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Posted at 9:20 AM ET, 01/11/2011

Verizon iPhone announcement expected Tuesday

By Hayley Tsukayama

Verizon is holding a press event Tuesday at 11 a.m. that is widely assumed to be the announcement of a Verizon iPhone.

The news would mark the end of AT&T's exclusive contract to carry the Apple smartphone.

A Consumer Reports Survey in December 2010 ranked AT&T as the worst mobile carrier in the United States. Verizon came in second, behind U.S. Cellular. Some iPhone users have been waiting for years for a choice other than AT&T, and it's believed that Verizon could expect from nine to 12 million iPhone users to join its network.

But a Consumer Reports blog post from Monday warned early adopters that snapping up a Verizon iPhone may not be the wisest decision.

"If Verizon really unveils a new Apple iPhone tomorrow, it's likely to be a refresh of the iPhone 4 rather than a brand-new design," the post said. "And that will make it a questionable buy for all but the most iPhone-addicted Verizon customers."

Consumer Reports lists three flaws with the iPhone 4 that should give people pause: no 4G capability; a slower processor than some of the newer smartphones; a smaller screen than those for the smartphone brands that were announced at last week's Consumer Electronics show. Without a refresh, Consumer Reports said, the Verizon iPhone is really nothing new or exciting. The post also expressed concern over whether Verizon's network can really handle so many iPhones.

That question has been floated before, particularly after the Wall Street Journal reported that Verizon will be offering an unlimited data plan for iPhone users. AT&T spokesman Larry Solomon mocked that decision and said that if that is the case, iPhone users on the Verizon network should prepare for "life in the slow lane."

Analysts told the Wall Street Journal in an article Tuesday morning that they expect AT&T to launch an aggressive marketing campaign to keep its customers. The Dallas-based company has already slashed the price of the iPhone 3GS to $49.

iPhone fans: Will you be switching to Verizon? Has AT&T's network kept from buying the phone? Do you think AT&T's new price point can lure new customers?

And don't forget: Rob Pegoraro is in New York and will be live-blogging from the event. So check back here for his latest updates and insights at 11 a.m.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | January 11, 2011; 9:20 AM ET
Categories:  Apple, Gadgets, Mobile  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Five tech trends to watch post-CES
Next: iPhone on Verizon's Web site


As an AT&T iPhone subscriber since virtually the first day of the release of the first generation iPhone, I will take a cautious "wait and see" approach to making the jump to Verizon. Regardless of my ultimate decision, it is good to see competition in iPhone service providers.

Posted by: bpbailey1 | January 11, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I think AT&T should be worried about a mass exodus of existing customers. I already have a phone so a new price point there is not tempting... it's the cost of the data and the lack of flexibility in customizing your data usage (plus rude customer service) that is going to make a move to Verizon very tempting.

Posted by: ltyahoo | January 11, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Much has been made of iPhone users' propensity for consuming bandwidth. To suggest that an unlimited data plan on an iPhone will bring Verizon's network to its knees is preposterous for the following reasons:
- Tens of millions of Verizon customers already have smartphones with unlimited data plans. Those users have not brought Verizon's network to its knees
- The smartphones on Verizon are just as capable of consuming large amounts of bandwith, Android phones even run Flash video.
- There will not be a mass exodus from AT&T, most people won't spring for a new iPhone just to get on the Verizon network, and won't break their AT&T contract to do so, so it will take time for them to move over.
- Verizon customers trading their existing phones for iPhones will often be moving from smartphones, so will not add much to bandwidth requirements.

Sure there may be a little extra stress on the network, but the risk is way overblown. The true beneficiaries of the Verizon iPhone will be the people staying behind on AT&T. With 5-10M fewers users, AT&T may actually catch up with demand.

Posted by: expattyke | January 11, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I've been waiting a long time for this but think I'll be waiting a little longer. Don't like the potential problems with a Verizon iPhone . . . think I'll be waiting a little longer. Contract with Verizon is up in March - may stick with Blackberry.

Posted by: ramona54 | January 11, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I've waited years for this potential news.
Watched dozens of friends leave AT&T to get their hands on the iPhone, but I remained steadfast in my determination that I would not sacrifice carrier quality for a new toy.

But now that this day is hopefully upon us, count me as one of the first in line to get a Verizon iPhone. Luckily, I'm due for an upgrade anyway having had my BB Storm for 2 years in March.

What I want from this news conference:

1) iPhone coming to Verizon;
2) It being the iPhone5;
3) Allow customers who are eligible for an upgrade this year to be able to upgrade NOW.

Posted by: StumptownChris | January 11, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

As someone who lives in a predominately rural area, AT&T cellular service out here is a crap shoot. Now that the iPhone is on Verizon, I'm far more likely to at least entertain the idea of getting one.

Posted by: moonwatcher2001 | January 11, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Whenver I read reports like this and reader responses, I just marvel at the addiction to the iPhone. It's like being a legal seller of crack!

Posted by: rebecca81 | January 11, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

What about the iPhone on Sprint???


Posted by: edlharris | January 11, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

GAAA!! I made the wrong decision! I signed on for another two years with AT&T in order to get the iPhone 4 last summer. Well, that stinks. At least we didn't switch my husband yet; now he can stay on Verizon and use my old iPhone 3G (I hope). I'm going to have to look into cancellation fees. My AT&T iPhone 4 drops calls every time I pass National Airport, and every time a cross a bridge into the District.

Posted by: papagena1 | January 11, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

GAAA!! I made the wrong decision! I signed on for another two years with AT&T in order to get the iPhone 4 last summer. Well, that stinks. At least we didn't switch my husband yet; now he can stay on Verizon and use my old iPhone 3G (I hope). I'm going to have to look into cancellation fees. My AT&T iPhone 4 drops calls every time I pass National Airport, and every time a cross a bridge into the District.

Posted by: papagena1 | January 11, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Why all the anger against ATT? I don't seem to have any of the problems others refer to. I have been dealing with another company that is all ATT, for many years. The people there are courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable. I've not hit a rude salesperson yet.

Living in Southern California, there is a propensity for dropped calls in the mountains, valleys, Santa Monica airport and in my garage. I know where the spots are and I warn whoever I am talking to that we might drop. I am due this week for a new phone and it won't be an IPhone (Thank you Consumer's Reports). I am a Blackberry user and will be upgrading to the Torch. I am delighted with my ATT plan and service and excited to be getting the new Torch with ATT.

Posted by: socalnanynan | January 11, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

SoCal, please remember that you're on the other side of the country from us. For the most part, comments on this site reflect the experiences of users in the D.C. area.

Companies here have to deal with frequency interference from major government institutions and airports; our dead zones vary widely depending on the provider and security issues. I'm in one of the few areas here where the signal works consistently, so I'm reasonably satisfied with AT&T. However, my brand new BB Bold had a problem with the cover falling off and AT&Ts only offer was to replace it with a refurbished model. That was my only experience with AT&T customer service, and it was not a good one. I'll never go back to Sprint, but may very well switch to Verizon when my contract's up. Enjoy your good service, but please have empathy for those of us without the same service that is available to you.

Posted by: Voter4Integrity | January 11, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

You know it's sad when AT&T sends someone on to a WaPo article to try to market their customer service to dissatisfied consumers...

I live on the west coast, had AT&T and still think they have the crappiest customer service in the COUNTRY! Evidently, consumer reports AGREE with my opinion of AT&T. Looking forward to seeing AT&T crash and burn.

Posted by: jdubyaa | January 11, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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