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iPhone on Verizon Wireless: just the facts

Yes, I read the information this morning as it came from the good folks at CNET. Verizon’s PR folks disallowed video coverage. What did you expect? :-) A huge telecommunications company to “get it…?” :-) It was obvious from the short presentation by executives (no, Steve wasn’t there) that there would be a lot of unanswered questions.

CNET answers some of them here.

I will summarize and paraphrase, with my comments:

  • Verizon’s iPhone uses a CDMA chip instead of running on GSM.
  • So, NO you can’t used AT&T’s iPhone on Verizon’s network.
  • The ringer/mute switch has been moved slightly to accommodate the CDMA chip, making existing iPhone 4 cases incompatible. :-) Have fun, you aftermarket folks!
  • The phone runs iOS 4.2.5 instead of 4.2.1.
  • There is no simultaneous voice and data. :-( The CDMA Development Group says that will change this spring.
  • Verizon’s iPhone can be used as a WiFi hotspot to support up to 5 devices.
  • The price is the same as elsewhere: $199 for 16 GB model and $299 for the 32 GB model, both with 2-year contracts.
  • Verizon COO Lowell McAdam was not ready to give details concerning plans, yet.
  • No free bumper case
  • Current Verizon customers can preorder on February 3, others can buy at the launch on February 10.
  • No white iPhones until spring
  • Verizon and Apple have a multi-year contract, but it is not EXCLUSIVE.
  • The specific absorption rate (SAR) for the phone is 1.18, vs. 1.17 for AT&T’s phone, virtually identical.
  • Apple’s Tim Cook said the two reasons that the iPhone is still on CDMA is that the LTE chip would force design compromises and that customers want the phone on Verizon NOW! (Actually, we wanted it 4 years ago!)
  • Yes, you will need to sign a new contract. Don’t cancel your EXISTING contract first, though, or you will likely lose your phone number.
  • Your number will be ported to your new phone in 3 hours to 4 days. :-) Be an optimist!
  • Beware the odious ETF (early termination fee)!
  • Plan wars between AT&T and Verizon could lead to price wars, a boon to customers.
  • Competition is good. Competition with Google is even better! :-)
  • New iPhone models could STILL be announced in the spring!
  • CNET authors guess that Apple will wait awhile before putting LTE chips in iPhones

CNET does not mention that “nobody” knows (well, “somebody” does!) how many models of iPad 2 could arrive as soon as March or April, and what their capabilities and sizes will be.

OK, I said, “just the facts,” but I throw in some “idle speculation” below. :-) No charge….

A Computerworld author asks whether the Verizon iPhone is “in the slightest bit interesting for enterprise users?” :-) Amazing! Those who have been watching high tech for awhile (or who have LIVED there) know that “consumers” DRIVE the market and are WAY ahead of conservative (some might say “stodgy” :-) ) corporations in product choices. So he should be asking the question the other way around. :-) The chip is CDMA2000, a 3G chip as mentioned above. The antenna has been tuned for Verizon CDMA2000 “diversity.”

An interesting column from PC Magazine speculates why Steve Jobs did not introduce the Verizon iPhone. One reason – the announcement wasn’t important enough. :-)

Two key questions for me are:

  1. How soon will the Verizon iPhone announced today become obsolete?
  2. Will a price war develop with AT&T, and how soon?

Once again, we shall see.

(Note added January 11, 2011, 11:25 PM PST: CNET’s Kent German offers this review of the phone.)

-Bill at

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