USA Today is reporting that Apple is in serious talks with Verizon Wireless about a possible iPhone for Verizon’s CDMA network. Apple’s exclusivity deal with AT&T ends in 2010.
While AT&T might attempt to persuade Apple to renew the exclusivity deal, it’s up to question whether Apple would be better served if they did so. Right now, the iPhone accounts for a large part of AT&T’s customer base. As much as 40% of new customers to AT&T are iPhone users.
Roger Entner, Nielsen rating’s head of telecom research, says that linking with Verizon would give Apple another 80 million potential customers. “It would finally give customers a choice, and choice is a good thing.”
The differences between the two carriers’ networks would also come into play. While AT&T’s network is generally perceived as faster, Verizon’s is considered more reliable. So the jumping from one to the other could be common–and probably into Verizon’s favor, Entner says, unless AT&T beefs up their network to increase coverage.
Either way, Apple is sitting pretty on this one. It’s likely that AT&T will offer much better terms for Apple to stay and that a move to Verizon would mean that anyone leaving AT&T for the new network would also have to get a new phone. Win-win for Apple.