Poll: Could Verizon Handle the iPhone?


Techcrunch asks the impertinent question: can AT&T handle the iPhone. The pertinent answer thus far is: no. The iPhone is a consumer success the likes of which no smartphone has experienced before. There are more users using more features that consumer more bandwidth that likely even Apple or AT&T ever estimated, and it's put an extreme hurt not only on existing infrastructure, but a hurt that's growing faster than infrastructure expansion can handle.

The answer to many is simply to have the iPhone on Verizon, which is believed to offer a better network. While obviously splitting the iPhone between AT&T and Verizon would lesson the individual demand on both -- load balancing the user pool, so to speak -- we're curious as to whether or not Verizon could have, or could still, handle the iPhone all by itself.

It's largely reported that Verizon was the first US carrier offered the iPhone after all. If they'd said yes, and if the iPhone grew on Verizon as fast (or faster, given their reach) than AT&T, would Verizon have suffered the same problems -- and bad reputation -- AT&T is suffering now? CDMA towers, while serving more with less, still have their limits, after all. (TiPb's heard that some feel BlackBerry hits CDMA networks hard -- they ain't seen anything like the freight-train of hurt the iPhone is bringing.)

So, what do you think?

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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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Poll: Could Verizon Handle the iPhone?


I don't think Verizon could handle it. Let's say EVERY iPhone user switched to Verizon (cell radios permitting) all the traffic, downloads, etc. would kill the network. I think any network at this point would cause any carrier/network problems.

Verizon doesn't have half of the Smartphone subscribers AT&T does yet their network still crashes in areas where they have heavy Data traffic.
The thing is VzW does not have heavy data users that networks like Sprint and AT&T does. Hell, neither networks have to deal with the load that AT&T does because their 3G customers have to deal with both Voice and Data hogging the same bandwidth.

I think it should just be available to multiple networks. And be able to be switched between them if you're going to switch a plan. I'm pretty sure that's possible but I don't have much experience in the SIM card department or anything.

i think both networks can handle the iPhone, but only if both networks stop being so greedy and invest some of their profits into new technology and more 3G/4G towers. I really do think the iphone is going to have monopoly on a all cell phones. Year by year the iphone just keeps getting better and better. I think it will reach the point where it will become like a laptop. Don't you think so?

The bottom line is that which ever carrier decides to carry the iPhone from here on out had better make sure that they can handle all the traffic that comes with it. To have such an awesome device limited by a carrier is a shame, a damn dirty shame.

The iPhone should be stretched to all carriers (T-Mobile, Verizon , Sprint). I think this would benefit Apple so damn much. It would balance out the traffic of data usages.

Maybe it is just me, but my speeds have great since I got the iPhone 3G last year. I'm in NJ and I have 3G everywhere and it's damn fast too. Maybe 1 or 2 dropped calls in a year. Now the 3GS makes is even more speedy. I did travel to Telluride, CO last year and experienced no 3G which was heartbreaking but I still had great service 12,000 feet above sea level in the middle of nowhere. Everyone seems to complain about AT&T, but it's been good for me other than no MMS.

It's not just you. Most of the time everything is great. Unless I go to any mass gathering such as a concert, sporting event, or convention in which case nothing works. Total and complete failure. Also some rurall markets are completely broken (have been for years.) Otherwise 95% of the time everything is snappy and as advertised.

I've been pretty happy with AT&T's service in DC and Philadelphia. 3G everywhere and the 3GS is fast. I came over from Verizon and at first thoughtbitbwe a pain! But, it's been fine. And I like rollover minutes!!!

The one thing that rarely gets mentioned is the fact that Verizon just LOVES to dictate and limit what they provide from the handset makers. Are they open to giving Apple the latitude they get from ATT? I don't think Verizon's culture is ready to give up that control.

I think Verizon was smart on not taking the iPhone at first. I think that someone at Verizon seen this coming and instead of taking the iPhone and getting hit by the issues that hit AT&T they turned away from the iPhone and is/has been investing into their networks in prep for a iPhone launch. In which case they then could say, (provided they did invest into their network and not have the issues AT&T have)they are truly the better carrier all the way around. Just my thought.

@ Lolipopjones: Smartphones also dont equal the amount of data that aircards use.
One reason AT&T had issues with the iPhone was there lack of a strong network backbone. When San Antonio was AT&T's headquarters their network backhaul was weak as hell. I have to drive across the country on I-10 a many times a year and I love how I only get super sweet EDGE on my iPhone and am amazed how AT&T has yet to address the highways with 3G.

