Apple eyes Verizon to carry iPhone

A man displays his iPhone

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Bill Radke: Apple's mega-hit the iPhone could be expanding its footprint. Right now to use an iPhone, you have to be a customer of AT&T wireless. But this morning's Wall Street Journal reports
Apple is working on a new iPhone for Verizon. As in the country's number-one wireless carrier and AT&T's main rival. Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman joins us live from Oregon Public Broadcasting. Hi, Mitchell.

Mitchell Hartman: Good morning, Bill.

Radke: So why could this shake up the cellular industry?

Hartman: Well, keep in mind, since the iPhone debuted in 2007, it's been exclusive to AT&T. On Verizon, if you want a smartphone with Internet and fancy games and apps and all that, you have to use something like an Android or a Blackberry. So for existing Verizon customers, there's the Apple cachet and all those apps. And for AT&T iPhone users who switch to Verizon, they may get better service. We're talking the actual phone calls here.

Radke: And why is that?

Hartman: Well, to explain, we've got to get into some acronyms. AT&T and most other wireless carriers run on a network called GSM. Verizon uses a different one, it's called CDMA. Verizon's network is generally considered more reliable than AT&T's, which is prone to dropped calls and slow downloads on that iPhone.

Radke: So what are the business reasons for Apple and Verizon to get together?

Hartman: Well, you just have to look at the numbers. iPhone sales have continued to explode, but eventually Apple's going to run out of new customers if they stick with AT&T and its type of network. And for Verizon, it's got fewer smart phone users than AT&T. Verizon wants more of these customers -- they're the ones who buy expensive data plans. The Journal says a new Verizon iPhone could come out by summer or fall, but none of the companies is commenting on that.

Radke: Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman. Mitchell, thank you.

Hartman: You're welcome.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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