Verizon Prepared to Handle iPhone in 2010 -- If Exclusivity Ends with AT&T

If Apple ends US iPhone exclusivity with AT&T in 2010, could Verizon handle the handset that currently crushes service in data-dense cities like San Francisco and New York? BusinessWeek scored the quote from Verizon Wireless Chief Technology Officer Anthony Melone:

"We have put things in place already. We are prepared to support that traffic."

"It comes down to backing that process with money. We've been more consistent than any carrier in the last 10 years investing year over year."

"We will handle it if we ever get it."

To make sure we're absolutely crystal clear, no one is saying Verizon will be getting the iPhone next year, Verizon is just claiming their network is up to the task if they do.

When reached for comment on that claim, AT&T wouldn't address it directly but offered:

"We think we are leading the way in how people use their wireless phones. We operate a great network."

This comes as AT&T is facing increased media (and satirical) attention over their lack of infrastructure investment despite the increase in data revenue the iPhone has brought them. To their credit, however, they are continuing to publicize the "improved wireless network experience" they have invested in for certain areas of the US.

[Thanks to the Reptile!]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter,, Google+.

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There are 60 comments. Add yours.

Belichick the Genius says:

First! And if Verizon gets the Iphone I'll cut an ETF check to AT&T, and jump ship in a heartbeat.

MrAnonymous says:

Can they still expect the iPhone to the available to them, even after those anti-iPhone commercials? Or is there more to this?

Drake says:

@MrAnonymous Verizon's just doing all of the anti-iPhone commercials because they don't have it. It's purely business at this point.

Bob Kersey says:

I think AT&T really needs some competition when it comes to the iPhone. Then they might actually quit taking us for granted.

Jose says:

What about simultaneous voice and data? Verizon doesn't have it, can they make it happen? That'd be a huge selling point for me

kwc1974 says:

A Verizon iPhone would be tragic. My work phone is Verizon (HTC 3G) and personal is AT&T (iPhone 3G), I live and work in and around Houston and Verizon sucks here. The 3G speeds on Verizon make the days of dial up look good and so I never use it for anything other than phone calls and email, my iPhone on AT&T is way too much better and faster. I would not convert, and hope that if this does happen then it is a dual band so that I can keep AT&T. Oh yeag, Verizon does drop calls too. I hate that the first complaint people have about AT&T is drop calls. I have drops on Verizon just as much as I do with AT&T.

d.allen says:

Of course Verizon could handle it now.. as they wouldn't be supporting the entire iphone user base.. just the deflectors.. and Verizons tactics are wearing thing on me.. I don't think I could ever go with them as a company now.. the attack commercials, and then the.. We could run it.. of course you could, thats why you are attacking it, to make sure you never get it.. so we can't prove the theory wrong.. That diva princess commercial was low.. and not needed. I hope apple has some pride and never goes to them. Even though I would love to lose all the Verizon folks off of the network I currently have no problems with, AT&T.

Beefalo says:

I agree with @Jose. Unless Verizon makes data and voice available simultaneosly, I'm staying with At&t.

Angel says:

Verizon would never EVER experience the true brunt of iPhone user pushing the network to the max because most would still be on AT&T initially. Verizon would absorb the increase demand at a much slower pace and would share the load with AT&T. There would never be a way to judge Verizon's true metal on this point... but they'll claim they handled it better. Have all AT&T iPhoners on the Verizon network for one day and see if they can deal with it as smoothly as they claim.

Vanityeverlastingbonet says:

Please get it verizon I am sick of AT&T crap service

johnblackk says:

I have an iPhone and do not have issues with the AT&T network in San Francisco. I would only jump to Verizon if they had iPhone if it saved money and it was proven that their 3G is faster than AT&Ts. Until then...Im happy.

d.allen says:

Verizon proved long ago that they can't hang.. they were the ones that denied apple of making the iphone for there network before AT&T even got the offer. Now, since they see the messed up.. now all they can do is attack, and act like children.

cardfan says:

AT&T has blanket 3G coverage in my area. Gotta love em..

Nick says:

Over here in Australia we have the iPhone on all the carriers and have no probs.

kwc1974 says:

Best argument I have heard.

fastlane says:

Verizon and their phones are like those cheap, off-brand, plain white-packaged products you see in the last grocery store aisle.

Angel says:

I have 3G service in my city and rarely have any issues. I am a heavy user on the network and have few complaints. I use the new AT&T app to tell them my trouble spots. AT&T will bear the burden of popularity. If Verizon had won I doubt things would've gone as picture perfect as they claim. They're simply learning from AT&T's mistakes and capitalizing. I actually would like to see the iPhone on Verizon. Spreading the customer base would be great. I won't switch.

chrisr1975 says:

Beefalo Says:
December 18th, 2009 at 3:03 pm
I agree with @Jose. Unless Verizon makes data and voice available simultaneosly, I’m staying with At&t.
What he said.
Also Verizon 3 G speed is barely faster than Edge so making there commercials about ATT 3g coverage pointless.