Regardless of whether it can or not the iPhone needs to be on multiple carriers so you don't have situations where the carriers can take their sweet time upgrading their network or adding features.
Competition always benefits the consumer.

@ jbrandonf: I agree about multiple carriers and I think future iPhones will be on both AT&T and Verizon. THe issue with upgrading the networks is a hardware one due to the still new hardware and the fact that it cost tons of money to push out these upgrades.

It would be better on multiple carriers, though I don't really notice anything with the iPhone on only Rogers right now.

I think they could handle it better. The problem is that Verizon's version of the iPhone would have no Bluetooth, no Wifi, would not be allowed to sync with iTunes and not be able to support 3rd-party apps except those approved by Verizon for a monthly fee.

I only noticed that my 3G wasn't as fast as it should be when I was visiting my son in Rockland County, NY. I did the speed test and received awesome results. I then tried it here in North Jersey and my speeds were shot by 5 times, yet my signal was strong. I realized it's the amount of users in my town, area that have iPhones clogging the network. I went to a Dunkin Donuts a couple blocks down with a friend and probably 4 people out of 20+ didn't have one. One a g1, 2 verizon phones and I couldn't make out the other.
It's unfortunate for us and AT&T. They are getting a rep of having bad coverage, when indeed it's great, but we have the most business customers, most smartphone users and also no cap on the unlimited data plans like Verizon. All these equal disaster.
Also, on 3G, users can use the telephone and send/receive data, that's double the amount others who aren't on UMTS 3G or wifi. Not saying AT&T isn't at fault, but I understand the reasons why.
It would have been worse for Verizon as post auction, AT&T gained more capacity. We had a meeting about how we had more, but we used more as UMTS uses a lot more of the capacity added with the most BlackBerry and all the iPhone subscribers (minus jailbroken iPhones on T-mobile), it putting a toll on our network, yet we're still faster than the competitors.

@ PSM: Apple wouldn't be in talks with Verizon if those features where not going to be in the phone. Verizon would be smart to make this one of the few phones on their network with a ton of features. Verizon could then charge people who would never have a smartphone, but would be fine with an iPhone and would make a ton of money off the data plans.

@Loner: Data cards are limited to 5gig usage. Blackberries actually use the least data due to their compression methods for Email. As an iPhone user i tend to consume 4gigs a month in data.... A buddy of mine tends to consumer 3.5 gigs a month...
Smartphones can reach Aircard levels especially if the user uses it as their primary web browsing experience.
Verizon will not get an iPhone. They are not joking about the V-cast App store a how ever VzW Branded phone will have to have their App Store. Is anyone stupid enough to believe Apple is going to make an LTE/CDMA phone on a network that will bar them from having their app store on their phone. VzW has made no bones about the fact that they want to make all the money not the manufacturers.

@Loner: My storm does not work where i live. VzW's coverage map says they have "GREAT" coverage where i live but the truth is you get 1 bar max where i live most of the time you are searching for service... I am only 15 miles outside of richmond VA and they can't provide us a passable service in this county...

totally happy with AT&T 3G in seattle. always fast, always present, no problem.
text messaging on the other hand has been awful, especially considering how much AT&T charges. messages have taken hours to get through.

I personally would love to see the iphone come to Verizon. speaking as a person who's had sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T AND now currently Verizon I would say that Verizon is by far the best carrier I've ever had. Reception is always good, customer service is the best. I went to Verizon bc I lost 2 iphones and being that they weren't insured at the time, I was not about to buy a 3rd Iphone. I enjoy my storm but I would trade it for a Verizon iphone anyday. I would never go back to AT&T. People like to talk about how expensive Verizon is but AT&T isn't the cheapest either! And dropped calls happened as often as calls were received. I don't think Verizon would be such a b**** to where they wouldn't let the iphone have Bluetooth, wifi, itunes syncing and app store. If you really believe that then you're a really big pessimist. I don't think the iphone coming to Verizon is so far out of the picture. It seems logical. Like I said, I'd love it as a Verizon customer bc I'd never go back to AT&T.

@ Lolipopjones: I can guarantee that most people don't use anywhere near that amount of data on their phone. I love how you use unproven info about what Verizon would do with the phone. I could care less who carriers the phone as I have always used Apple products. Many carriers lie about coverage, but when you have a coverage map that says there is 3G offered from Tampa to Flagstaff and you only get EDGE on an interstate then there is something wrong. Verizon actually loves to use other carriers coverage in their maps if you read the fine print. I like how Im stupid for thinking that Apple would try and bring iPhone to more then one carrier.

