Neither Verizon nor AT&T are waiting around for tomorrow's big press conference to launch the first grenades in the impending iPhone war. Sources close to Verizon leaked to the Journal that the company plans on offering unlimited data plans when the Verizon iPhone goes on sale at the end of January. Verizon, the country's largest wireless carrier, has been beefing up its network and sounds confident about its ability to handle the load from videos and photos on the iPhone. In the past, Verizon executives have stressed that as smartphones proliferate, carriers should graduate to a tiered data plan that charges different prices depending on use. It's unclear how long they'll offer the unlimited option, but Verizon has already achieved its goal: smacking down AT&T's subpar network — oh, and distinguishing itself from the competition. After all, user complaints about dropped calls and spotty connections are what led AT&T to offer only capped pricing plans (that limit the amount of data one can send and receive) last summer.
AT&T, of course, didn't waste any time firing back. In order to be compatible with Verizon's network, the redesigned iPhone had to include an internal CDMA radio. After Verizon leaked its unlimited data plan, Larry Solomon, AT&T's senior VP of corporate communications, told Business Insider, "The iPhone is built for speed, but that's not what you get with a CDMA phone. I'm not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane." Ouch, internal component burn! According to J.P.Morgan's Mark Moskowitz, the cost of the CDMA-related pieces could mean another $20 to $30 for Verizon iPhone buyers but that the steeper price would be offset by better network performance.
Instead of twiddling their thumbs waiting for the big announcement, analysts have busied themselves maniacally speculating over how many iPhones Verizon could sell this year, pegging the number at 9 to 12 million. But without hearing Verizon's offering or assessing its network's capabilities, the figures are still as theoretical as Facebook's valuation.
Verizon Wireless Confident It's Got Muscle for iPhone [WSJ]
AT&T Already Attacking Verizon iPhone [Business Insider]
CDMA components could drive price of Apple's Verizon iPhone up $20-$30 [AppleInsider]
Tired: Speculating About Verizon iPhone. Wired: Speculating About Verizon iPhone Sales [AllThingsD]