If you thought Verizon was going to go it alone in their legal quest to overturn the FCC's recent net neutrality policy decision, you'd be wrong. But who has joined them in their fight? AT&T? Sprint? Nope, it's MetroPCS according to the Washington Post. The regional carrier may seem like an odd duck to be in this battle, but it isn't that surprising given their recent moves.
MetroPCS already has a 4G LTE network up and running in a few markets. What's more, the carrier is preparing to launch a Samsung Android phone with LTE baked in. Consumer interest groups have cried foul over MetroPCS' 4G rates, and their apparent blocking of some high-bandwidth applications depending on the plan. The FCC plan would not allow carriers to outright block content.
In a statement, MetroPCS President Roger Linquist said, "…the recent appeal filed by Verizon, and challenges raised by some proponents of Net Neutrality to MetroPCS’ recent 4G rate plans, have caused Metro PCS to appeal the FCC’s net neutrality order to ensure that the concerns of competitive wireless carriers." The FCC has been tightlipped about the new suit. It appears that even the much relaxed rules for wireless carriers are not going over well. Do you think the net neutrality plans will hold up?
Verizon has filed an appeal with the US Court of Appeals in Washington today contesting the FCC's new Net Neutrality policy. Verizon says it is "deeply concerned" with the new regulations the FCC intends to peruse. The press release is short on details, but their objection almost certainly lies in the rules placed on wireless networks. Specifically that service cannot be blocked outright, which is one of the few restrictions the FCC committed to.
The policy was laid out just last month, and Verizon expressed discomfort at the time, so this action is not a complete surprise. In fact, we're surprised other carriers haven't yet joined them in filing appeals. Verizon proclaims its support of an "Open Internet" several times in the press release, so expect some spin no matter how this goes. Now all we have to do is wait for the courts to decide the issue. We'll let you know when that happens.
There are plenty of people excited about Verizon and Apple teaming up to offer the iPhone 4, including a good number of AT&T subscribers eager to join the "Can You Hear Me Now?" network. But should they be?
Consumer Reports doesn't think so. The outfit called Verizon's CDMA iPhone 4 a "middle-aged device" and said buyers would be wise to wait for a newer model.
"The Verizon Wireless iPhone 4 has plenty in its favor, especially compared with its AT&T sibling," Consumer Reports explains in a blog post. "But it may be quickly replaced by a newer, cooler version more quickly than is customary even for the die-young life expectancy of most smartphones."
The question is how long Verizon customers will want to wait. According to Consumer Reports, Apple is likely to ship a new iPhone model in June or July, as has previously been the case, so this "middle-aged" device boils down to "a transitional phone to tide Verizon through until the Summer."
Read all of what Consumer Reports had to say right here.
It was always a safe bet that once Apple's iPhone 4 broke free from its exclusivity shackles and landed at Verizon, AT&T would lose a portion of its subscriber base as a result. Now we have some hard numbers to work with.
In a recent survey conducted by ChangeWave Research, 15 percent of AT&T's customers said they're ready to find greener grass on the other side within the next 90 days, Yahoo News reports. Incidentally, that's the exact same turnover rate indicated by by T-Mobile customers. Compare those figures with just 4 percent of Verizon customers who say they're eager to switch.
"Now that consumers have a choice of carriers to host their iPhones, AT&T is certain to see a decline is its quarterly Apple sales," said Alex Spektor of Strategy Analytics.
For its part, AT&T isn't overly concerned, or at least it's putting on a good poker face.
"There are lots of surveys out there, but what really matters is how people vote with their dollars," said Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesperson. "In the third quarter of 2010 we had 5.2 million iPhone activations, up from 3.2 million in the second quarter. If people thought the iPhone was coming to another carrier, which turned out to be the case, it might suggest people would wait, but that didn't happen. Those 5.2 million new customers reinforce our feeling that the effect of the loss of exclusivity has been greatly overstated."
To help stem the tide towards Verizon, AT&T will put more of its chips behind Android, particularly upcoming 4G devices like the dual-core Motorola Atrix 4G.
Verizon is convinced it won't suffer the same network woes as AT&T once it launches the iPhone 4 on February 10. Not coincidentally, Verizon this week announced the activation of 16 new cell sites in the New York Metro region. For those familiar with the area, that includes five new cell sites in both Rockland and Suffolk Counties, three in Westchester County, and additional cell sites in Nassau, New York, and Putnam Counties.
"While establishing our recently-launched 4G LTE network is something we take very seriously, it is important for our customers to know that we are also committed to holding our position as the most reliable 3G network in the nation," said Pat Devlin, New York Metro region president for Verizon Wireless. "As it stands now, the 3G network is what most of our customers are using now. While many will eventually cross over to 4G for business applications and heavier data usage, a good percentage will find that our 3G network will continue to suit their needs very well for the foreseeable future."
