Verizon CEO Says iPhone Wouldn't Be A Problem
On Tuesday, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said Verizon Wireless would be interested in carrying the iPhone, although he didn't offer any insight into if or when that might happen. "We're open to getting the device," Seidenberg said at a conference in New York, according to The Wall Street Journal . "Our network is capable of handling it."
A CDMA version of the iPhone would sell like hotcakes on Verizon, which, despite its smarmy television commercials, is regarded as the top U.S. carrier, placing first in Consumer Reports most recent survey of wireless customer satisfaction. A Verizon iPhone would also mark the end of Apple's confounding exclusivity agreement with AT&T in the U.S., which has been in effect since it launched the iPhone nearly three years ago.
Although a Verizon iPhone has been rumored for months, Apple has staunchly defended AT&T from its many detractors. In January during Apple's fiscal first quarter earnings call, an analyst asked Apple COO Tim Cook to reiterate what Apple gains from carrier exclusivity with AT&T, and he danced around the question like an Olympic gymnast.
"It's important to remember that AT&T has more mobile broadband users than any other carrier in the world. In the vast majority of locations, we think iPhone customers are having a great experience," Cook said in response.
Still, Apple has already ended its exclusive agreements with carriers in other countries, and with the iPhone facing growing competition in the smartphone market, Apple is probably growing tired of the drumbeat of negative vibes coming from AT&T's iPhone customer base.
AT&T may actually want Verizon to get the iPhone so that it can gloat if Verizon's network can't handle the load. Of course, if Verizon ends up handling the iPhone traffic without any problems, that could take a major bite out of AT&T's overall iPhone business, or kill it entirely.