There have been rumors about the iPhone coming to Verizon Wireless for years. And why not? Thousands of consumers are fed up with AT&T. Android is gaining market share because it's on multiple carriers with multiple handsets. And Apple is presumably leaving millions of dollars on the table by limiting its wildly popular smartphone to a single carrier.
Although there's been plenty of speculation about when, exactly, AT&T's exclusive iPhone contract with Apple expires, recent market moves signal Verizon Wireless is gearing up for an imminent iPhone launch. Of course, rumors have also suggested Sprint would get the iPhone in 2011. Both Verizon and Sprint run on the CDMA wireless network. But one move after another reveals Verizon as Apple's next mobile partner.
Proof Point One
The latest fuel to the Verizon iPhone fire comes from the carrier's recent call center moves. Two calls centers that Verizon works with are hiring hundreds of customer service representatives, according to news reports. Teleperformance USA and Ryla have been named among the hiring call centers that have worked with either Apple or Verizon.
The Fresno Bee reports hundreds were lined up last week for a job at Ryla. Ryla plans to add about 500 people to handle calls for a cellular company, according to the Bee. Ryla disclosed the project as a "Fortune 50 cellular/telecommunications company that expects to increase its marketing and sales."
Then there's an Augusta Chronicle report that Teleperformance USA is hiring more than 300 people for its customer service center. Marcie Ballard, vice president of recruiting, told the Chronicle that "it is for a major wireless company that we have secured a new line of business, one of our existing clients."
Proof Point Two
If that's not enough to convince you that one of the carriers, probably Verizon, is expecting a flood of business, consider this: Verizon already won the iPad to its platform. Verizon Wireless will start offering the iPad on Oct. 28.
With the iPad coming to Verizon, Apple has clearly established a relationship with the carrier. It is not much of a stretch to suggest that a Verizon iPhone launch is around the corner. Apple is notoriously tight-lipped about its plans and neither Verizon Wireless or AT&T is talking. However, the Wall Street Journal has all but confirmed the iPhone-on-Verizon rumors.
Proof Point Three
An Oct. 7 Journal column by Yukari Iwatani Kane and Ting-I Tsai said Apple is making a version of its iPhone that Verizon Wireless will sell in early 2011. The Verizon iPhone would reportedly resemble the iPhone 4 that sells on AT&T, but would run on different wireless technology.
Apple's contract with AT&T was inked in 2007 when they launched the original iPhone. If Verizon sells an iPhone in early 2011, that would leave one year left on the Apple-AT&T contract. But there could be performance clauses the contract that would allow an early out. With so much controversy around AT&T's coverage and customer service, Apple may have found a way of escape.