Dan says:

In Portland OR, AT&T is great. Great fast service both on data and voice. I experience a dropped call or so per week, but that is exactly what my sister has on Verizon. I also feel that Verizon is all talk at this point as anyone who has used both knows, At&T 3g leaves V's in the dust and in fact AT&T 2g isn't much slower than V's 3G.

Rick D says:

AT&T has improved tremendously in my area. I have data and voice simultaneously. Downdload speeds at 1200-1500.

ThisBrian says:

That's cool all of the people leaving AT&T. My service is already good with AT&T but it will be even better.

Ron says:

Why don't AT&T and Verizon (and all the others) link their networks and trade capacity?

Chris says:

Wouldn't there need to be a change in iPhone hardware for Verizon to even work? Or on a equally large scale (cause 40 million iPhones are already out there) Verizon would have to update their towers so that they can support the iPhone, which i don't see happening. The question is, is Apple ready to move in with Verizon, which would cost them money cause they'd have to put in a universal receiver into the iPhone.

tony.aka.age says:

Well I think it's a great idea if Verizon ever got the iPhone since Verizon is the only major service in my area and im currently using T-Mobile. But I don't care anymore about which service is better, as long as you can talk and text I wouldn't mind being on any carrier. I went away from AT&T because on there online map they said there was no service were I lived, so I got myself T-Mobile. I got an iPhone and that's the way I like it!
YAY !!!!

Chad says:

The ATT vs VZW fight has everyone's eye off the ball. Neither of them are able to provide the speed available to other networks in the world. Erickson announced yesterday commercial use in Stockholm of 42Mbps(See Engadget), roughly 15x what we can access here in the US. A Verizon iPhone would spread users across the networks, and the situation would probably be better than it is today, but the broader point is that we all in the US would be behind what we want and what is legitimately capable.

50 Proof says:

Apple Insider posted that there are reports of apple working with qualquamm to produce a cdma enabled chip. If this is true then that means that the executives of Sprint and Verizon already know by now whether or not they'll be getting the iPhone and when they'll be getting it. Apple isn't going to make arrangements with a chip maker to start manufacturing a CDMA compatible phone and then go to Sprint or Verizon and say hey, we got this really cool interested? Doesn't work that way. If Apple is currently working with chip makers to build a CDMA iPhone then it's only because Verizon or Sprint have already sealed a contract with Apple.

arthur says:

If verizon includes unlimited texting with their iphone unlimited data plan for the same if not cheaper price taen att's current plan then i am switching

Andy says:

I've been a T-Mobile customer (and fan) for close to 10 years (since the Voicestream days), and still enjoy their network and especially their customer service. My unlocked/jailbroken iPhone 3G works great for the vast majority of things I use it for. Of course, I would love to be able to use T-Mobile's 3G network for a little additional speed, so the possibility of AT&T losing exclusivity is rather enticing.
I think Apple has enough handsets on the market now that they could afford to branch out to other carriers (for the subsidization) and even to sell directly to the public thru Apple retail stores. A $600 or $800 factory-unlocked phone may seem unreasonably expensive, but so did the $400 AT&T-only phones just a few years ago.

Hung Well says:

Go ahead and stick AT&T with a fork because they're done. Give me my iPhone with ANY other carrier.

Beefyjoe says:

Ok. Verizon has weak spots and ATT has weak spots. Niether has a perfect network. I Gorvan iPhone 2 months ago. I drop 6 calls a day, minimum. Verizon, dropped 6 calls a year. No comparison. ATT has piss- poor coverage in NYC, and I'm almost at my breaking point. I complained and got $120 off one of my bills. I have started shopping Droid. I am sick of this unuseable iPhone.

James says:

of course Verizon can handle the iphone, because it will not have all the iphone users under it. it's very remote, only a smell, but not a possibility.
granting iphone makes it to VZW 2010 on their CDMA radio, there is only one year left on that before they migrate to LTE (in 2011). So what happens to people who grabbed a 2-year contract for a VZW iphone, left out in migration process as their stuck with 1XEVDO?
there could be a possibilty, but the one making sense would be an iphone that supports VZW's 4G, not their current 1xEVDO.

msl says:

At&t service is fine. Why does everyone jump on the same bandwagon? YOU chose the best phone+provider on the market, you didn't inherit it or it wasn't forced on you in any way. This is your choice and if you feel it was a bad choice look in the mirror for responsibility and not be immature about it. The fact that you continue to use this combination further demonstrates your inabilities.
If you really think that the phone or service is that bad, then switch and stop acting like spoiled babies.
As for me, I get great At&t service and can't complain as much as others. There is no ultimate cell provider that can give you everything. People that complain will never be happy.

