NEW YORK—Verizon Wireless and Apple Inc. ended years of speculation in an announcement on Tuesday, stating that the iPhone 4 will come to the CDMA network in early February.
Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon Communications Inc. and U.K.’s Vodafone Plc, will begin to sell the popular Apple handset on Feb. 10, ending a more than three-year exclusivity agreement with AT&T Wireless.
Pre-order for existing Verizon customers will begin on Feb. 3.
Verizon announced that the phone will be sold for $199 for a 16 GB version and $299 for a 32 GB version, both running on Verizon’s CDMA network.
“We are pleased to introduce millions of wireless users to the industry leading iPhone 4 on the nation’s most reliable network,” said Lowell McAdam, president and chief operating officer of Verizon in a statement. “This is an important step for the industry as two great companies join forces to give wireless customers one of the most important technological additions to the mobile landscape this century.”
In a media event in New York, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said that his company has “been looking forward to today for a long time.”
It remains to be seen how much collateral damage this move impacts AT&T, which has touted in the past its exclusivity in selling the iPhone. However, AT&T customers have complained last year, after its introduction of iPhone 4, of spotty and unreliable reception and service. Verizon is known in the industry for its reliable network, although AT&T has claimed that its data speeds are faster.
For the time being, the iPhone is a 3G device, and experts don't expect a 4G version of the iPhone until at least mid-year 2011.
In a research note, Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe said that he only expects less than 5 percent of current AT&T customers to ditch their current service—the majority of new Verizon iPhone owners will be existing Verizon customers.
“We would be very surprised to see either Sprint or T-Mobile get the iPhone this year, since adding them (a) wouldn’t, in our view, materially expand total iPhone sales, and (b) would reduce [Verizon] and [AT&T]’s willingness to pay Apple a premium price for the iPhone, given the service price competition,” Ratcliffe wrote.