Sound off: What analysts are saying about the Verizon iPhone

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) announced, at long last, it will launch a CDMA version of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4. Following the announcement, FierceWireless polled a handful of analysts for their thoughts on the market impact of the launch and Verizon and Apple's decision to launch a CDMA version of the device and not an LTE phone.

Michael Gartenberg, partner with Altimeter GroupFor folks who buy network first, phone second, this is a pretty big deal. If you're a Verizon customer and you haven't bought an iPhone for that reason, this is your day. Of course AT&T has been preparing for this. It's not like AT&T is losing the iPhone; Verizon is gaining it. There's still going to be a lot of people who will stay because they're on AT&T for any number of reasons--because they like to talk and surf at the same time; because they need to travel overseas; or they just get better AT&T coverage where they are. This is a great thing for Apple, because it means Verizon customers who have been holding back are not locked out of the ecosystem, or Verizon customers who might have been considering buying a Droid because the phone they've been waiting and waiting for hasn't shown up. It's going to put a lot of pressure on Android phones--think of how many Droids were sold because there was just no iPhone available." --Michael Gartenberg, research director, consumer services and applications, Gartner


Tim Bajarin, president of Creative StrategiesFrom Apple's standpoint, what it will actually do is it will double their U.S. sales of the iPhone. From a consumer standpoint it just gives them more choices. On the other hand, the T-Mobiles and the Sprints of the world probably are going to see the biggest impact, because I do think there will be defections from those networks over to Verizon. ... I believe the real issue with LTE was that demand was so high that both Apple and Verizon felt they had to do something now. As I understand it, to go to LTE would have meant a completely different redesign of the iPhone, because, as you know, the battery on LTE alone demands a larger battery, and Apple was not and is not ready to redesign the iPhone just for this. Having said that, I expect Apple to think that through and sometime in the future have an LTE version on Verizon, but I don't expect it this year." --Tim Bajarin, president, Creative Strategies


john jackson ccs insightAs much as the announcement was expected by just about everyone, it's still big a deal inasmuch as it levels the playing field between AT&T and Verizon in the U.S. In markets where Apple has gone non-exclusive, and that's most markets outside of the U.S., they've seen their share increase logarithmically. So you can reasonably expect that this is going to move in the millions of units. Now, whether it's two million, three million, five million, 20 million, we just don't know in the absence of any information around what the price plans are, how it's going to be promoted and other factors. But it's fair to say it's very, very big news. ... Verizon showed us last week, LTE is ready, as far as they're concerned, for commercialization on their network. But, if you look at the past as a predictor of the future, Apple went 2G when everything was going 3G, they went plain 3G when everything was going HSPA, so in that way it's not surprising." --John Jackson, vice president of research, CCS Insight


ross rubin npd groupIt is a big deal. It may not be as big of a deal as it would have been a year ago before Verizon began the Droid run-up and really brought smartphones to a large percentage of its customer base. It still represents an opportunity for Verizon to claim the kind of leadership in smartphone sales that it has in subscribers overall. It has certainly lagged in that regard because of the iPhone's exclusivity at AT&T. And we will certainly see AT&T customers move to Verizon. We'll see former Verizon customers come back. You may even see Sprint and T-Mobile customers that were interested in the iPhone move to Verizon because they didn't want to move to AT&T. But clearly, we'll see most of the impact on Android sales at Verizon. Verizon has relied heavily on Android for its handset sales. Seventy percent of smartphones sales at Verizon were Android devices in the third quarter of 2010. And clearly the iPhone will eat into some of that. In terms of AT&T, it has already begun preparing for the loss of exclusivity. At CES it announced that it would be bringing 12 new Android devices to its portfolio--and it even retains at least one advantage vs. the Verizon iPhone, which is simultaneous voice and data." --Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for consumer technology, NPD Group


Avi Greengart, analyst with Current AnalysisIt's an enormous deal for Verizon Wireless and for Verizon Wireless' customers. They've been waiting for this for a long, long time. All 93 million of them apparently have my email address and they've all asked, ‘When is this happening?' So from the perspective of, ‘Is this a big deal for the industry?' absolutely. It's huge for Apple, it's huge for Verizon. Now in terms of AT&T, yes they are going to lose some of their heaviest-using and most disgruntled customers. I'm not sure that's a bad thing for AT&T. I'm not even sure that they're upset about this. Will they continue to sell iPhones at AT&T? Absolutely they will. They are going to counter with a few things: First of all, they are going to say they have a $49 model, so they have the least expensive iPhone product on the market. They are going talk about their WiFi hotspots, that they have WiFi hotspots all around the country that you can use for free. And they are also going to talk about international roaming, that particularly in Europe where there are no CDMA networks, their iPhone will work and the CDMA iPhone won't. ... That said, if you don't currently have an iPhone and you've been thinking about getting one, Verizon will have a significant amount of pull for that customer. We should see some AT&T customers moving over. We'll see some T-Mobile customers moving over. We'll see some Sprint customers moving over. I would guess that most of the iPhones sold at Verizon Wireless will be sold to current Verizon Wireless customers." --Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices, Current Analysis


Roger Entner, founder, Recon Analytics   For AT&T, the iPhone has been the growth engine over the last several years. So much that they have lost 500,000 postpaid non-iPhone subscribers every quarter, which was disguised by the massive iPhone growth engine. All the people who love AT&T and want the iPhone are already there. T-Mobile (which is the second largest iPhone carrier in the U.S. due to jailbreaking with an estimated 1 million-plus iPhones on their network) and Sprint have been fighting to get their head above water in terms of net adds. Especially in the case of Sprint, which has made huge progress compared to before Dan Hesse came on board. People love the iPhone, and if you put the magic of Apple together with the sterling network reputation of Verizon it is just such a winning combination that it will convince quite a few T-Mobile and Sprint customers that the iPhone still beats Android. With this Verizon has a monopoly on the ‘easy button' until the exclusivity gets completely lifted." --Roger Entner, founder, Recon Analytics


Sound off: What analysts are saying about the Verizon iPhone