Verizon Wireless to unveil iPhone Tuesday: source

NEW YORK Sat Jan 8, 2011 6:54pm EST

A sign of Verizon Wireless is seen at its store in Westminster, Colorado April 26, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

A sign of Verizon Wireless is seen at its store in Westminster, Colorado April 26, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Verizon Wireless, the top U.S. mobile provider, plans on Tuesday to unveil a version of the Apple Inc iPhone for its service and will kick off sales of the device a few weeks later, a source told Reuters.

Verizon Wireless will offer the iPhone to its customers under its existing wireless service price plans, said the source, who asked not to be named as the plan has not yet been announced.

Apple and Verizon Wireless declined comment on Saturday.

Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, will announce pricing for the device at an event to be held in New York on Tuesday.

The agreement between Verizon Wireless and Apple marks the end of AT&T's iPhone exclusivity. AT&T Inc, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service, has been the only operator to sell iPhone since it launched in 2007.

Since AT&T has been heavily dependent on iPhone for customer growth in the last few years, some investors have worried that it could face a mass exodus of subscribers once its bigger rival starts selling iPhone.

AT&T's reputation for network performance problems, particularly in cities such as New York and San Francisco, could exacerbate the problem.

But some analysts have said that the loss of customers will be tempered by the fact that most of AT&T's iPhone customers subscribe via family plans, which are trickier to exit as they involve more than one customer.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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