According to a report by BusinessWeek, Apple will hold its own special event sometime after CES and before Valentine’s Day to announce the iPhone 4’s arrival to Verizon Wireless. Of course, we still haven’t heard official confirmation from either Verizon Wireless or Apple on this matter, but many reputable news sources are reporting the iPhone’s impending arrival to the Big Red network. Unfortunately, Verizon’s rendition of the iPhone is not expected to be LTE, otherwise it would be announced at CES, and Verizon has already promised to focus on LTE Android smartphones at CES.
Regardless, an iPhone 4 on the nation’s most popular carrier is sure to deal blows to the other top three carriers, but many analysts expect AT&T to lessen the damage. Of the 23 million iPhone subscribers, 15 million are locked into two year contracts, making the switch over to Verizon an arduous and expensive process. Charles S. Golvin, an analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass, offers great insight: “I’m sure some AT&T customers are sufficiently frustrated to switch, but the vast majority are at least happy enough.” Assuming 6 million wireless customers switch from AT&T to Verizon Wireless, the amount lost in revenue is about $6 billion, but that is only 4.8% of total projected sales in 2011 for AT&T (which is $126 billion).
If AT&T can launch some high-end Android smartphones to help quell the blow from the iPhone launching on Verizon, AT&T should manage to hold its position as the number two carrier in the United States.