What Verizon's iPad means for AT&T

iPads lined up on shelves at the Apple store in London.

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Kai Ryssdal: Better times are a-comin' for iPad loyalists trapped in loveless AT&T service contracts. Verizon Wireless and Apple said today Verizon's going to start selling iPads at the end of this month. And bigger news might be just around the corner. One of the worst-kept secrets in corporate America is that Verizon is expected to? probably will? likely going to? start selling iPhones early next year. Which means AT&T won't have the iMarket all to itself anymore.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: Verizon and Apple trumpeted today's news about the iPad. But they won't comment on a potential Verizon iPhone.

Michael Gartenberg is research director for Gartner Inc. He says there's good reason for the zipped lips.

Michael Gartenberg: There's a lot of complexities to be dealt with on both sides of the equation before this deal could possibly happen or be announced.

Complexities like Verizon's shifting technology and decisions over who would control marketing. The iPhone brought an avalanche of new customers and huge profits to AT&T. But the company's network had trouble handling all that new traffic. Complaints of dead zones and dropped calls were legion.

Joseph Turow teaches communications at the University of Pennsylvania, and he has an iPhone.

Joseph Turow: The joke about AT&T is, you never really say goodbye on an iPhone, because the call drops before you can.

Turow says AT&T's reputation suffered lasting damage. He says some frustrated AT&T customers would jump to Verizon.

Gary Arlen is president of Arlen Communications. He says AT&T would fight back with new deals. The company also has consumer behavior on its side.

Gary Arlen: The inertia of human nature is they'll stay where they are. So I think a lot of people will stay with the carrier they know, they're comfortable with. They know its quirks.

Verizon knows AT&Ts quirks, too -- and will be sure to point them out for potential customers.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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