Verizon is the worst to destroy and make a phone OS 10% Verizon, if they had it first the iPhone would be much more limited today...

In a way we are lucky down here in Australia. We only have a population of about 21 million.
We have 4 major telcos who all carry the iPhone.
We can also buy the iPhone outright and not network locked at Apple stores.
There are still network congestion issues in some areas at certain times but generally its pretty good.

buying the iPhone out right has many non-contract advantages. But no one here should be able to complain cause the option to buy outright exists here, but people choose not to, for a economial advantage.. And everything has a price..

Verizon probably avoided the iphone because it knew it could not handle the extra bandwidth requirements. Yes--the app store was probably another reason but I wouldn't say it was the main reason.

Go with a blackberry tour on verizon network. U won't be disapoinnted. Better than iPhone I believe

There are more users using more features that /consumer/ more bandwidth /that/ likely even Apple or AT&T ever estimated
Should read:
There are more users using more features that /consume/ more bandwidth /than/ likely even Apple or AT&T ever estimated
While obviously splitting the iPhone between AT&T and Verizon would /lesson/ the individual demand on both
Should read:
While obviously splitting the iPhone between AT&T and Verizon would /lessen/ the individual demand on both

Just to remind everyone, the verizon CDMA network CAN NOT handle voice and data at the same time. For example, If you are on a phone call you cannot access the web to look up something unless you hang up first. With the AT&T network you have access to the web while on a call.

Are you kidding me?
I came from Verizon, and used a BB Storm.
Their network is so sluggish that it took forever to load webpages.
All the bad rep about AT&T, and I thought it would be horrible with my new iPhone 3Gs. Guess what, I have way faster speeds on AT&T (metro Houston), then I ever did on Verizon, and I've yet to encounter a dead spot.

@Loner: I actually work with VzW so i know exactly what they would try to do with the iPhone. They aren't going to back down because the companies internal policy to to "Make the most money per handset and Data device." that came from Lowell Mcadam. DO you think VzW is going to launch probably one of the most popular Data Device in the world and say "OH WE WILL LET APPLE MAKE POTENTIALLY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND WE WILL BE CONTENT WITH THE DATA PLAN!".. This is the company that made sure Instant Messenger uses your Texting plan..... AIM, MS IM, and Yahoo IM all use your SMS unlike on the iPhone IMs which use the data network....
VzW charges for Visual Voice mail while its free for iPhones.... VzW is a carrier that wants to market itself as a carrier with products for everything. Anyone who thinks they wouldn't try to get rid of iTune, Apple's App Store, and get rid of the Apple Care plans are delusional... I sat with and listened to a VP of VzW look at the iPhone and say "Why would anyone want that on their network? Carriers make NO Money from it..." and that was only 2 months ago...
Its simple.. if you want VzW then you want a carrier that will provide you with every App, GPS, and Music file. VzW wants to maximize its earning potential just like Apple. Contrary to popular opinion its more concerned about making the Maximum amount of profit per handset then it is about selling a handset that will just garner it contracts. If a manufactuer wants their device to be on their network then it will be at a price and to think they would let a device come on there network with a famous competing product is absurd... They have a contract with Rhapsody which is a competitor with iTunes. Do you think they are going to say "Buy the iPhone it comes with iTunes.. No it can't get Rhapsody... but iTunes is BETTER!"
So before you sit here and try to make conjectures and try to argue with me. Its a fact that VzW's users do not use their device half as much iPhone users. Two Data card users tend to use their cards conservatively because they are marketed for business use. Most of the users tend to use it for only email..... I did 14,000 emails and surfed the web and only did 600mbs...
Oh I am only using myself.... great job of being obstinate. Noone cares if it goes to T-Mobile just because it loses exclusivity doesn't mean Apple is going to make a CDMA based phone.... CDMA chipsets are more expensive and require different set of firmware which drives there operating costs up.

@ Lolipopjones: CDMA chips do cost more, but your going to see the same rise in price on LTE chips as Qualcomm owns many of the patents in LTE. I like how you try and throw out the conjectures on me when in all your post you explain exactly "what Verizon would do with the iPhone." "Hello pot." Every company tries to max out all the revenue it can from a customer, so that is not specific to just Verizon. Visual voicemail is an software feature that Apple built specially for the iPhone and no other AT&T phone has that. AT&T does charge SMS fees/use text for none iPhone users, so trying to say that only Verizon charges for those things is lame.

