Just passing along the information …
With passion and gratitude,
By Ben Patterson
January 11, 2011
Well, that’s that. After more than three years of rumors, speculation, and plain old wishful thinking, Verizon Wireless finally announced Tuesday that it will soon be offering its own version of the iPhone, bringing AT&T’s long monopoly on the wildly popular handset to an end.
The long-expected news came at a packed press conference at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, just a couple of days after the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas wrapped up.
Verizon’s jubilant CEO, Lowell McAdam, was joined onstage by Apple COO Tim Cook (no sign of Steve Jobs, by the way) and Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead. McAdam confirmed that discussions to bring the iPhone to Verizon began as early as 2008.
The iPhone 4 will become available for pre-order for existing Verizon subscribers on February 3, with general availability to begin on February 10.
(Check out my hands-on impressions of the Verizon iPhone right here.)
The 16GB version of the iPhone will sell for $199, with the 32GB to cost $299—both with a two-year contract. Details on data plans would be released in a future announcement, Mead and Cook said.
And in case you were wondering, no—the Verizon iPhone will not run on the carrier’s new 4G LTE network. Instead, it will get 3G data from Verizon’s existing EV-DO network.
So, why no LTE on Verizon’s first iPhone? Because adding support for the new 4G network would force changes in the iPhone 4 design, said Cook, and Verizon customers “want the iPhone 4 now.”
(Questions—and answers—about the Verizon iPhone.)
A nice consolation prize, however, will come in the form of the iPhone 4′s personal hotspot capabilities, which will allow the handset to share its 3G connection with up to five other nearby Wi-Fi devices (probably for an extra fee).
Make sure to check out my hands-on impressions of the new iPhone—which, by the way, looks almost precisely the same as the iPhone 4 on AT&T, so don’t expect any earth-shattering revelations.
By snagging its own version of the iPhone at long last, Verizon puts to an end AT&T’s three-and-a-half-year monopoly on the iPhone. While AT&T managed to win millions of new subscribers thanks to the iPhone, its reputation took a shellacking as its network buckled under the strain, with users complaining bitterly of spotty connections and dropped calls.
AT&T is putting on a brave face in the wake of Verizon’s coup, with the carrier’s PR manager claiming that AT&T has the fastest data network in the U.S. and warning iPhone users who defect to get “ready for life in the slow lane.”
The reality, however, is that AT&T is facing the prospect of losing a good-sized chunk of frustrated iPhone users to Verizon, which pummeled AT&T more than a year ago with those devastating “there’s a map for that” ads.
And during Tuesday’s event, Verizon Wireless’ Dan Mead went to great pains to emphasize that iPhone users will have an “absolutely terrific” experience on Verizon’s network.
The festivities got off to an awkward start as some crazy fellow in the audience began hollering, ahhh … some profanity-laced words of excitement before the event had begun. Startled reporters and bloggers (myself included) slowly began chuckling once they recognized the culprit: John Oliver from The Daily Show.