Verizon ends long wait for iPhone fans

Verizon President and COO Lowell McAdam, left, shakes hands with Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook.

Verizon Wireless will start selling Apple Inc.’s iPhone early next month, ending rival AT&T’s exclusive hold on the device in the U.S. and more than doubling the potential customer base for the touch-screen smartphone.

The iPhone 4 will be available on Verizon’s network on Feb. 10 with preorders for existing customers starting online Feb. 3, the companies said in a statement yesterday. The phone will start at $199.99 with a two-year wireless-service contract.

Verizon, the largest U.S. mobile phone carrier, will begin offering the smartphone almost four years after its debut on AT&T’s network in 2007. Apple will have the opportunity for the first time to sell to Verizon’s wireless customers. Verizon may sell 13 million iPhones in the first year, said John Hodulik, an analyst for UBS AG.

“Wireless customers throughout the country have been asking for the iPhone on Verizon,” said Dan Mead, head of the wireless business. “We have been planning for this for a long time. We have advanced the capacity and built margin into our [network].”

The iPhone will help Verizon add 2.1 million net new customers in 2011, Hodulik estimates, compared with an estimated 650,000 at AT&T. That would mark the first time that Verizon’s subscriber growth will outpace its largest rival since 2008.



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