Well it’s here. It’s finally here. Verizon Wireless and Apple today annnounced that they have partnered to bring the long-awaited CDMA version of the iPhone 4 to Verizon Wireless’ network.
Apple and Verizon made the announcement this morning at a press event in New York City. Verizon will sell the iPhone 4 for $199 (16GB), $299 for (32GB) on contract with mobile hot spot functionality (up to five devices) included. Existing customers will have an opportunity to pre-order the device on Feb. 3, and everyone else can get in on the action on Feb. 10.
Verizon’s version of the iPhone 4 won’t run on the carrier’s recently deployed LTE network, but it at least breaks the death grip that AT&T Mobility has had on Apple’s iconic device since it was launched in 2007 in the United States.
Apple’s Tim Cook was on hand at the event to answer questions after the announcement. According to a live blog of the event posted on Engadget, Cook said that complicated design changes would have to be made to the iPhone for it to run on Verizon Wireless’ new LTE network and customers wanted the phone on Verizon now.
Cook skirted a question about how the iPhone experience will differ on Verizon’s CDMA network, which isn’t capable of allowing true multi-tasking capabilities, such as placing a call and sending an email or surfing the Web at the same time.
“I think people place different emphasis on things – I can tell you that the number one question I’ve gotten is when will the iPhone work on Verizon. I couldn’t be happier to tell people that. They will make those sorts of tradeoffs,” Cook said, according to Engadget’s blog.
Both Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam and Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead were on hand for the announcement. Both insisted that Verizon’s 3G network is capable of handling the high data traffic for which the iPhone has come to be known.
“We have advanced the capacity and built margin into it. We’re ready for this launch,” Mead said.
Verizon will be under a microscope as millions of iPhones are unleashed onto its network. AT&T has struggled to support the iPhone’s data demands, acknowledging network problems in major metropolitan markets like San Francisco and Manhattan. Many have wondered whether Verizon might suffer the same fate.
While the deal might seem like a bed of roses for everyone involved, only Apple has seen a bump in its stock price since last week when The Wall Street Journal reported the announcement was pending. Verizon, on the other hand, saw its stock price drop slightly. Shares of Verizon Communications were down 2.2 percent immediately following the announcement. Shares of AT&T, which officially lost its exclusivity deal with Apple today, also were down approximately 2 percent, to $27.92.
Ultimately it was Apple that had the most to gain today by expanding its iPhone customer base to Verizon in the Unites States. Shares of Apple climbed to an all-time high over the past week, rising to $344.96 yesterday.
Details on data plans for the Verizon iPhone were not discussed today, but The Wall Street Journal has reported that the carrier would be giving iPhone customers the option of unlimited data.