AT&T exec says CDMA iPhone users won't like 'life in the slow lane'

AT&T's top PR exec decided to stir the pot on the eve of an expected announcement that Apple's popular iPhone would finally be available on Verizon Wireless' CDMA-based network.

Verizon is widely expected tomorrow to announce it will be the second U.S. carrier to offer the iPhone, and the first to do on a CDMA network.

GET THE SCOOP: Will a Verizon iPhone be announced next Tuesday?

AT&T Executive Vice President Larry Solomon today reacted to a Wall Street Journal story which reported that Verizon is confident enough of its beefed up network to offer iPhone subscribers unlimited data plans for $30 a month. AT&T currently charges them $25 a month, with a data limit of 2 Gigabytes.

Solomon sent out the following statement, according to Business Insider: "The iPhone is built for speed, but that's not what you get with a CDMA phone. I'm not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane." Solomon noted that AT&T's GSM network is faster than Verizon's CDMA network.

That's already sparking a wave of commentary.

"Theoretically, Solomon is correct, as AT&T's 3G network offers higher peak speeds than Verizon's," writes MobileBeat's Devindra Hardawar.

"But that doesn't mean much when you can't get a network connection at all — something the 140,000-plus attendees of the Consumer Electronics Show saw last week, and something that residents of big cities like New York and San Francisco deal with every day."

AT&T has been the exclusive U.S. carrier for iPhone since the wildly popular handset was released in mid-2007. But the carrier has been plagued with complaints about missing or dropped or slow connections and poor customer service almost from the start. The company has said it under-estimated the data traffic impact of iPhone users, and has spent a lot of money to bolster its cellular infrastructure.

Late last week, in what was widely interpreted as a pre-emptive move, AT&T announced it was cutting the price of the iPhone 3Gs in half, to $49 from $99.

The big question, assuming Verizon Wireless does indeed announce a CDMA iPhone, is how many units it will sell. Several analysts have forecast that Verizon, with a current subscriber base of about 93 million, will sell 9 million to 12 million iPhones in the first 12 months. The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T sold 11.1 million iPhones in the first nine months of 2010, and one analyst estimates the 2010 total will be about 14.5 million.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphoneswirelessAppleNetworkingPhonesconsumer electronicsat&t

More about AppleAT&TAT&TConsumer ElectronicsDMASolomonVerizonVerizonVerizon WirelessWall Street

Show Comments
[]