Verizon iPhone arrives Feb. 10

Will take pre-orders Feb. 3, but mum on prices of data, Wi-Fi sharing plans

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If Verizon sticks with those plans and prices, iPhone 4 owners would pony up $120 per month for unlimited data and voice, and Personal Hotspot. Texting plans are additional, and for other phones range from $5 per month for 250 messages to $20 per month for up to 5,000 texts.

Some analysts, including Marshall, had predicted Monday that Verizon would charge as much as $50 more for a CDMA-only iPhone 4, while others had given the inclusion of LTE support a 50% chance. Neither panned out.

"LTE isn't ready for prime time," said Marshall. Verizon rolled out the faster network in 38 markets last month, and has promised to expand that service to 175 cities by the end of 2011.

Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, joined McAdam in breaking what one analyst yesterday called the "the biggest non-news news" related to Apple since the well-rumored launch of the iPad a year ago.

"All of Apple, is very very excited to bring the iPhone to Verizon's customers," said Cook.

Cook's appearance was one of the markers Marshall used to rank the significance of the move by Apple, if not the importance of the actual announcement.

"Having [CEO] Steve Jobs at a non-Apple event wouldn't have been in Apple's character," Marshall said. "But it's a pretty big deal to send the company's No. 2 to a non-Apple event. That speaks volumes about the deal and the upside, which Apple clearly sees as very impressive."

Marshall has projected that Apple will sell an additional 12 million iPhones during 2011 because of the addition of Verizon to its stable of carriers. In his estimate, the Verizon bump represents about half of the 37% increase in unit sales he expects in 2011.

Today's announcement ends the iPhone exclusivity that rival AT&T has enjoyed since Apple launched the smartphone in mid-2007.

But while U.S. customers now have a carrier choice for the iPhone, Gartenberg pointed out that many will want to stick with AT&T. "Verizon's iPhone will not do Internet and phone simultaneously," Gartenberg said, talking about a limitation of CDMA. "How important that, and other differentiators, will be will depend on the user.

"Remember, Verizon has gained the iPhone, AT&T has not lost the iPhone," said Gartenberg.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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