Fortune: Verizon iPhone confirmed


Fortune, in an article today describing the long and winding relationship between Apple's Steve Jobs and Verizon's Ivan Seidenberg, claims they've confirmed a Verizon iPhone is coming in "early 2011".

According to the story, Verizon passed on the iPhone in 2005 because Steve Jobs wanted too much control over where it was sold, too high a cut of service fees, and wanted to take on too much of the customer relationship. When Seidenberg tried to revisit the idea in 2007, just prior to the original iPhone launch, Jobs had concerns about CDMA not being a global standard. 4G LTE plans weren't enough to jumpstart the discussions back then.

Lowell McAdam, who will succeed Seidenberg at some point next year, contacted Jobs again in late 2007, when AT&T's network was already suffering under iPhone demand, to make sure they "weren't missing something," something which McAdam says Jobs agreed with in principle.

It took until October 2010 for Apple and Verizon to come together at all, and only for iPad 3G + MiFi bundle sales, but it was an important first step. And the iPhone?

people familiar with its development say it is a fait accompli. Verizon, sources say, will sell its own version of the iPhone 4, which will work on Verizon's CDMA-based 3G network. Unfortunately for globe trotters, the first version of the phone likely won't be built to work outside the U.S. -- it probably won't carry a special chip that can turn it into a "world phone." However, it may have some of the features on the iPad distributed in Verizon's stores, like live TV for customers of the FiOS cable service.

The whole article is worth a read, and also includes a lot about Verizon's relationship with Google and Eric Schmidt, and their current use of Android as an alternative to iPhone (though in the current quarter it hasn't brought in anywhere near the amount of net subscribers).

For those keeping score at home, however, we now have Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Fortune on record confirming the iPhone is coming to Verizon. Are you starting to believe?


Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Fortune: Verizon iPhone confirmed


Until Mr. Jobs utters the magic words it ain't so. This would be the tech story of the year so I'm sure there's some embellishment so that tech pundits can take credit for breaking the story. Even if they had zero info they could be hedging their bets hoping to be on the right side of the story.

AT&T iPhoners will come in droves to our CDMA version of the iPhone! You won't be able to use it anywhere else in the world except in the United States but who cares? Everywhere else sucks anyway! We'll load that sucker up with bloatware that you can't remove and good luck trying to jailbreak it. Oh, and we just can't wait to brand it with our blood red logo! Heheheheheee! :D

I don't know, I think I'm actually starting to believe. I tell you what, if it does come to Verizon I will be ecstatic cuz then I'm gonna jailbreak it and take it to Cricket wireless! Lol. I can't stand Verizon either...they are all evil. Well maybe not evil but they are all expensive. Or maybe they are evil, it is nearly Halloween. I just want an iPhone with unlimited everything for $50 a month...cmon Jailbroken Cricket iPhone.

I'm sorry, but has Apple spoke on this issue or had a keynote confirming it? No? Then it's pure rumor until one of them confirms it on stage. We all know it won't be Verizon yapping their mouths.

Follow the money. Every time a story like this comes out, Apple and Verizon's stock jump. Someone's trying to game the stock market.

This is along the same lines as the "weapons of mass destruction" thing in Iraq.
I wont believe til i see it

I'm just finally glad to see that I was right all these years when I told people that the reason Verizon didnt get the iPhone first was cause Apple wanted a cut of the service fees. I knew it! and like everyone else...we shall see!

We shall see what happens but it seems to be clear that there will be a CDMA iPhone coming in the near future on Verizon. Too many trusted sources are discussing this topic and ATT has clearly become more focused on the BlackBerry Torch and Windows Phone!

I think it's likely coming. I won't be switching, Verizon doesn't have any type of signal for around a 40 mile radius at my parent's house, but AT&T does, so I'll stick. I haven't had any issues with AT&T (Well, that I haven't had with other carriers, anyways), so I'm happy with my phone and service.

