iPhone insanity hits Verizon

By Lauren Gualdino

iPhone 4. Verizon. It Begins.

That is all the Verizon Wireless website stated on Jan. 11, when Apple and Verizon had confirmed that they had finally come together to launch a compatible iPhone. On Feb. 10, Verizon officially released Apple’s iPhone 4 on their wireless network.

Originally the iPhone was specifically created and sold with AT&T Wireless. Even thought many customers switched to AT&T, the phone doesn’t have the greatest cell reception in Westchester County. Customers constantly drop calls, even while standing in their own kitchen.

Joann Della Calce from Thornwood says she has service in one part of her house, but she has a tendency to drop calls when walking from her second floor down into her kitchen. “We switched to AT&T since it has good cell reception for our house upstate, but if I knew I would have such trouble in my own home and neighboring towns, I would have never switched.”

Della Calce and her husband are now considering a switch to Verizon, so she can continue to have an iPhone and gain reliable service.

Gene Munster, analyst from Piper Jaffray, said Wall Street is expecting sales of the new Verizon iPhone to boost Apple’s overall sales by 5 percent since Verizon is the country’s largest wireless carrier. Verizon had sold approximately 4,000 units from five stores in the first five days of having the iPhone in stock. There has been such hype about the iPhone coming to Verizon that Apple estimated that they would have 100 million iPhones sold before the first quarter ended. Not even a month after the release on Verizon, Apple reported reaching the historical number on March 2.

Verizon was hoping to win back its customers, but it is having a hard time because when AT&T released the iPhone 4, customers who upgraded had to lock into a new two-year contact.

Current Verizon customers are jumping on the iPhone ship.

Allie Del Principe from Briarcliff Manor is a long time Verizon customer and self proclaimed “Crackberry” user. Del Principe put down her Blackberry and picked up the iPhone within the first week of release.

“I loved my Blackberry, but I couldn’t wait until Verizon released the iPhone. I love everything about my iPhone, everything from the apps to facetime to games with friends. I’ve only dropped a call twice, but I was talking to a friend on the AT&T network, so I’m assuming she was the one who lost service.”

This is the sentiment that all new iPhone users are sharing. Verizon has the best coverage in Westchester, rarely having customers lose service.

At the end of September 2010, Verizon had 93.2 million subscribers. They are looking to win new subscribers, but also to increase the percentage of its customers who pay for data service each month (between $30 and $60) by having them switch to the iPhone. Since talking on a phone is become a less important form of communication, carriers are now looking for data to drive sales. David Small, chief technology officer of Verizon Wireless, has said that they are ready for the larger data usage on their networks. “We have built up a very big data cushion.”

The Giacalone Family from Bronxville can’t wait to make the switch to the iPhone when they are eligible for upgrades. Sue Giacalone said, “Now that they have the iPhone, there is no reason for us to ever consider switching to a different service provider. We have been with Verizon from the beginning, and we will continue to stay with them. We will be Verizon customers for life.”

With Verizon’s well-known reliable service, the iPhone is expected to please customers and have them all saying; Can you hear me now? Good.