Verizon and iPhone: Deal or no deal?

May 20, 2009

Verizon Communications Chief Financial Officer John Killian had a lot to say about how well his company’s smartphone and data business is doing, but skirted the elephant in the room at the Reuters Global Technology Summit: Is his company going to strike an iPhone deal with Apple?

Killian refused to comment on whether Verizon is talking to Apple about selling the iPhone once rival AT&T’s exclusive contract with the iPhone maker ends next year.

“Our PDA, smartphone and data business is growing incredibly nicely,” Killian said. “Our strategy is to have multiple devices. I’m not going to comment on Apple or the iPhone, but… we don’t feel we’re going to be at a market disadvantage in the PDA space as we go through today or 2009.”

So, no iPhone deal, then? Again, Killian avoided answering directly.

“We have a range of different devices with different manufacturers, and we’re continuing to evolve that. We’re going to have a series of introductions this year, we’re not dependent on any one vendor.”

But surely, Verizon must miss the publicity that all things iPhone get? After all, the iPhone — and Apple products in general — seem to drive people into paroxysms of delight, especially at trade shows like CES and CTIA. Does Verizon not feel the pressure to do something big and showy?

Killian’s response: “I don’t want buzz, I want volumes, cash flow, profitability. I want things that allow us to do that and I think our lineup is allowing us to do that.”

Spoken like a true CFO.

(Photo: Reuters)

20 comments

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[...] At the Reuters Global Technology Summit, CFO John Killian refused to answer the question, reports Reuters, pointing out instead that its strategy is to have multiple devices, and that their smartphone and [...]

As someone who talks to people everyday about the kind of wireless devices they use (call center rep for Verizon), it has become clear (based on that anecdotal info) that many people stay with AT&T because they have an iPhone.

I am a Verizon Wireless (VZW) customer who uses the iPod touch. When my cell phone contract ends next year, if VZW appears to be saying, “no” to the iPhone, I’ll be looking long and hard at AT&T to provide me with a device that can easily replace my laptop, the iPhone.

Posted by teresa | Report as abusive

I too use the iTouch.. I’ve looked at all of Verizon’s smart phones and they still can’t compare to the iPhone. I like many other people have stuck it out with Verizon but I may take the hit and end my contact early if Verizon doesn’t make a decision soon. The CFO needs to stop playing games with us. Here today gone tomorrow.

Posted by Tony Richardson | Report as abusive

well said teresa, i could have continued to ignore the call of the iphone had i not got the iPod Touch. OMG it’s a little computer and it’s already saved me time at work (seriously) and jump started my running. i’m also spending more on music than i have a really long time. i want an iphone!!! (but i really don’t want to switch to at&t) – happy with my Dare and iPod for now…

I agree with others above. I have an iMac desktop and an iPod Nano and would love to get an iPhone but I’m holding off because I don’t want to use AT&T as my service provider

I have had the iPhone since its first came aboard and it has come along way. to me, Killians knows he messed up but not initially finding a common ground and landing the iPhone like it should have. I dislike ATT, and love vzw service but the iPhone is the only reason why I am with ATT. I tried to replace my iPhone with the Storm and the Omnia but its hard to leave an iPhone.

Posted by Enrique Ramirez | Report as abusive

I love Verizon’s service and their technical support group but I HATE the Storm. Slow, buggy, frustrating are all words that discibe it. I’ve compared it with the iPhone and there’s no comparison. Verizon screwed up when they turned down Apple the first time and I hope they correct their mistake soon.

Posted by Matt Tager | Report as abusive

I, like others above, have to make some hard decisions when my contract is up next year with Verizon- I too have an ipod touch and use it several times a day… not sure where I’d be without it. I’m a graphic designer, so I’m a loyal Apple customer and I WANT AN IPHONE! I can’t believe the arrogance of the Verizon CEO – There is NO phone that compares with the iPhone!

As others have stated, the only reason I’m still with Verizon (and not using an iPhone) is because I don’t want to use AT&T as my provider.

Recently, I switched to a BlackBerry Storm – because it seemed to be the closest thing I could get to an iPhone while remaining with Verizon.

Well, it’s not iPhone, that’s for sure. In fact, the Storm right now won;t even synch with my Mac. Only works with PCs. There’s a third party patch available for the Mac, but it doesn’t really work the way you’d hope a patch would work.

If Verizon doesn’t offer the iPhone by the time that my current contract is up, looks like I’ll be headed to a provider that will let me pay them money to use an iPhone on their network. Apparently, Verizon doesn’t need any more money…!!!)

Posted by Hoping for a deal | Report as abusive

I have been with Verizon for as long as I can remember. I am a blackberry user now and have been wanting to switch to the IPhone; however, like others I do not want to go to AT&T. I hope Verizon is monitoring sites like this and if they are. . .consider brand identity – anyone in marketing knows what this is. Bottom line, if Verizon doesn’t do something soon and announce it. The brand of Apple is far stronger than the brand of Verizon and for that I will switch. Get on the ball Verizon – at least make an announcement.

