Apple today announced that it will begin shipping iPhones for CDMA networks, such as those offered by Verizon and Sprint, ending a three-year monopoly in the U.S. held by AT&T since iPhone's inception. Once the phones becomes available later this year, iPhone users in the U.S. that don't wish to be stuck with AT&T's network will have an alternative to importing an "unlocked" phone from the black market or learning how to jailbreak the iPhone.
For AT&T, which operates a GSM network, the iPhone has been responsible for much of its growth since 2007 and vaulting it into the leading position in U.S. smart phone sales, according to a report in today's Wall Street Journal. The company commands more than 43 percent of America's smart phone users, the Journal said, compared with Verizon's 23 percent. Last year Apple sold 25.1 million iPhones globally, an increase of 83 percent from the prior year, the report said.
One analyst estimates that a deal with Verizon could double the number of iPhone users in the U.S. The CDMA iPhone will be made by ASUSTeK Computer subsidiary Pegatron Technology in Taiwan's.