After yesterday, the prospect of a Facebook phone is looking more like a reality than a Verizon iPhone. Verizon Wireless CEO Ivan Seidenberg Thursday expressed frustration at Apple's apparent reluctance to strike a deal with the nation's largest carrier to offer Apple's flagship device.
"At some point, Apple will get with the program," Seidenberg told attendees at an investor conference, according to a Wall Street Journalreport. He declined to comment on widespread speculation that Verizon would get the iPhone next year. He added Verizon didn't feel as if it had an "iPhone deficit" but at the same time acknowledged, "We would love to have it, but we have to earn it."
What's AT&T done to earn and keep its exclusive deal with AT&T? Exasperate iPhone customers with spotty service and dropped calls? With its reputation for the most reliable service among the major carriers, Verizon has already driven many iPhone customers to fantasize about a Verizon iPhone. Nearly a quarter (23%) would switch to Verizon if given the chance, according to a recent Credit Suisse report.
The rumors of a Verizon iPhone had heated up lately because of analyst reports Apple would soon begin production of a version of the phone that would work with CDMA, the technology used in Verizon's network. Whatever Apple's plans in that regard, Seidenberg is hoping the carrier's efforts to begin rolling out its 4G network in some markets by year's end will help earn Apple's affection.
If nothing else, you'd have to think Android's march across the mobile landscape is ratcheting up the pressure on Apple to make new friends among the U.S. carriers. Verizon has benefited from the rise of Android as much as any operator but clearly still covets the iPhone. And while the device may elude its grasp, Verizon is adopting something else from AT&T: the carrier's tiered-pricing approach to mobile data.
Seidenberg said the carrier's new data plans would roll out over the next four to six months and would differ from those AT&T introduced in June, but didn't offer details. The shift to tiered pricing was one widely rumored step by Verizon that turned out to be true.
The bad news is that even with new data plans, Verizon still won't have the iPhone -- and looks to be losing out to AT&T again, this time on the so-called Facebook phone. After Facebook denied rumors earlier in the week that it was building its own device, a Bloomberg report Thursday said the company was working with London-based manufacturer INQ Mobile Ltd. on a pair of smartphones that would be carried by AT&T.
Well, Verizon still has its Droid army.