are on a business plan," he added. "Switching is not going to be painless, and for the ones who are willing to go through that pain, AT&T is going to lose those customers, but it's not going to kill AT&T."
In fact, for all the headlines pitting AT&T and Verizon against one another, a Verizon iPhone could actually hurt other carriers more, Greengart said. Some customers who weren't willing to switch to AT&T for an iPhone may be willing to switch from T-Mobile or Sprint Nextel to an iPhone if it's on Verizon.
It may also impact Android phones. Verizon customers who were unwilling to switch to AT&T for an iPhone may opt for the Apple product rather than one of the many Android devices on the market, particularly when the Android technology is moving so fast that today's hot phone is often next month's second-best device.
"There's no question that a percentage of AT&T customers are going to leave and go to Verizon," Greengart said. "I don't know that AT&T is going to be all that torn up about it, though, because most of those customers have been complaining a lot and are big gaming users. So losing your worst customers isn't necessarily that bad."
Greengart pondered a possible AT&T marketing strategy connected to any potential exodus. He half-joking wondered if AT&T might benefit from sending out a message that says, in essence, "All the data hogs are off our network. There's plenty of spectrum for you now. Come back in. The water is fine."
"If you are in an area like New York where there are AT&T network issues, I can see the case for trying another network," Greengart said. "But if you are in a place like Omaha and you are thrilled with your AT&T performance, then moving to Verizon would actually mean moving to a slower technology that in some cases offers limited capabilities. CDMA doesn't roam in as many places globally, and you can't get simultaneous voice and data, though I don't know how prevalent a use case that really is."
Posted: 2011-01-17 @ 11:35am PT
It's funny with the mention of Omaha as a highlight of AT&T's performance, when in fact you get 100 yards from the city limit and your 3G is nothing. As a matter of fact, AT&T's network only covers 2 cities, Omaha and Lincoln. Verizon, on the other hand, includes both the original Verizon network and the Alltel network, which is both the original A and B sides for the entire state. Sure, it might slow down, but Omaha is not immune to crappy AT&T service!
Posted: 2011-01-13 @ 10:52am PT
Absolutely. Android is already years ahead of iOS in so many respects and of course you are not TIED to iTunes to operate the devices. Android is built with openness and modularity in mind which accelerates innovation and keeps the platform exciting.
Posted: 2011-01-12 @ 1:04pm PT
Talking about how Android's technology is moving so fast reminds me that the iPhone is old news. We don't want it on Verizon.