Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Today Is A Big Day...

Today is a big day. Verizon (Vz) has officially announced that next month they'll start carrying the Apple iPhone. After years of begging, customers got what they wanted and for a brief moment all was right in the universe. We were all basking in the glow of the power of the possibilities soon to be available to us.... And then reality set in. Yes, Vz is going to carry the Apple iPhone. No, this doesn't mean the end of AT&T. Why not? Well, to be completely honest, I don't see many people suddenly switching to Vz next month. Here's why.

First, the Vz iPhone 4 is a 3G phone. One big drawback of this is that Vz customers will not be able to make voice calls and surf the web at the same time. The other major hitch here is because of hardware differences, anyone wanting to switch to Vz will most likely have to buy a new phone. At least until some enterprising individuals write some app to map AT&T iPhones to Vz's network. Given the announced prices, that's going to be about $200 for the phone, plus if you jump ship before your contract is up, AT&T is going to charge you anywhere from $250-$375 in termination fees. So that's almost $600 to get a phone that does LESS than the current phone does on AT&T.

The other reason AT&T shouldn't be sweating Vz getting the iPhone is that they no longer have to shoulder all the data traffic of iPhone users. If my prediction turns out to be completely off (I have a 50/50 chance people!!) and tons of people leave AT&T for Vz, that means a huge chunk of bandwidth is going to be freed up for those who choose to remain, thereby alleviating the biggest customer complaint AT&T seems to get regarding the iPhone.

Now, Vz does have a 4G network, (and there are Vz compatible phones that are 4G) but due to customer impatience, um.. increasing demand, Apple didn't have the time to make the necessary hardware changes to maintain the look and feel of the iPhone while making it compatible to Vz's 4G network. So, it's our own fault because we couldn't wait patiently. As for me, I'm waiting until I can afford the switch, so in about 2 or 3 years, (assuming the world doesn't end in 2012) I'll probably switch to the iPhone. Probably on Verizon, but who knows... maybe by then it'll be available on MY cell phone carrier!


  1. I'm pretty sure that now that the floodgates have been opened and AT&T exclusivity ended, some version of the iPhone will appear on your carrier a lot sooner than you think.

    And to be honest, from all the research I've done on this for the past 6 months (yes, I've been anticipating this announcement since the iPhone 4 first debuted), no one ever thought that you would be able to keep your phone when switching to the Verizon phone. Anyone who already owns an iPhone 4 bought one knowing they wouldn't be able to switch to Verizon anytime soon. But no one cared.

    Those who did care and wanted to switch, held on to their old iPhones 3GS and waited. And now that it's here, the Verizon 3G factor will be no different than what they're already dealing with. So, no biggie.

    In my wife's case, this will still be a big step up compared to the phone she has. So she cares not about the CDMA limitations or lack of 4G. As far as she's concerned, it's all MAGIC!

    I myself would wait until next year if I was thinking of switching to Verizon's iPhone offering, which I'm not. I like AT&T. I was with them before the iPhone, and I'll most likely be with them after the iPhone.

  2. See David, I'm not sure the bulk of the people waiting for the iPhone are as methodical as you or I. I'm already hearing buzz about having the "It" phone, despite people not even knowing what the pricing is going to be for Vz's data plans.

    Still, it's a big step and I'm interested to see what Vz has learned from AT&T's growing pains with the iPhone.

  3. I don't even have to wait to find out what Vz's data plan will be. AT&T's is already pretty steep. I pay an extra $25 dollars per month tacked on to the already existing calling plan. Vz's will either be similar or less.

    No biggie.

    And to be honest, a lot of the complaints about AT&T are overexaggerated. I would certianly not have renewed my contract with them 3 times in 6 years if it was as bad as people claim it to be. I do have plenty of other options in the NYC area if that were the case.

    Here's my take on the Vz iPhone: if you're a gear head or tech geek, wait until the LTE iPhone is available. If you could care less about having the fastest, bestest smartphone out there--and especially if you don't even know what 4G is, let alone LTE--then get the iPhone coming out in February. That last type of consumer will never know the difference, or even care.