50 Proof says:

"granting iphone makes it to VZW 2010 on their CDMA radio, there is only one year left on that before they migrate to LTE (in 2011). So what happens to people who grabbed a 2-year contract for a VZW iphone, left out in migration process as their stuck with 1XEVDO?"
In 2011, Verizon is not going to have LTE coverage everywhere. It'll take awhile for Verizon to reach the same level of coverage that their EVDO network has. Do we know for sure that Verizon will instantly shut off EVDO when they begin deploying LTE? I hardly doubt it. Considering Apple builds a CDMA iPhone for Verizon, a Verizon iPhone would still operate just fine while Verizon deploys LTE.

icebike says:


At&t service is fine. Why does everyone jump on the same bandwagon?

Exactly so.
For all the noise, the chokehold protest proved once and for all that AT&T is fully up to the task. They might not have the rural reach of Verizon but the network is more than solid enough to handle the the worst that the iPhone community could throw at it.
Throughput actually IMPROVED during the protest.
Tempest. Teapot.
Whiners: please go away.

Sadie says:

AT&T service is most definitely not fine for the people who live in the many, many areas where no 3G coverage exists. I wonder if Msl is aware of the irony of complaining about complainers.

Beefyjoe says:

Whiners?? Shmucks all of you that deny ATT's crappy service. How about this , 5 bars, walking along , then BAM! dropped!! Or, 2 bars, inside my office, there's enough signal to ring my phone, but when I connect the call, " hello, hello, can you hear me?? No??? " BAM!! No Conection!! The network sucks, so I call them back on a landline. ATT ABSOLUTLEY SUCKS IN NYC, AND I AM LEAVING THEM. I'm gonna just use the Iphone as a PDA and make calls on a Verizon razr.

icebike says:

Blame the iphone, not ATT. People with razrs or 'Berries on ATT don't have anywhere near the dropped calls the iphone has.

Rene Ritchie says:

@icebike - and I don't have any dropped calls on Rogers, so perhaps a mix of AT&T's network setup and the iPhone's radio just don't work well together?

dloveprod says:

Idk if I want to be on a service that can't transmit data and voice at the same time

frog says:

What frequency does AT&T use for 3G?
Our network that uses 850mhz are damn near perfect, whereas people with 2100mhz 3G seem to have horrible problems.

TK says:

Verizon would be able to handle it a lot better than AT&T, since Verizon has spent (a lot) more time, money and effort into their network and infrastructure and they would prepare themselves for it too.

Jay Jay says:

Let me get this straight... The company that charges monthly for visual voice mail, email service, download fees, and can't oprate simultaneous voice and data wants the iPhone after they spent the last few months trashing it. I know I am staying with AT&T.

Stan The Man says:

Verizon is scrambling... Everyday AT&T gets closer to becoming the largest wireless company in the US. All because of the iPhone. If iPhone 4 comes out in 2010 on AT&T as anticipated I predict you'll be seeing AT&T "we're #1 commercials soon. I would bet part of the Apple and AT&T negotiations will be how much will they will be upgrading their network. Jobs doesn't want the iPhone getting a black eye because AT&T isn't investing in infrastructure.
PS: I want the Droid to be successful as competition for the iPhone is good for everyone.

Aracely comber says:

Unfortunately I have had negative experience with AT&T but can't speak about verizon perse. I think that at&t really needs to go back & invest in training as well ad infrustructute

ardoreal says:

I defected to a Droid, but if iPhone came to VZ I would immediately switch it out. My data has been insanely great compared to AT&T. The 3G areas I would go to on AT&T barely pushed 600kbps. Verizon in my small rural hometown has hooked me up with 1200kbps.
An iPhone on VZ would be fantastic news for me.

Dreadnutz says:

I think some of you are lumping Motorolas attacks onto the verizon attacks!!
IMO VErizon has not been nearly as harsh as Motorola.

Dexter says:

"I defected to a Droid, but if iPhone came to VZ I would immediately switch it out."
This speaks volumes. AVOID THE DROID!

Mike S. says:

AT&T can't hang on to a call for more than 10 minutes without dropping. I'm just outside Philadelphia, and I'm growing more and more frustrated with AT&T.
My 1st iPhone (2G) wasn't bad at all. Once the 3G and it's popularity hit, it was all down hill. I even upgraded to a 3GS hoping that it would be better on terms of reception. But it's clear that the issue is the network, and not the phone. Canadian and European iPhone users do t have the same issues as AT&T users do.
My Verizon Storm 2, on the other hand, hasn't dropped a single call.

