By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — Verizon announced Tuesday morning that it will start selling Apple's iPhone early next month.
A 16 gig iPhone, retailing for $199.99, will be available at Verizon Wireless stores Feb. 10, the company said on its website.
"It's a big boost for Apple," chief investment officer of New York-based Solaris Asset Managmenet, Tim Ghriskey, told The Wall Street Journal. "It opens up a huge uninstalled base for them in this country."
Analysts estimate that Verizon could sell 13 million iPhones to its current customers and has the potential of stealing away millions of customers from AT&T, Bloomberg news reported.
"I think it's a big thing for Verizon. My kids are all talking about it," said one Queens man who has six kids.
The phone will be similar to the new iPhone 4, but will run on Verizon’s CDMA operation technology, the Journal said.
"If the price is right, I might get one," said Verizon user, Anthony Rodriguez, 31. When he heard the $199.99 price tag he said it was more likely he would scoop one up.
The move would allow iPhone users to choose a network provider for the first time.
"I think a lot will switch from AT&T to Verizon," said Long Island resident Patrick Lanoue, 55, while outside the Verizon store at 57th Street and Sixth Avenue. "I know a lot of people who held off on buying an iPhone because it wasn't on Verizon."
iPhone customers have often complained about AT&T’s network, which they say drops calls and doesn't have as extensive a reach as Verizon.