Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will announce plans to sell a CDMA-capable iPhone from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) at an event Tuesday, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal citing "a person familiar with the matter."
The WSJ article appeared hours after Verizon sent out an invitation to media touting an event Tuesday in New York City headlined by Lowell McAdam, president and chief operating officer of Verizon Communications and the former head of Verizon Wireless. The invitation asked recipients to "join us as we share the latest news," but provided no details.
According to AllThingsD, Apple CEO Steve Jobs could attend the Tuesday event.
The WSJ reported the phone will be similar to the iPhone 4 sold by GSM carrier AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), but will work on Verizon's CDMA network. The report also said Verizon has been strengthening and testing its network in anticipation of a possible boost in traffic generated by new iPhone owners. According to the WSJ, it wasn't immediately clear when the Verizon iPhone will be commercially available.
Reports have circulated for months that Verizon, the nation's largest wireless carrier, will begin selling the iPhone early this year--an action that would break AT&T's four-year U.S. exclusivity on the device. Ramifications of a Verizon iPhone could be extensive, as subscribers from AT&T and other carriers could churn to obtain the device coupled with Verizon service. Handset makers also will likely be affected; Motorola (NYSE:MOT) has warned that the "competitive dynamic" developing at Verizon could have "an impact" on Motorola's first-quarter results.
The action also could boost the fortunes of Apple, which shipped a whopping 14 million iPhones globally in its most recent quarter. Apple commanded 25 percent of the U.S. smartphone market in November, according to measurement firm comScore, but lost the No. 2 spot to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) 26 percent market share. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) led the market with 33.5 percent share.
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