Now that we all just pretty take it for granted that the Verizon iPhone will be announced tomorrow and ship around the end of the month we can start sweating the details like -- will Verizon's network be able to handle the AT&T-crushing load and will they still offer unlimited data plans. According to "a person familiar with the matter" (probably not Steve Jobs, right?), the Wall Street Journal says the answer to both questions is "yes":
Verizon Wireless, the country's largest wireless carrier, is confident enough in its network that it will offer unlimited data-use plans when it starts selling the iPhone around the end of this month [...] Such plans would provide a key means of distinguishing its service from rival AT&T Inc., which limits how much Internet data such as videos and photos its customers may use each month.
AT&T switched to 256MB and 2GB plans back in June 2010 and while Verizon is rumored to be doing likewise, staying with unlimited just long enough to launch the iPhone is probably the smart play.
"Whether they are iPhones or Droids, they are smartphones," Verizon Chief Executive Ivan G. Seidenberg said in a mid-November interview. "Regardless of the mix, we are prepared to carry more data."
Droids/Androids are already hitting Verizon's CDMA network in large numbers and iPhone will hit it again like a freight train, so it will be interesting to see if Verizon can really back up their claims.
Of course, Verizon's current EVDO Rev-A network can't handle voice and data at the same time, so unlike AT&T, Verizon iPhone users won't be able to talk and surf the web at the same time. Will that lighten the load, or simply put the pressure on Verizon to roll out an updated EVDO Rev-A network (since they're skipping the voice/data friendly Rev-B and going straight to LTE, which it doesn't look like Apple will be supporting for a while still...)
If unlimited data and better network reliability are really in the cards, does that encourage you to consider Verizon for your next iPhone?