Posted by William | Report as abusive

My family members have been moving from att and t mobile to verizon in a blink of an eye. Even my father(who has been on tmobile for years) has switched. Believe it or not, we all want the iphone. Like other people say, there is no phone like the iphone. It’s sort of fair anyways. Some companies have the same phone, so it wouldn’t make any difference if more than one company had the iphone. EVERYONE wants one, the only thing stopping them is the company. It’s simple to sign the contract with Apple, bcause there is no doubt that EVERYONE wants the iphone!

Posted by Morayah | Report as abusive

My wife and I are Verizon customers having previously been with sprint, Cingular/Att. We both will be buying the I phone when it becomes available to Verizon customers. Best Phone/Best Network. Hands down. We just looked at upgrading our phone at verizon and it isn”t compatible with our mac. In 2009 we shouldn’t have to hand backup business contacts on any devise. Verizon will loose our business if they don’t do a deal with apple.

No iPhone by 2010 and I’m done with Verizon, along with many others. Verizon customers are unhappy and can’t be expected to wait around any longer.

If Verizon wants to continue to have “volumes, cash flow, and profitability” then they better make a deal fast. This will make or break the future of Verizon.

Posted by Erica | Report as abusive

i would never ever have considered going away from verizon but if iphone does not come to verizon then i too will switch-and i am guessing so will millions of others-my 4 kids all have verizon phones from my account and they all want iphones also-the pressure is building and we will not be denied the amazing iphone technology!

Posted by k noe | Report as abusive

I have been with Vzw for several years now, but since I got my iPod touch, it makes me want a iPhone that much more. I have been waiting to see if Verizon will get the iPhone, but I’m tired of waiting. I don’t get good service in my house with Verizon anyway. I find I am on my touch all the time,that I am seriously ignoring my Lg Dare. If something doesnt happen with Verizon soon I will be switching over to AT&T! One thing tho, I would hope that Verizon would keep iTunes if they did pick up the iPhone. I don’t care for Verizons vCast.

Posted by Angel | Report as abusive

I don’t know that much would change when (if) Apple moves to Verison, because I just don’t know how they work their contracts. I will say this however, The service as far as cell and data from Att has been great. There is one major problem I have with their deal though; you have Apple who’s customer base loves to buy the new Mac or iPod whenever they come out, then you have At&t who makes you sign another 2 year contract and charges you $499- for an iPhone that is supposed to cost $299- just because you are not upgrade eligible. In most cell phone purchases for phones less that $200- that makes sense, but times have changed and at the rate we are going Apple and others will be releasing a new phone twice a year. Att needs to rethink it’s contract strategy if they want to survive. Right now it’s new and most idiots will pay, but it has to give at some point. They should charge me $299- and leave the contract the same, especially since I have some 5 accounts with them and have been a loyal account holder since 1994. That should convince them I’m not going anywhere.

Posted by John S. | Report as abusive

You see ,Timmy, I have this little game I play. Whenever I hear anyone saying they dropped a call I say “say you must have AT&T” and it’s funny because over the years I’ve probaly asked this over 150 times and only TWICE has anyone said anything besides “yeah, how did you know?”. On tha other I love my Itouch, so if I don’t hear anything soon about the Iphone being available on other carriers, preferably Verizon, I just might be willing to switch. As much as AT&T sucks.

Posted by Bob Circumference | Report as abusive

You all need to stop hating on AT&T they are a MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH larger company than verizon, and know exactly what they are doing. Since the Cingular takeover they have increaced their coverage by 300% and WILL NOT STOP improving their network. Verizon does not even OWN 80% of their towers, they are all on lease. AT&T however owns EVERY ONE of their towers. AT&T Coverage is superior everywhere I go.

Posted by A Happy ATT Customer | Report as abusive

I just terminated my contract with VZW today because they do not offer the Iphone. I have a macbook, Ipod, and am a loyal apple consumer. I have been through four VZW smartphones in two years (they keep braking) and I am ready for apple’s reliability and customer service. I live in an area where ATT coverage is good, and I am hoping that I will find their service to be equal to Verizon’s. Wake up, Verizon, or you will find many more customers jumping ship!

Posted by New ATT Customer | Report as abusive

I too will be leaving Verizon if an iPhone isn’t available when my contract is up. Nothing Verizon offers comes close to an iPhone and I have a Mac and want the seamless sync that only an iPhone provides.The problem for me is that I have a bundled package from Verizon that includes my cell service, my landline and my DSL. Going to an iPhone on ATT will cost me the bundled plan. But I really want an iPhone. If I jump ship from Verizon for an iPhone, I will probably also jump ship on my Internet access and give up my Verizon DSL for Comcast which is much faster. So, in my case, not getting the iPhone will not only cost them my cell service, but my DSL as well.

Posted by Ritan | Report as abusive

First of all, Verizon Wireless kills At&t in every way sept the iphone! I was with verizon clear back in 1996 and left because I thought a cheaper company would be better, I cruised through almost every available cellular carrier and found my way back to Verizon Wireless because of how great their service is and their customer service blows everyone else away too! But… I will be headed to the inferior network of At&t when my contract is up because the iphone is just that cool… Business get’s done with the iphone… Please Verizon, for your die hard loyal customers, work with Apple, pound out a deal, and let us, as valued costomers, be on your network, with the amazing iphone!