Verizon Wireless begins selling Apple's data-hungry iPhone this month. Verizon has been pouring money into strengthening its 3G network and building its new 4G network, and will offer unlimited data plans--in addition to its other existing plans--when it starts with iPhone sales, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The unlimited data option would distinguish the nation's largest wireless network from previously exclusive iPhone carrier AT&T, which elected in June to restrict the amount of Internet data its smartphone customers could use in an effort to address complaints about network quality. It's unclear how long Verizon will offer unlimited data plans, the Journal adds, given the support Verizon executives have voiced for the industry charging different rates for different levels of data use.

Verizon is expected to unveil its version of the iPhone on Tuesday. Will Verizon's iPhones dramatically alter the mobile phone industry?

  • Verizon's Reputation Hangs in the Balance, explain the Journal's Spencer E. Ante and Yukari Iwatani Kane:

Verizon more than any other U.S. carrier has built its reputation on its network quality, and any stumble in handling iPhone traffic will call into question Verizon's major selling point. On the other hand, if it does handle the iPhone well, then AT&T will have a harder time arguing it didn't mismanage its own network.

Verizon executives point to their network's success handling already heavy laptop traffic and a growing number of data-guzzling Android-based smartphone users on its main, 3G network.

  • Verizon Won't Be Much Better Than AT&T, claims John Biggs at TechCrunch: "11 million AT&T subscribers are slamming the network while 4 million Droid-ites are tapping Verizon's network gently. So what happens, then, when the iPhone effect hits Verizon, especially on Verizon's older, slower CDMA network? Verizon will experience the exact issue that has been plaguing AT&T: the curse of success."
  • Is AT&T In Trouble? asks Sinead Carew at Reuters. AT&T, which has relied on the iPhone for customer growth, could suffer a mass exodus of subscribers once Verizon starts selling the iPhone, Carew says. But he also cites analysts who note that most of AT&T's iPhone customers are in family plans, which are difficult to exit.
  • AT&T Will Survive, states Ben Parr at Mashable: "AT&T isn't going to be hemorrhaging users on Verizon iPhone launch day due to switching costs, and AT&T has strong profits and a strong line of phones, including the iPhone, coming to market this year that will keep it competitive." He adds that the future of both Verizon and AT&T depends most on the success of the 4G networks they're developing.
  • Yes, We Will Be Just Fine, argues AT&T spokesman Larry Solomon in a statement. Solomon says AT&T's GSM technology is faster than Verizon's CDMA technology, and adds, "I'm not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane."
  • Bring On The Price Wars, writes Douglas McIntyre at 24/7 Wall St. AT&T will likely match Verizon's unlimited data plan and may even offer a plan that is more competitive, he says. Offering more services to customers for less money could hurt AT&T and Verizon financially, McIntyre adds, given that both carriers have lost much of their profitable landline businesses.
  • What About T-Mobile and Sprint? asks Larry Dignan at ZDNet: "If Verizon gets its own exclusive deal with the iPhone, the two other major wireless carriers would be locked out of the iPhone/iOS market ... Sprint and T-Mobile could ponder a merger if they started to lose share."