40% Would Leave AT&T for Verizon: Report
As rumors swirl about AT&T's long anticipated loss of its iPhone exclusivity deal, one Wall Street analyst has warned that the carrier could lose 40% of its iPhone customers to a second carrier. And though pretty much everyone assumes that second carrier will be Verizon, a new (totally unsubstantiated, of course) rumor has turned up suggesting that Sprint, the nation's #3 wireless carrier after AT&T and Verizon, and AT&T may get the phone.
As many as 6 million of AT&T’s 15 million iPhone customers would leave if they had another option, according to a Barron's
report highlighted by Cult of Mac
. Davenport & Co. analyst F. Drake Johnstone told his customers that the carrier is obviously rattled by something it is hearing from its iPhone partner, and that this is the reason why we're seeing steps like AT&T jacking the early termination fee for iPhone customers from $175 to $325. Johnstone says that “AT&T is clearly worried that it will lose customers once a competing carrier such as Verizon begins carrying the iPhone."
In addition to defectors from AT&T, current Verizon customers are a potential huge market for Apple if it ever produces a phone compatible with Verizon's CDMA2000 network. A survey done by Alphawise for financial giant Morgan Stanley found that 17% of Verizon customers would be “very likely” to purchase an iPhone if they could do so without switching carriers. Persistent
- though completely unverified
- reports indicate that even if Apple does make a CDMA-capable iPhone, it won't be available until later this year, possibly in September
However, a fresh rumor reminds us that there is more than one big CDMA carrier in the United States. In a report that should be taken with about a metric ton of salt, TheTechUpdate
and pretty much everywhere else) is reporting that they got an email from a Best Buy employee claiming that the iPhone will be available on Sprint next month. "I can confirm that Sprint will be carrying the iPhone beginning in June," the email from someone at "a Best Buy in Pennsylvania" reads, claiming that "[t]hey’ve begun to grease the wheels for advertising." MacRumors points out that it's pretty unlikely that a Best Buy employee would have this kind of inside information, but also notes that they've heard "similar rumblings from a Sprint-connected source." It does make a kind of sense: if Apple's going to go to the trouble of making an entirely separate model, they're probably not going to do it just