We’re hearing some pretty serious rumblings that Verizon will start selling the Apple iPhone early next year, ending the comfortably exclusive stranglehold AT&T have on the gadget. Two people “familiar” with the companies have gone on record (anonymously, of course), claiming that the phone will be made available in January 2011.
If you’re not up on your US technology news, the iPhone has only been available through carrier AT&T since its launch in 2007 (and unlocking the thing to use a different telco is somewhat frowned upon). Obviously, this deal will give competitors Verizon a serious boost!
There are nearly 93 million Verizon customers throughout the US, and they are expected to buy up to 3 million iPhones per quarter, providing a nice little income for the company.
…the deal wouldn’t just be good for the telco, either. Apple would get a larger addressable market, says Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Oregon. This would of course come at the expense of rivals such as RIM and Motorola, but… y’know.
“It’s also good news for Apple in that it will spread the load on the wireless data networks, which will be good for their customers.”
Analyst John Hodulik, from UBS AG, explains that:
“Apple is going to dramatically increase the number of devices it sells in the U.S. when exclusivity at AT&T ends.
It’s hard to ignore the quality issues that AT&T has faced.”
He’s referring, of course, to the “SXSW effect”, which tends to happen wherever groups of cool people congregate. They all whip out their iPhones, and the service in the area drops off the radar. Most notorious at the Texas conferences, the effect also pops up in games-related places like GDC and E3 – and even in New York and San Francisco generally – impacting on both cellular and internet connectivity.
We hear that Verizon are currently building a high-speed fourth-generation network, and CEO Lowell McAdam explains they plan to unveil “several devices” that will use it in January at the annual Consumer Electronics Show.
Verizon are probably well aware of the fact that the iPhone is doing great things for AT&T, too. The first quarter of 2010 saw about a third of the company’s iPhone activations (some 900,000 or so) come directly from new customers – without this boost to numbers, the company may well have ended the quarter with a loss to contract customers. Wouldn’t you want to get your fingers in that pie, given half a chance?