Making the Switch from GSM

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-08-10 Print this article Print

The Enterprise

One of the key factors keeping RIM in the lead in the business world is the BlackBerry's availability on multiple carriers. It makes it a convenient alternative to the iPhone for companies that can't get out of the long-term contracts they've signed with Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless. If the iPhone is made available to Verizon Wireless customers, it now gives those companies an option. Do they stick with the BlackBerry or do they opt instead for the iPhone? It might be a difficult decision. But so far, it's a decision that they've been unable to make.

For Apple, it puts it into an even more enviable position in the market. Not only will it have the product so many people want, but it will have the product that so many people can have. Verizon Wireless and AT&T both have millions of customers. Right now, Apple's phone is only available to just a small portion of the U.S. market. By opening it up to Verizon Wireless customers, Apple can practically double its customer base, possibly allowing it to sell millions more iPhones. It could also translate to more sales in iTunes. It would almost guarantee more App Store downloads. It would be a financial boon for Apple.

The single issue facing Apple is that, right now, the iPhone is a GSM phone. It works with a SIM card. Since Verizon Wireless uses CDMA technology, the company would need to re-engineer the iPhone to work with Verizon's infrastructure. It's not such a big problem. If RIM can do it with its own products, why can't Apple?

And perhaps that's the biggest corporate game-changer of them all. RIM, a major player in the smartphone space and, arguably, Apple's biggest competitor, would no longer have a significant advantage over Apple. It still has its BlackBerry Enterprise Server, but for many of the customers looking to buy an iPhone, that's a small loss.


Current AT&T customers who are using the company's network solely for the purpose of having an iPhone would finally have the out they've wanted. Those customers can switch to Verizon Wireless and still use the phone they like. Customers who have wanted an iPhone but wouldn't consider switching to AT&T would win too. It gives the end user a choice they haven't had before. And it ensures that as long as they want an iPhone, they can find the carrier that provides the best experience.

So, as we anxiously await what Apple might announce with Verizon Wireless, it seems that the good move, for everyone, is that it brings the iPhone to the carrier's subscribers. It could radically change the dynamics of the mobile market. And that could be good for everyone.


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel