updated 04:30 pm EST, Wed December 9, 2009
LTE support not a concern?
There are several reasons why the iPhone will come to Verizon in 2010, argues Piper Jaffray analyst Chris Larsen. AT&T's exclusive hold on the US iPhone is set to expire in the near future, probably before the release of a new model next summer. While AT&T may be able to extend its contract with Apple by offering higher subsidies, it is believed that Apple has stronger incentive to add a second American carrier.
Verizon is foremost noted to be the largest cellphone carrier in the US, with roughly 89 million subscribers as compared to AT&T's 82; millions of additional iPhone customers could potentially be gained. Apple is also thought to be upset with AT&T's handling of network traffic, mainly in New York City and San Francisco, which each have large numbers of iPhone owners due to wealthy and tech-savvy demographics. The present smartphone market is also described as a landgrab, in which Apple cannot afford to stop growing, or let Verizon keep funding rival platforms like Android or BlackBerry.
The major factor holding Apple back remains technology, as Verizon uses a CDMA/EVDO-based network, whereas all current iPhones rely on GSM and HSPA. If Apple waits until both Verizon and AT&T have LTE (4G) networks, a Verizon iPhone could be delayed until at least 2011. A 2010 deal could also be threatened by Verizon itself, should the carrier demand more revenue than Apple is willing to share.