January 10, 2011

Verizon iPhone Announcement Expected Tuesday

Verizon Wireless will take the wraps off of a new Apple iPhone designed especially for their service on Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Saturday.

The announcement will be made in New York, according to WSJ reporters Shayndi Raice and Yukari Iwatani Kane, and sources say that the device itself will become available in Verizon Wireless stores by the end of the month.

This will mark the first time that customers in the United States have been able to choose their iPhone network carrier, ending AT&T's stranglehold on service for the Apple smartphone, which dates back to the iPhone's launch in 2007.

According to Raice and Kane, "The Verizon phone will be similar to the iPhone 4 but run on the carrier's CDMA technology, people familiar with the matter have said"¦ Apple is moving to expand its carrier base in the U.S. at a time when it is facing increasing pressure from phones powered by rival Google Inc.'s operating system, called Android."

The Associated Press (AP) approached both Verizon and Apple for comment. The wireless carrier declined to offer details about the content of the scheduled Tuesday event, while a spokeswoman for the iPhone developers said that they do not comment on rumors or speculation.

"Since AT&T has been heavily dependent on iPhone for customer growth in the last few years, some investors have worried that it could face a mass exodus of subscribers once its bigger rival starts selling iPhone," Sinead Carew of Reuters reported on Saturday.

"AT&T's reputation for network performance problems, particularly in cities such as New York and San Francisco, could exacerbate the problem," Carew added. "But some analysts have said that the loss of customers will be tempered by the fact that most of AT&T's iPhone customers subscribe via family plans, which are trickier to exit as they involve more than one customer."

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Solairs Asset Management investment officer Tim Griskey called the move "a big boost for Apple"¦ It opens up a huge uninstalled base for them in this country."


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