Frak Verizon! I was with them for 8 years with the inception being inundated with competition with other cellphone companies. But now? Nope. They could care less about offering affordable plans, let alone rollover minutes like AT&T. They may not be a stellar cell provider but since I've moved over from Verizon, AT&T has been my silverlining. They have provided my coveted rollover minutes which I will never relinquish and lets not forget about my awesome iPhone!
AT&T > Verizon
But with all of that being said, I would welcome the iPhone being offered on multiple carriers, not just AT&T and Verizon. Competition does indeed promote a healthy industry.

I had Verizon for 12 yrs great everything until 1/09 i went and bought a BB Storm. Worst thing ever, never had all my bars, dropped calls to the point that i had 3 storms in 1mth internet was so slow i can log on to 2 web sites on my new Iphone 3Gs and still beat the Storm. Point is that if they were this bad with the Storm then how could they handle the Iphone so far i love ATT Alway have 3G every where i go I Live in DC

i love the iPhone AT&T is alright but they gave apple a chance when verizon shot them down plus i love rollover minutes i will never change carriers i am 22 and i will never change phones i will always buy the new iPhone no matter the price because this is the best phone in the world point blank period. there r 300 patents on the iPhone to make sure it will always be the best phone in the world.
@Lolipopjones gave @Loner the business i'am sorry loner but he had the facts on u. You came in a gun fight with a knife lol lol seriously.

@Loner: Any phone on VzW's network will have to have CDMA/LTE Chipsets... which makes the device even more expensive to make. Why? VzW will be using CDMA as their voice network and LTE as their Data. Also Apple will probably go with its current GSM chipset vender Infineon who makes LTE chipsets that supports all European GSM Technologies... Qualcomm is only making LTE chipsets that support EVDO Rev B which VzW is not going to upgrade its Evdo Rev A network.
Basically the SUCK factor for VzW customers is they will have fun on LTE and then when they drop into a 3G zone the speed drop will be so severe they will be horrified.. The AT&T and Roger's customer will be better off when they drop between LTE and 3G.
I am not throwing out conjectures you idiot. I work with VzW....unlike you i understand their Corporate Culture and know that they would not allow a device on their network that they cannot garner ANY profit off of it besides the the data plan. The Vcast App Store is to come on all Microsoft and Blackberries and YES its not a rumor its fact... The App World and Windows Market place will have to be downloaded onto the device by the USER vs the Vcast App store that comes preloaded on the device.
Are you completely devoid of understanding that a carrier like VzW only wants devices that will make it more money then just voice plans? AT&T has gone the opposite route allowing Manufacturers to bring out devices with their own products and offering while using DUMBPHONES to market their own products.
The real conjecture is all you. The idea that VzW would change its corporate culture to lose potential revenue on a DEVICE that would compete with its own products. Your idea is ignorant because unlike the "EVIL" AT&T and "Malicious" T-mobile Vzw will be in worse for where if the government starts to heavily regulate the carriers and make them into utilities which would be an easy Transition for AT&T because the only way they can make more profit with the iPhone is to get more subscribers.

@Lolipopjones: I think the same could be said about you being devoid of understanding that business are in the business to make money and to assume that AT&T is guilt free of trying to suck up as much money as Verizon is ridiculous. I know that having any form of a CDMA/LTE chipset will raise the cost, but what I stated is taht you will see a rise in price no matter what since Qualcomm owns patents to the technology in LTE, which GSM Association tried t get away from but couldn't when Qualcomm bought Flarion years ago. I assume you mean UMTS for 3G when you say 3G since AT&T's network now uses HSDPA in many parts and is a 3.5G tech? I could careless about those speeds right now since I only get EDGE going across 5 states unless I'm in a major city.
Here is a new article about this network speedtest for you.
I don't care if hey preload something on there I wouldn't use it just like I don't use some of the pre loaded Apple apps on my phone. I don't care which network the phone goes to as I will still use it because I'm one of those Kool-Aid drinking Apple people and it doesn't bother me. The idea that a company would not compete against itself shows that you have no idea how business are run as companies do this all the time with online vs retail and GM vs Saturn are a few examples. Working with/for Verizon also should have taught you that people don't always want to pay for addons or data plans, but having an iPhone has forced people to do just that and I can only assume that Verizon would have no problems with that since they would actually be making more money off their customers. Hey Rush you don't have to worry about the cell carriers becoming any sort of utilities.

