When will the iPhone be available on the Verizon network?
UPDATE: Verizon Wireless and Apple will launch the CDMA iPhone 4 on February 10, 2011 in stores. Existing Verizon customers can pre-order starting February 3, 2011. Click the following link for more details on the Verizon iPhone launch.
UPDATE: 01/04/2010 - Analysts are reporting that Apple is in negotations with Verizon regarding pricing of a CDMA iPhone. These reports are, as of yet, unconfirmed.
Apple has an exclusive deal with AT&T to provide service for iPhones through 2010. AT&T is trying to extend this arrangement through 2011.By the end of 2009 roughly five million iPhone owners will have reached the end of their two-year service contracts with AT&T. Apple's end-user license agreement (EULA) restricting these iPhone users to AT&T will have also expired by this time.
Although legally this would allow iPhone owners to seek another carrier, iPhones use Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) technology. Verizon currently uses Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology on its network. This hardware difference makes iPhones unusable on Verizon's network.
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Future upgrades to Verizon's network will use the same standards as AT&T and T-Mobile. All three service providers plan to use Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology for their networks, otherwise known as 4G. Nextel and Sprint plan to use a competing standard, WiMax.
This opens the door for future iPhone hardware with LTE to be usable with any LTE carriers. Verizon is currently testing LTE and expects it to be in limited service by early 2010.