If you have been on the Internet at all over the past four days you probably know about the latest announcement. Verizon held a rather exclusive press conference today to announce their partnership with Apple, allowing them to carry a CDMA version of the iPhone. Guess what? The sky hasn’t turned red, the earth hasn’t opened up, pigs aren’t flying and, most of all, twitter didn’t collapse, so this clearly wasn’t a sign of the apocalypse. While this wasn’t an Earth-ending event, this announcement will have a profound affect on the United States mobile phone business for the near future.
Verizon + iPhone = Love
The press has been asking for this partnership for some time, and it finally happened. Lowell McAdam, President and COO of Verizon, even said “if the press write something long enough, eventually it comes true.” Some other circles may say that anything can happen if you throw enough money at it, but we won’t go there. Verizon now has an iPhone and may undoubtedly have the best lineup of upcoming phones. The iPhone is just icing on the cake for their rollout of dual core and LTE Android phones. Now people joining their network can choose which operating system they want to buy, and it will probably be the iPhone. They will have countless numbers of people in line, upgrading, switching service providers and all around championing the Verizon iPhone. Someone will be making money off this deal, that’s for sure. Let’s not forget, though, that this iPhone isn’t special, save for the fact that it works on Verizon’s network. I’m sure some people are just happy that they won’t have to deal with AT&T anymore, and I get that. I really do. It all comes down to one thing here. If you have been yearning for an iPhone that isn’t bogged down by AT&T, then this is your chance.
Verizon + iPhone + Everyone Else = Bad
Verizon getting an iPhone certainly can’t be a good thing for everyone. How many people will leave their current OS for a shiny new iPhone? I don’t even want to think about that. Android and Blackberry diehards will stay strong, supporting their operating system of choice. Feature phone users, though, will gladly pay extra for this iPhone thing. Let’s not even talk about the lack of success that Windows Phone 7 will encounter when it comes to Verizon. I’m positive that iOS usage will become predominant once again after February 10th.
What about the carriers though? Certainly AT&T will take a hit. Users have been complaining about their network for years. Those same people are looking to switch and will gladly pony up the cash for the early termination fee. Sprint and T-Mobile will lose some people too. The difference, though, is that Sprint and T-Mobile customers are looking to save money with their plans on their respective service providers. Sure, some will leave, but their loss won’t be nearly as noticeable as the one AT&T will experience and that’s a good thing for us.
Verizon + iPhone + You (as a T-Mobile customer) = A Good Thing
I don’t know about you, but I see this move as a positive step for Apple and the mobile industry. Clearly, the world of exclusive phones is ending and we will begin to see all carriers receive similar devices. With Samsung’s lineup of Galaxy S phones breaking the exclusivity cycle, we will begin to see more phone manufacturers follow. Exclusive deals only hurt the consumer, and any good businessman would know that you don’t want to make anything difficult for the consumer. You may be different, but I’m not the kind of guy who will jump carriers just for the latest gadget (I’m looking at you, people who bought the Evo 4G just because it was a couple of months ahead of the competition). It’s simply not worth it to switch carriers mid contract for a device that will make its way to your carrier, probably sooner rather than later. If manufacturers would end this exclusivity process and make all of their cutting edge phones available on all carriers, then I would gladly spend some extra money on an early upgrade or buy the phone unsubsidized. See, everyone wins if that were to happen.
Back to the iPhone though. We now have an iPhone on a second carrier in the United States, and this is a good thing (if you like the iPhone that is). Ending the exclusive contract with AT&T is the first step to an unlocked iPhone being sold in the United States. It has been done in a number of other countries so far with great success, so why not ours (*cough* money *cough*)? Maybe this second carrier is just the start. Maybe some day we will see an iPhone on T-Mobile. There certainly have been numerous reports saying that it will happen and “if the press write something long enough, eventually it comes true”. So, like I said, this is a step in the right direction if we are ever going to see a truly unlocked iPhone sold in the United States. (Let’s just forget the whole incompatible networks right now because that can be solved in time).
Oh, and one more thing (I had to…). With the iPhone going to Verizon we will finally be able to see what effect iPhone users have on a network. I’m excited to see if any network, even if it is Verizon, can introduce the iPhone to its users and not suffer from dropped calls and slow network performance. If “the nation’s most reliable network,” or so they say, can’t even support millions of iPhone users, then what hope does any other network have. Sure, Android users use a lot of data, WP7 users too, but we are talking about millions of people using an exorbitant amount of data at the same time. That kind of usage hinders the network unless they are adequately prepared, and we will get to see if they are.
Verizon + iPhone, a Summary
Yes, Verizon has an iPhone, and we are following along and writing our opinion of it, just like every other tech site. Some people are beyond happy to see this happen. Other people, like AT&T execs, probably not so much. There is a bright side though. We could begin to see a lot more phones landing on all carriers at the same time, including the iPhone. Not only that, but we will get to see if another network can handle the iPhone without seeing its results on our network. All things considered, competition is a good thing. This iPhone thing doesn’t impress or worry me, but I’ll continue to have my fingers crossed for a (logical) iPhone on T-Mobile.