In other words, these are all 3G towers, even though Verizon has gone to great lengths promoting its 4G/LTE expansion. And while Verizon isn't saying these new towers are the result of securing the iPhone 4, it's not hard to read between the lines.
Considering the media firestorm we saw last year during the Antennagate fiasco, it was only a matter of time before someone got around to testing the new Verizon iPhone for a similar death grip flaw. According to SlashGear, which got some extended hands on time with the device, there is no antenna problem to speak of. While holding the phone in the GSM death grip fashion, they were unable to kill the signal, or even significantly degrade it. Other antenna points were covered with a similar lack of effect. The verdict? The antenna is fixed.
Almost immediately after the original iPhone 4 was launched, consumers started to realize that touching the gap on the side of the phone where the external antenna pieces came together caused signal to dramatically drop off. The flaw was confirmed by various publications, including Consume Reports, which still refuses to recommend the device. Matters were complicated by some users in strong service areas failing to reproduce a noticeable drop in bars, and Apple's insistence that the problem was with bar display, not the antenna.
Now that SlashGear has been unable to find a death grip on the Verizon iPhone, others will likely seek to confirm. If the new CDMA antenna is found by all to be dramatically better, it might be the closest thing we’ll ever get to Apple admitting fault. Is this going to encourage more AT&T users to jump ship to Big Red?
This new-found romance between Verizon and Apple is just getting started. Following the long anticipated launch of the iPhone 4 on Verizon, the wireless telco says it's going to sell a version of the iPad that connects directly to its network, according to BusinessWeek.
The updated iPad will sport an embedded chip that will allow it to connect without any extra hardware. As it currently stands, Verizon customers who want 3G connectivity have to purchase a MiFi card. Apple does sell 3G versions of its iPad, but none are compatible with Verizon's CDMA network.
No word yet on when the new iPads with embedded chips will be released.
It finally happened, or at least it will on February 10, 2010. That's the day hordes of Verizon Wireless customers will power on their new CDMA iPhone 4, officially ending the exclusivity arrangement AT&T hammered out with Apple. As you can imagine, Verizon couldn't be happier, but where does that leave AT&T?
"We are ready for it," Ralph de la Vega, chief executive of AT&T's wireless business, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "The short- and long-term viability of AT&T will be good whether we have exclusivity or not. We are much bigger than this."
Like everyone else, AT&T saw this day coming. When Apple released the iPhone 4, AT&T allowed any customer to upgrade who would be eligible sometime in 2010, locking them into brand new two-year contracts.
Even still, AT&T has received plenty of criticism for dropped calls and network quality in general. Perhaps the max exodus that's likely less than a month away will help ease network congestion, but if not, de la Vega's claims will be put to the test.
We can finally put the rumors and speculation to rest. Verizon Wireless and Apple have teamed up to offer the iPhone 4 on Verizon's network, and we can say this definitively not because of an anonymous source, but because we finally have an official joint announcement to work with.
"We are pleased to introduce millions of wireless users to the industry leading iPhone 4 on the nation’s most reliable network," said Lowell McAdam, president and chief operating officer of Verizon. "This is an important step for the industry as two great companies join forces to give wireless customers one of the most important technological additions to the mobile landscape this century."
Verizon will start selling iPhone 4 devices on Thursday, February 10 to the general public, while qualified Verizon Wireless customers will be given the exclusive opportunity to put in their preorders online starting February 3.
Pricing starts at $200 for the 16GB version with a 2-year service agreement, while the 32GB model will run $300. AT&T customers making the switch won't be able to port their existing iPhone 4 over to Verizon, as it's not compatible with Verizon's network.
Verizon said it expects the iPhone 4 to be in high demand, and in the event that store stock runs low, customers can place an order in-store and have it shipped to them on a first come, first serve basis.
It's no secret Verizon is eager to offer its customers the iPhone, and later this afternoon the wireless carrier is expected to announce it's finally done it. But at what cost?
According to a Bloomberg report, Verizon may spend $3 billion to $5 billion subsidizing customer purchases of the iPhone, and that's in the first year alone. The obvious upshot is that Verizon will add a bunch of new subscribers, but subsidies could cut into the carrier's profits. John Hodulik, an analyst at UBS AG, says Verizon could very well sell 13 million iPhones in its first year, each with a $400 subsidy. That adds up to $5.2 billion.
"You basically write customers a $400 check," said Hodulik. "We expect margins to be down pretty meaningfully in the first quarter and second quarter."
While Hodulik's figures might be high, he's not the only one who thinks Verizon will spend billions selling iPhones. An analyst at Barclays Plc figures Verizon will sell around 9 million iPhones this year with a subsidy in the neighborhood of $350. That works out to $3.2 billion.
AT&T also spends a fortune on iPhone subsidies, making up the difference (and then some) through wireless data plans.