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Verizon and Apple announce iPhone to go on sale Feb. 10

Existing Verizon customers will get to order the Verizon iPhone, at $199 or $299, starting a week earlier, on Feb. 3. It will work much like the AT&T phone, with two key differences.

January 12, 2011|By David Sarno, Los Angeles Times
  • Dan Mead, chief executive of Verizon Wireless, left, onstage with Timothy Cook, chief operating officer of Apple, during an event in New York to announce that Verizon will start selling a version of Apple Inc.'s iPhone.
Dan Mead, chief executive of Verizon Wireless, left, onstage with Timothy… (Ramin Talaie, Bloomberg )

Verizon Wireless will begin offering the iPhone, opening a major new front on the mobile market for Apple Inc., the maker of the popular smart phone.

Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam took the stage Tuesday in New York along with Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook to announce the device, which will go on sale Feb. 10. Existing Verizon customers will get to order the phone starting a week earlier, on Feb. 3.

The 16-gigabyte version of the phone will cost $199, while the 32-gigabyte version will cost $299. Both prices require two-year contracts, though McAdam did not disclose the details of monthly pricing plans.

The Verizon iPhone will be essentially the same as the AT&T phone except for two key differences:

• The Verizon phone will not allow users to use data services while making a phone call. That is, if a user is on the phone and wants to look up a Web page, it won't work. That's because of Verizon's particular cellular technology, called CDMA. AT&T has no such limitation.

• Verizon iPhone users will be able to use their phones as wireless hot spots, probably for an additional monthly charge. Up to five devices will be able to connect to a hot spot.

Notably, the Verizon iPhone will not work with Verizon's much-touted new 4G network, which the company claims is 10 to 15 times faster than current 3G networks. Verizon announced several new 4G phones last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Creating a 4G iPhone "would've forced design compromises we did not want to make," Cook said.

The executives said Verizon and Apple now have a multiyear partnership, but they declined to say when the next Verizon iPhone would be available. (AT&T has released a new iPhone version every summer since 2007.)

Answering questions from the audience, Verizon Wireless Chief Executive Dan Mead said he was not worried about the phone's antenna creating signal problems like those seen with the AT&T phone last year.

Share prices at both companies were down slightly after the announcement Tuesday, with Apple slipping 0.2% to $341.64 and Verizon Wireless co-owner Verizon Communications Inc. losing 1.6% to close at $35.36.

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