Apple is gearing up for the U.S. launch of the iPhone on June 29 and the talk is that people will move from Verizon Wireless over to AT&T Wireless because of the handset's appeal. And Verizon's chairman and CEO, Ivan Seidenberg, says his company is ready for the challenge.
In an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer, Seidenberg observed that, "The iPhone is going to create a lot of buzz in the industry, it’s going to heat up the whole space ... so, when they (customers) look at Verizon, this is what we’re poised to provide our customers".
What Verizon has to offer includes the most advanced network in the U.S. with very high speeds, 3G networks and a range of new handsets. The new handsets will offer wireless music download capability, a feature that the iPhone does not have currently. Other offerings from Verizon include the upcoming Global TV devices and high-speed smartchip devices.
"When customers get interested in all of the very high-speed, hi-tech, very expensive devices, they’re going to want flexibility and they’re going to want a breadth of choice. We think Verizon’s positioned with the greatest network going to offer customers a whole range of activities that they might be interested in," said Seidenberg.
The iPhone will be available in Europe in late 2007, while Asia will have to wait until 2008. The iPhone will cost $499 for a 4GB model with a two-year service contract and $599 for an 8GB model with the same contract. The iPhone will be available via U.S. network provider AT&T .
In response to a Wall Street Journal article that suggested Seidenberg didn't press hard enough to take full control of Verizon from the cellphone unit's other owner, Britain's Vodafone Group , Seidenberg told Cramer that, "the partnership was built for the long term. The most important thing is that while we’ve been partners with Vodafone we’ve had the most outstanding performance in the wireless sector. Vodafone has been a key partner in that, they’ve always contributed and done their thing. And unless there’s a change in the way they think about the partnership, we’re happy to continue doing what we’ve been doing".
Verizon's stock has gained 60% since the start of 2006. It closed down 0.4% at $42.76 Tuesday, but was up slightly in after hours trade.