Will the $49 iPhone 3GS set the new Standard for Feature Phones?

Everyone’s assumption is that Verizon Wireless will announce a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 will be available on their network in just a few short hours. I don’t know if this is true. But, it seems entirely plausible.

Apple stock rose $6.33 per share (1.88%) in anticipation of the news. Verizon’s stock was essentially flat with 1 cent loss (-0.03%) while AT&T dropped 55 cents (-1.77%) balancing (percentage-wise) Apple’s gain. My guess is that we won’t see as many defections of iPhone users from AT&T to Verizon as some people believe. However, I do believe that AT&T will lose in the long run as current feature phone owners turn to Verizon and its iPhone 4. If Verizon’s network suffers a melt-down as new iPhone owners add to the presumably significant data weight placed on their network by current Android users, AT&T might start looking reasonably good to AT&T iPhone users. But, that’s a big if.

In a last ditch effort to lock people into a two year contract, the older iPhone 3GS is available from both AT&T and Apple for a mere $50. If Verizon gets an iPhone 4 and sells it for $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model, the $49 3GS could well set the standard for AT&T’s “feature phone” line. This would cause huge problems for Microsoft’s Windows Phone I thought would fill the feature phone upgrade niche.