Of course Verizon iphone is coming. There is absolutely no doubt about that. The only question is when?
But I wish all those people who are so eager to switch to Verizon good luck! I had the WORST customer service in the history of mankind with Verizon, I will never go back even if they offer a network that works on every inch of the globe for $5 a month. They screw up every bill, they overcharge at every opportunity, they are rude and obnoxious, they treat you like you owe them a favor, and their network is actually not all that special.
About a month ago I took a small business trip with a company laptop that had a Verizon 3G card. It was not an exhaustive test of every inch of the USA but it was a decent trip. I regularly ran speed tests on my iPhone and on the Verizon network. AT&T was consistently double the speed, and I always had decent signal with both devices.
I get the impression that people think that Verizon will make their beds for them in the morning and do their dishes for them at night.
In the end, the network is really just a dumb pipe anymore. VCast is a joke, and outside of Manhattan and San Francisco the AT&T network is just fine for all of us iPhone customers.
Good luck folks - Verizon is just as happy to greedily take your money as any other network out there. Greener grass is a nasty perspective trick...

Come one guys, this is most def happening. Find me another point in the last 3 years where so many major publications, not just rinky dink blogs jumped on this story, and did so with such conviction. ITS HAPPENING whether or not the AT&T fans and the Droid fans want it to. As for it not being world edition, I think there are millions of Americans out there that are not really all that concerned. Verizon customers are used to sparse international support, if any, and personally, I only travel the US for business, so why would I be reluctant to purchase arguably the best phone out there on best network in the US? I'll be lining up day 1 to purchase two of there, one for myself and my fiance.

@ VR, you obviously haven't traveled THAT much if you think AT&T's coverage is that good. Bring your phone to my neck of the woods and find out how good AT&T's coverage is, much less their 3G coverage. I would've bought an iPhone years ago, but AT&T is a non-starter around here.

You can't really rip either provider's coverage. It is all relative to where you live. Where I am Verizon is coverage king and AT&T is sparse and JUST got 3G. I switched to AT&T for the iPhone and will certainly be switching back to Verizon when they get the iPhone unless there is some unforeseen catch with it.

Dear Mr jobs please let this be true so that verizons network can be crippled, and we can hear every vzw custie can complain about their butchered iPhone and an ancient network is bogged down. Please Mr jobs allow AT&T to finally have android devices not butchered because of the iPhone, please Mr jobs give vzw cutomers the iPhone so that us AT&T subcriberers can clown the hell out of them when both of us are on calls and the AT&T phone is browsing the web and taking care of emails while talking. Please Mr jobs let them unlock your phone and take it to cricket and watch you loose money out of your pocket.

I'm believing it.
You got to remember kids, these Sources like fortune, WSJ etc, they wouldn't just post rumors unless there is evidence to back up the caims.
Not everything needs to be confirmed at a silly keynote. Ha, look at the iphone 4, and the number of leaks before habd

Jason, you don't bother to say where your "neck of the woods" is. But as far as traveling much, does Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Denver, Albuquerque, Little Rock, Albany NY, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Sacramento qualify as traveling enough on AT&T's network? Or do I need to personally hit all 50 states and the top 100 metro areas?
Personally, my Verizon coverage didn't include the area where I ski and when I switched to TMobile, TMobile did cover that area. So I could say based on "my neck of the woods" that TMobile has a better network than Verizon...
Anecdotal evidence is useless. Real statistics show that AT&T covers just as much as Verizon - although each actual location may be slightly different. The only two places that have seen major problems with AT&T are Manhattan and San Francisco. The "3G" coverage maps are slightly misleading as AT&T 2G coverage is there and is almost as fast as Verizon 3G... Verizon chose to make their entire network a slower version of 3G while AT&T decided to deploy a faster version of 3G to only the most populous areas and leave the areas with much fewer people on a fairly decent 2G system. Looking at overlays of AT&T and Verizon coverage, they basically hit the same places although each individual tower may be different.
People act like if I go three feet from a city my AT&T phone stops working. Nope, I get voice+data coverage all over the sparsely populated west - even in lots of rural areas. This summer I was able to use AT&T with full Edge signal in some of the most remote parts of Oregon and Washington. Even driving through Nevada and Utah my AT&T phone worked most places I went. So I am not sure what the big complaints are.
I do have one constant issue though, there is one spot between where I work and downtown where for one block or so near the river, whether I am walking or driving or on a train - where my data just barfs, like it tries to switch towers and gets lost or something. I have reported that spot as it is a major annoyance. Always the same spot, and always happens the same way.
I don't really care though - all the network providers suck for one reason or another. If you like Verizon better - by all means go there. I don't get paid to prop any of them up.
I simply laugh when people think that Verizon is going to be so different than AT&T. They are not - I had them for three years and they sucked. The best mobile company by far is TMobile but their network footprint is the smallest so they don't work for everyone and their 3G frequency differs from AT&T so I can't unlock my iPhone and go there (unless I want to stick with Edge).

