Why the iPhone Isn’t on Verizon

verizon Every year, around the launch of the newest iPhone, rumors about the iPhone coming to Verizon begin to build up. I suppose it’s really easy for people who are on Verizon to believe these rumors, simply because many of them would love to have the iPhone. I’ve personally heard friends and family tell me that they heard somewhere the the iPhone would be coming to Verizon, and every time I tell them that it is very unlikely that it will happen any time soon.

Most of the rumors seem to begin from analysts who believe that it makes strategic and financial sense for Apple to release the iPhone on the Verizon network. From there, the rumor gets spread around with the help of plenty of wishful thinking. However, there are obviously reasons for why the iPhone is not on Verizon and likely won’t be until at least 2012.

  1. The first reason is Apple’s contract with AT&T. Apple signed a five year contract with AT&T when the iPhone launched in 2007. This iPhone exclusivity agreement won’t be up until 2012.
  2. The second reason is the network. Verizon uses a different cellular technology than AT&T. While AT&T uses GSM, Verizon uses CDMA. This means that the cellular radios in the iPhone that are responsible for making calls and sending data do not function with Verizon’s cellular network.

Apple could make an iPhone with radios that make it compatible with both AT&T and Verizon, but the iPhone 4 (currently the thinnest smartphone on the market) is already packed to the brim, there might not be room for the CDMA hardware. More to this point is the capabilities of Verizon’s network; one of the reasons that Apple originally chose AT&T to carry the iPhone is because AT&T’s network allows for simultaneous voice and data transmission something that Verizon’s network did not offer at the time, and may or may not yet support to Apple’s satisfaction.

Because of the five year contract and the difference in network technologies I feel it’s pretty safe to say that, despite what analysts want you to believe, you definitely won’t be seeing a Verizon iPhone until at least 2012. And when that year rolls around, it’s perfectly likely that Apple and AT&T will renew the contract. Sorry Verizon customers.