Phoneboy says:

Ah yes, with Verizon's new $350 ETF and the way they have a habit of cripple phones (crippled bluetooth, crippled GPS, forcing users to use their VCast services to email photos, etc)... yeah, that sounds great. :|

Kristen says:

It's purely business about Verizon slamming the iphone/AT&T, of course they are going to any other carrier would, it's competition. Someone please tell me one phone AT&T has come out with that's been groundbreaking besides the iphone, and they didn't even come up with that. Their business will crumble once the contract is up, lets face it AT&T service just doesn't compare. If they really cared about consumers then they wouldn't exclude everyone out of it. That's why they have to pay billions to keep their contract with apple. Ready to see the new improved iphone from Verizon Christmas 2010!

cell phone veteran says:

If Apple is thinking of dropping AT&T for Verizon, I think they will be shooting themselves in the foot. GSM is an international platform and widely used in other markets worldwide. While CDMA is not widely used outside the US. In addition, Apple is speaking with one of the largest GSM service providers in the world (VODAFON) which means they will have more worldwide customers. Let’s keep in mind that Apple is in the business of selling the hardware (phones) not the lines. So it will be more beneficial for them to stick with GSM service and AT&T.

Friction Marketer says:

The iPhone is AT&T's only asset over Verizon. They will spend through the nose to retain exclusivity. And Apple knows this. Apple must be loving the Verizon ads - it's putting AT&T at a huge disadvantage at the negotiating table. I covered this extensively here:

Barbara says:

I would NEVER use Verizon for anything! Wake up people! This company is dishonest. They tell their employees to say anything they need to say to get customers. Not only that, you will get "mystery" charges on your bill on a regular basis and when you call to see what it is, you get the run around. You will not get the same information from 2 employees. This proves they say anything to make a sale. Employees are treated like dirt. Please check it out for yourself. Don't make this mistake. Like honey to flies....

Jason says:

Wow! Barbara, you must have just posted your comment. If you're in my time zone. Anyway, I have to ditto your comments. Verizon is the worst to deal with. I sure hope people will get a clue before making the mistake that I did. I bought my Verizon phone NEW and within 2 wks I was having problems... el cheapo phone, but the best I could afford. I took it into their store and was immediately told that I had bought one of their "less reliable" phones. WHAT??? Anyway, they didn't offer to replace it, rather they wanted to sell me another phone at twice the cost! I was fuming at this point. I asked for a manager and was told he was out the rest of the day. I left my name and business number for the manager to call when he got in the next day. It's been 2 wks and I have yet to hear from them. I feel screwed. I called Verizon and told them what I experienced at their store and they seemed uncaring and more like I was bothering them. Hmmm, I guess they knew they weren't gonna sell me a high priced phone. Get this, they quoted me 3 different prices and when I refused they cut me off! Ok, Verizon... you suck and as soon as I can I will be moving to Sprint. All my friends use Sprint and love them. Egg on my face for not taking their advice.

RAWRogue says:

I love the iPhone. I honestly do. But I would never get it with Verizon. Not because of how the service is but because they were (and still ARE) complete douchebags (hahahaha!). They're tearing at AT&T because AT&T has the iPhone and stole a number of Verizon's customers. Verizon is douchebag name worthy (and the main reason I WILL NEVER GET iPHONE WITH THEM) because Apple came to them first... yes, FIRST! before the iPhone ever got released and made with exclusivity with AT&T. They're being jerks because they rejected Apple.
I honestly don't think they deserve the iPhone... they can stick with the Droid.

VZiPhone says:

Thoughts about some of the comments made by some of you:
1. Vodafone is 1/2 owner of VerizonWireless. So Apple is working on a deal with Vodsfone? interesting!
2. So VZW treats their employees like crap. You must have been employeed by VZW and fired for being irresponsible and worthless. VZW is the only wireless carrier that while other carriers continue to close centers down and letting people go, VZW continues to hire and add employees.
3. Do a little bit of reasearch and find out, whenever there is a tragedy such as an earthquake, tornado, floods or any such thing, if VZW is not the first and in many cases the only carrier that steps up to help victims.
3. You are probably one of those crazy customers that every business hates to have, who asks or demands for things screaming if u dont get it your way.
4. Also, when was the last time At&t came out with a new voice or data plan on their own. They do it right after VZW changes their plans to give more to the customer. So, in reality at&t does not change because they want to but because they have no choice and do so right after Verizon changes. examples:
a. Unlimited price plan
b. Mexico price plan
c. Friends and Family
d. Drop in the umlimited price plan
when has at&t pioneered any of these type of customer benefiting changes?
thinking,thinking,still thinking,nope cant think of anything..

AbsewlY says:

Can be working

luclimb says:

I think it's good idea.

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