KMJQ Featured Video

The most talked-about cellphone in America is one that doesn’t officially exist: the Verizon iPhone. Ever since the 2007 launch of Apple’s iPhone — which crippled swaths of AT&T’s network — consumers have yearned for a Verizon iPhone as if it were the Second Coming. When Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest mobile-phone operator, recently agreed to sell Apple’s iPad tablet bbundled with a MiFi card that works on Verizon’s network, tech analysts and media were abuzz with speculation that the real news — the announcement of the much-anticipated Verizon iPhone — was in the offing. “Apple and Verizon Wireless finally are getting it on. But are there bigger plans in the works?” tech site Appolicious asked after the companies announced their iPad pact. (The answer: yes. Fortune has confirmed that a Verizon iPhone will be released in early 2011.) That so many Americans covet Verizon (VZ) iPhones –analysts estimate that Apple (AAPL) could sell 8 million to 9 million of them next year, compared with an estimated 22 million iPhones sold to date in the U.S. — is partly a testament to the efforts of Ivan ­Seidenberg, who has presided over one or another of Verizon Communications’ predecessor companies since 1995, when he became CEO of Nynex. From that perch Seiden­berg has transformed a boring, lumbering, $13-billion-a-year in sales phone company into a technology giant with $108 billion in sales last year. He did it through a series of acquisitions and a particularly shrewd wireless joint venture with U.K.-based carrier Vodafone, which today serves an industry-leading 93 million U.S. customers, many of whom have disconnected their Verizon landline phones in favor of an all-mobile existence. “One of Ivan’s great strengths is he is not afraid to cannibalize his own business,” says Blair Levin, a former chief of staff at the Federal Communications Commission and now a fellow at the Aspen Institute. “What Ivan did is as if GM 15 years ago decided to be the world leader in electric cars and today was that leader.” (In late October, Verizon Wireless agreed to pay a $25 million fine — and reimburse customers — for fees improperly charged to approximately 15 million customers.)

To Read More:  Click Here