Lol I mean is it really that serious?? I think anybody can act like they know what they're talking about and assume things based on their own opinions but unless you're actually one of the big guys in these conference rooms then what you say is really just dumb asumptions. Nothing to get upset over lol the likeliness of the iphone going to vzw might be slim to none or it might be the most possible thing since mobile technology but fact is its going to be a shared device and to iphone and att customers, tough luck.its just reality. I love the iphone but I'm also very content with my bb storm even though it sucked @$$ when it first came out. You can argue coverage but it all comes down to where you live. All carriers have their pros and cons.

Not gonna go on yadaddadadadaaddadada seeing as it's been done to hell. Just gonna say tmobile needs to pick up the iPhone along side AT&T. I was with AT&T back in the tdma days, they were really bad back then but they improved service just not rates. I have been with tmobile since the were voicestream in 02. Like every provider there's been a bill issue here and there and some service issues(mostly during hurricanes) but no major provider can beat tmobile rates, my bill is 87 a month after tax. That includes 300 anytime, unlimited 5 fav, unlimited text and data. I go through just over a gig of data a month and round 4k text with my g1 but everytime I pick up my iPod touch it makes me wish I had an iPhone but can't see spending 40-50 bucks more a month(which is what I calculated if I went with the minues I would need and the horrible rate AT&T has on text). So let's all just hope AT&T and apple don't renew their contract together in '10!

No, please not Verizon. If everybody thinks AT&T is controlling, Verizon does it even more. They need to release it to Sprint and T-Mobile. Sprint first because while their network is not as large, it is more robust. T-Mobile if they will get off their butt's and roll out 3G on their network.

Sure Verizon could handle it. That wasn't the point. When Apple approached Verizon with the iPhone product (prior to committing to GSM or CDMA), it wasn't the product that Verizon rejected. It was Apple's demand for a share of the airtime revenue that made offering the product unattractive to Verizon. Apple wanted not just the one time revenue from product sales, they also wanted recurring revenue from product usage. Apple's running this arrangement, not the carriers. Apple will take their monopoly wherever they can get the deal they like.

Some of you guys are ridiculously aggressive over this topic. Just chill for a little bit. I hope it comes to Verizon however I'm uneducated in this cell phone CDMA, GSM, LTE, and EVDO stuff so my words mean nothing. Anyways, it doesn't matter cause the world will end in 2012.

lol @ John...interesting point psource with Apple running the show. That seems like it would be a major issue too

It's time for Apple and Verizon to come together for the good of all cell phone users. ATT coverage in many areas just doesn't cut it.

@Loner, i live in San Antonio, and my 3G coverage has been pretty good id say... better than my girlfriends BlackBerry tours 3G coverage on sprint. (Im a huge BlackBerry fan btw.. and a 9700 might be my next phone, or whatever comes out, lol. so definitely not knocking the BB's) but id have to agree with you that traveling down I-10, just to Houston for work/gigs kind of sucks.. Although, i can get about a good distance outside of SA before it switches to edge. I would hate to be on the road that much and not be able to take full advantage of the iPhones 3G. but come to think of it.. b4 i had my iPhone i was using a BlackBerry curve 8900, and when i would go to Houston, even my edge would find dead spots.. not so with the iPhone... i was on edge @ least in case my car was to break down..
I dont think AT&T is as bad as people make it out.. (Cant say for the real big "problem" cities like NY and San Fran though.. with such a dense population and so many taking up bandwith i can see that..) I dont think its quite AT&T's fault or Apples fault.. Its bandwith, and its going to change just like technology does every few years. Look @ internet bandwith in your home.. say you have a teenage kid playing a computer game, esp with lots of data coming through.. you want to watch a show on the internet.. its probably going to be more choppy and laggy than if he wasnt playing the game.. bc that bandwith being used is less. am i right? (im no expert, just going off what i hear). If you live in NYC and just HAVE to have an iPhone even if the network coverage sucks but are going to complain about it, then tough luck.. get a blackberry instead or move somewhere else. lmao. :p
Personally i think it would be good for someone else to carry the iphone.. id say T-mobile.. (best customer service i have ever experienced by the way, AT&T's isnt bad either). just to split up the bandwith. im sure AT&T would lose customers.. but it probably would not be as bad as it sounds, and the competition is healthy for the advancement in technologies. :)

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