Verizon iPhone announcement expected before Valentine’s Day: report

Many are anticipating a Verizon iPhone in the first quarter of 2011. Typically, Apple would have a huge event around the announcement, and current speculation is that the Verizon version will be announced before Valentine’s Day, 2011.

Whether or not that prediction comes to fruition, Business Week also states the obvious, that the Verizon iPhone presents a large problem for AT&T. As the exclusive carrier for the U.S. iPhone since 2007, AT&T’s network has been the subject of much criticism, including a recent reader poll from Consumer Reports which ranked AT&T as the worst carrier in America.

Meanwhile, Verizon has a reputation for reliability. Whether the iPhone’s data-sucking abilities will test that reputation remains to be seen. Reports have noted that Android users on Verizon’s network are actually using more data, per device, than corresponding iPhone users on AT&T’s network, which could be a positive sign for the carrier.

As far as the intro goes, it looks like hopes for a CES announcement by Verizon have been dashed. According to BW, a person familiar with Apple’s plans who is not authorized to discuss them publicly said that the Verizon iPhone launch event will come sometime after CES.

Although it’s widely expected that users will flock to the Verizon iPhone, it may not come at the expense of AT&T, said BW. “The expense and hassle of changing carriers could also work to AT&T’s advantage,” BW said, and that is true. AT&T recently increased its early contract termination fees from $175 to $325. Those who have not planned in advance for the Verizon iPhone, which has been rumored for months, may be stuck.

Additionally, those who have family plans would also face the expense of multiple device purchases, as the entire family would have to be outfitted with Verizon compatible phones. The new iPhone is not expected to be compatible with Verizon’s 4G LTE network, so that is not anticipated to be a draw.

It’s also true that CDMA devices, until now, have not been able to use voice and data at the same time. This means if a user is on a call, they couldn’t go to, say, Yelp, to look something up. A change to CDMA which would allow both data and voice to be used at once, called SVDO, has been developed, but it is unclear if that will be included in the CDMA version of the iPhone.

Charles S. Golvin, an analyst with Forrester Research spoke of the potential of AT&T defections, and said,

“I’m sure some AT&T customers are sufficiently frustrated to switch, but the vast majority are at least happy enough.”

Happy enough, we would think, to forego the expense and effort, at least until their contracts expire.