AT&T vs. Verizon: The battle begins

Whose network is better for iPhone users? The 2 carriers have plenty to say about that.

By Kim Peterson Jan 11, 2011 1:46PM
Credit: (© Mark Lennihan/AP)
Caption: (From left) Lowell McAdam, Verizon President & COO, & Tim Cook, COO of Apple, shake hands at a news conference TuesdayAfter staying silent for months on the worst-kept secret in technology, Verizon (VZ) has finally announced it will carry the iPhone 4 from Apple (AAPL).

Now AT&T (T) no longer has the exclusive on iPhones in the U.S. And it didn't take long for both carriers to start bashing each other with taunts normally found at grade-school recess.

Let's start with AT&T. "I'm not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane," a company spokesman said in a statement to Business Insider. That's rich. AT&T's sluggish network has been nothing but a slow lane to iPhone users I know. 

Then Verizon jumped in with its own network criticism. "It must be backwards day at AT&T," said spokesman Jeffrey Nelson, according to The New York Times. Har har.

Post continues after video:
"AT&T is known for a lot of things, but network quality is not one of them," Nelson added. "Typically companies try to call attention to their strongest suit."

Expect the conflict to notch up as both carriers begin vying for current and future iPhone users. Verizon has the upper hand here, of course, as it's starting fresh out of the gate, opening welcoming arms to people fed up with AT&T's choppy service.

But what will happen to Verizon's network when it gets flooded with the 2.5 million net new customers that analysts predict this year?

AT&T is one of the most hated wireless companies around. Last month, Consumer Reports called it the worst cell phone service provider in the nation. Shares of both AT&T and Verizon were down about 2% in midday trading.

Verizon president Lowell McAdam took a few potshots at AT&T and other competitors on stage today, making fun of them for upgrading 3G services and calling them 4G. He joked that Verizon considered naming its 4G network "6G," according to The Washington Post.

But the iPhone will not be a 4G phone on Verizon. The phone will be a CDMA/EVDO model and will not be available to 4G networks. Verizon will begin carrying the iPhone early next month.

An Apple executive said the deal with the company will last many years and is "strategic," according to the Post. Verizon customers can preorder the phone on Feb. 3, and everyone else can place orders starting Feb. 10. The price: $199 for a 16GB phone and $299 for the 32GB version.

Now the ball is in AT&T's court. "The real question isn't how many iPhones Verizon will sell but what AT&T does in response," one analyst told Reuters.
1Comment
Jan 12, 2011 12:23PM
avatar
There is plenty of business for both ATT and VZ. No one ever wants to talk about the fact that just maybe the iphone could be part of the issue rather than the network. I am one of those 20+ year ATT mobile customers who has no desire to be connected to the internet on my phone and I am happy with ATT. I NEVER have mobile phone issues or dropped calls. I know a lot of VZ customers in my area who hate their poor service with VZ. I think way too much has been made of the exclusive rights that ATT had with the iphone and all the buzz did was sell more Apple product. Not everyone wants an iphone....I personally have no use for any apple product.
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