The funny thing is, the original iPhone could only make calls OR surf the web, you could'n do both due to AT&Ts Edge network, it wasn't able too.
So, a lot of people using that argument should stop. Whenever you only have 2G (Edge), you can't do both. So Verizon and most of AT&T are in the same boat.

I don't believe this at all! Why would verizon take the iphone 4 when later in the year a new iphone will be out. It just makes no sense at all. I really doubt this will happen

Well see we will. I hope it does happen so that AT&T will have to bump up there services and hopefully their coverage areas to cope and compete with Verizon. Oh just to let people who are waiting to jump networks Verizon does not support simultaneous call and web browsing at the same time. That goes for any and all data

Verizon got it right the first time. Bump steve's control. I don't need a bunch of sheep hopping onto my network bogging it down.

Id jump if I got Unlimited 4g coverage until then I'll probably keep limping with ATT to avoid getting locked into a contract.

It will eventually happen but I do know that VZW has no marketing plan for IPhone during the first two qtrs of next 2011.

@VR, I don't typically put my information out there, but I live in a rural area in Maryland. I understand the advantages to AT&T's coverage if you don't leave the cities and suburbs, but for a large number of people living outside the city hubs, AT&T's coverage is inadequate. We don't care about talking and surfing at the same time, we care about being able to receive a phone call rather than getting a voicemail 20 minutes later, and we care about having a cell phone that serves as an actual home phone replacement. Verizon is king around my area, with probably provides service to 3 out of 4 subscribers.

Verizon passed on the iPhone in 2005 because Steve Jobs wanted too much control over where it was sold, too high a cut of service fees, and wanted to take on too much of the customer relationship. Ya I am sure this has not changed at all. The demand is there and verizon now sees it and they want a piece of the action now. Simple as that.

@VR "Anecdotal evidence is useless". You mean exactly what you provided? Reputable studies have shows ATT to be inferior to VZ in almost every case (CR, JD Power anyone?).

^ Who cares? It's a carrier. Does Verizon care about you? Are they going to drive your kids to school or shovel your driveway? Nope. They're a heartless carrier just like every other carrier.

If it does happen, how close to iPhone 5. Would make no sense to offer one just months away from a new phone.

im very glad.. ATT has an awesome network that is over run with people joining just for the iphone. what kills it is the people who know ATT does not serve their area best but buy the phone just to have it..
im ATT iphone 4 user and i cant wait to drop the dead weight! ATT is big in TN and is without a doubt better than verizon and their fake billing charges they charge people.

Starting to believe? Maybe. I still don't care, though. I'm pulling down close to 6Mbps on my iPhone 4 these days and that's something that Verizon not only cannot beat, but can't even come CLOSE to.
All this AT&T trashing. Let's see VZW's CDMA network buckle under the pressure of the iPhone.
Too little, too late. Verizon clearly missed the party, as these rumors have been around in '07, '08, '09, and now again this year. Whatevah applies.

Ya I really hope this is true. AT&T has a great network, which is just over packed right now. But even with their overcrowded network, I still pull down 4-5MB easy on my iPhone 4. Man, I can't wait to see what the network can do after people start jumping to Verizon.

I hope its true. I'll stick with ATT because I get a good discount with my employer but it will be nice for VZ customers to have a choice from the piles of droids VZ carries now.

After being with Sprint for 12 years I will be switching to Verizon as soon as they carry the iPhone. It's sad that Verizon can negotiate a deal with Apple but Sprint can't. Maybe that is why Sprint is the #3 phone carrier.

The more carriers the better for consumers.
In my heavily wooded and hilly neighborhood on the outside of a small town NO carrier has good service. The AT&T MicroCell has been awesome - full bars all over home - even in basement theatre.
I'll never understand why people bash theirs and others' cell phone carriers so intensely.

In short I would like to day different strokes for different folks. Tho I am an avid verizon user and do feel very strongly about its superior nature over at&t. Verizon is leading the way on lte and available phones on the market. Droid™ X user who doesn't give a crap about the iphone

I hope iPhone 4 for verizon has a few tweaks like an fm radio tuner, 3G FaceTime and wifi hotspot features

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