Fortune Magazine has confirmed that the much-anticipated Verizon iPhone will be coming out early next year. Can you hear the collective sigh of relief? Fortune comments:
…wireless data usage on the device is a major burden on AT&T’s (T) network; iPhone users who complain about AT&T service don’t always realize how much they contribute to the strain, partly because the iPhone persistently reaches out to AT&T’s towers, switches, and computers to grab data. While (Verizon executives) wouldn’t comment on the iPhone specifically, (they) seem confident the Verizon network will hold up…Verizon already carries a data hog of a phone, the Motorola Droid (which runs on Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system), and that the average Droid user consumes more data than the average iPhone user.
But there are vastly fewer Droids on the Verizon network (the company won’t say how many) than iPhones on AT&T. And when the iPhone arrives, Verizon’s network –billed as the “nation’s most reliable” — will be assaulted by millions of data-hungry users downloading apps, watching videos, and yes, even making phone calls. First in line to buy will be many long-suffering Verizon subscribers, who probably feel a little like Cubs fans in a crowd of Yankee supporters whenever they’re around their iPhone-wielding friends.
But AT&T can expect some defections too. Some 18% of AT&T iPhone users surveyed by Credit Suisse said they’d consider switching carriers if Verizon got an iPhone. Says current iPhone user David Geffen: “I can’t wait to get the iPhone with Verizon.”
The new Verizon iPhone certainly has a lot of consumer sex appeal. The hottest cellphone on the market is finally meeting the nation’s clearest, most reliable cell network. A lot of people are going to buy into this and assume everything’s going to be perfect. That’s a heavy assumption, considering that the new iPhone is going to run on Verizon’s new 4G network, it will be Verizon’s first CDMA phone, and the strain on Verizon’s network will be new to the company. I don’t think it will be a flawless execution–things like these rarely are.
But it is hot marketing, a boost in sales, and fresh competition for AT&T, which is scrambling to upgrade its own criticized network. And in the end, more telecom competition can never hurt.