The long wait is nearly over, as the 93 million customers of Verizon Wireless will have the Apple iPhone 4 available to them early next month. Officials from Verizon and Apple made the announcement at a press event in New York this morning. Speculation had been heavy and hot that the announcement would come at the event.
The move marks the end of carrier exclusivity, as AT&T has been the only U.S. mobile phone company to offer the iPhone since the gadget debuted in 2007. The Verizon iPhone 4 will run on Verizon’s older, established 3G code division multiple access network, not on the new 4G Long Term Evolution network Verizon touted in new promotions.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas last week, Verizon unveiled 10 devices that will run on the faster 4G network. Verizon customers will therefore have several options when they buy their next phone. Should they choose a Google Android-based phone that runs on the much faster 4G LTE network? Or should they opt for the Apple iPhone, which runs on 3G?
The Verizon iPhone 4 will include software that turns the device into a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot, allowing up to five devices to share the Internet connectivity. AT&T’s version of the phone can’t do this. The Verizon version of the iPhone also features a redesigned antenna, which was the cause of some connectivity issues when the iPhone 4 made its debut on the AT&T network last year.
Officials had no comment on future iPhone plans, although several people asked whether an iPhone 5 might run on the 4G LTE networks. AT&T is also working its own 4G network, and some analysts believe the next-generation iPhone will be made available to both Verizon and AT&T customers simultaneously.
Because the Verizon iPhone will use the code division multiple access technology, called CDMA for short, Verizon users won’t be able to make a phone call while surfing the World Wide Web. However, the AT&T version uses Global System for Mobile Communications technology, called GSM technology for short, so voice and data can be used simultaneously.
Current AT&T customers who plan to switch to Verizon will need to buy a new iPhone 4, as the GSM version does not work on the CDMA technology.
Pricing for the Verizon iPhone 4 is $199.99 for a 16-gigabyte unit and $299.99 for a 32GB model. Both require a two-year contract.
The phone will be available for preorder Feb. 3 for current, eligible Verizon customers and Feb. 10 for all others. On that date, customers will be able to order online or in person at the Verizon Wireless and Apple websites and stores.
I know several frustrated AT&T users who were hoping for a 4G LTE iPhone announcement today. The 3G version leaves frustrated AT&T users with a tough choice. Should they switch simply to take advantage of the Verizon 3G network? Or should they wait for the next-generation iPhone, which will very likely be 4G offerings by both Verizon and AT&T?
For more on the announcement, visit the company sites: