Verizon to start selling iPhone on Feb. 10

Tim Cook, COO of Apple, announces that Verizon Wireless will carry Apple's iPhone, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

January 11, 2011 7:26:27 PM PST
One of the worst-kept secret in high-tech is finally out in the open -- Verizon will begin selling the Apple iPhone and AT&T's strangle-hold on the coveted gadget is over. For years customers have complained about dropped calls, poor service and coverage with AT&T. But will Verizon be any better?

The Verizon iPhone will go on sale Feb. 10. But those who already subscribe to Verizon can pre-order theirs on Feb. 3. After talking to a number of experts, ABC7 found there are advantages and disadvantages to owning one of the new iPhone.

It's the hand shake so many wanted to see -- Apple and Verizon joining forces to sell iPhones.

With Verizon, consumers can expect to be able to use the Verizon iPhone to create a hotspot to connect up to five PCs, iPads and other Wi-Fi devices.

"Which means you can be in a hotel, taxicab, and get internet service through your phone," tech analyst Larry Magid said.

Verizon has also expanded its network to handle millions of new customers and avoid bottlenecks.

"We have advanced the capacity and built margin into our capacity throughout the country so we are ready for this launch," Verizon CEO Dan Mead said.

The biggest shortcoming with the Verizon iPhone is its CDMA network; users will not be able to talk and use the Internet at the same time.

"Verizon uses the CDMA network and AT&T executives have blasted them saying it's like in the slow lane, so we'll see," AT&T customer Jon Aizen said.

Still, many AT&T customers would be willing to switch.

"I would switch; I love Verizon service," AT&T customer Ashlye O'Hara said.

AT&T did not want to talk, but sent out a statement to say why iPhone users should keep them. "For iPhone users who want the fastest speeds, the ability to talk and use apps at the same time, and unsurpassed global coverage, the only choice is at AT&T."

Besides that, long term contracts with AT&T will keep many from crossing over. Early termination fees can cost up to $325 and consumers who want to switch over to Verizon will have to buy a new iPhone.

Joe Brown is with the tech blog Gizmodo. He says, if people switch, it will not necessarily mean AT&T customers will have fewer dropped calls.

"AT&T'S network was clogged 10 million users ago. The onus is on AT&T right now to improve their network to make the experience better for the customers. We can't wait for people to actually leave," Brown said.

Brown says he would wait until Apple releases its iPhone 5 version, which should come out in June.