NEW YORK - Marketers and analysts will be watching closely tomorrow for the details of what's expected to be an announcement by Verizon Wireless that it will launch an Apple iPhone to compete with AT&T's iPhone.
Observers will look to see if Verizon's version of the iPhone will offer any enhanced features over the AT&T version, whether Verizon will offer the device with tiered data plans to stick with its single unlimited-data smartphone plan, and whether the device will incorporate Verizon's4G LTE (long-term evolution) data technology or use its 3G CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A network.
Other things to look for include whether the phone will offer HSPA data technology in the foreign 2.1GHz band to expand the iPhone's international roaming capability to compete with that of AT&T's iPhone.
Longer term, observers will look to see if Verizon's iPhone attracts AT&T iPhone users to a network regarded by Consumer Reports as far more reliable, attracts new subscribers to the iPhone platform, or both.
Should the Verizon iPhone operate on Verizon's LTE network, now in 38 markets, data speeds would far exceed those of AT&T's iPhone, which operates on AT&T's HSPA network, which downloads data at an average 700Kbps to 1.7MBps, compared with the Verizon LTE network's 5Mbps to 12Mbps. Verizon's 3G network delivers data at average downloads of 600Kbps to 1.4MBps download, slightly slower than AT&T's HSPA network.