Verizon vs. AT&T: Let the carnage begin!

Faith Merino · January 12, 2011 · Short URL:

Verizon gains, AT&T loses--either way, Apple wins

All this talk of the Verizon iPhone reminded me to pay my AT&T bill, which reminded me of how much I hate AT&T.  I hate it more than a fat kid hates P.E.  I hate the crappy network, I hate the weird data charges, and I hate the snotty customer service reps who manage to make my AT&T experience thatmuch worse by getting all snide with me on the phone.  I have been eagerly awaiting the Verizon iPhone announcement with plans to defect to Verizon at my earliest opportunity, and I’m not the only one.

Bernstein Research projects that Apple can expect to sell an additional six million incremental iPhones this fiscal year with Verizon’s help, but acknowledges that that figure is based exclusively on existing Verizon customers who are likely to buy an iPhone.  How many sales will come from those stalwart individuals who have, until now, refrained from buying an iPhone purely out of spite for AT&T?  I was one of those people up until a few months ago, when I finally cracked and switched to AT&T so that I can now have the convenience of checking my bank account from the grocery store checkout line.

More importantly, how many sales will AT&T lose as its customers defect to Verizon? Christopher King of Stifel Nicolaus believes that some six million AT&T customers will ditch AT&T for Verizon, while James Ratcliffe at Barclay's believes little more than one million will defect this year, the Washington Post reports.

Maybe instead, we should be asking AT&T: What will you give me if I stay?  How about we start with unlimited data?  No more of this nebulous, “You are billed for data usage in increments of kilobytes (KB), not minutes... A kilobyte (KB) is approximately 1024 bytes and a megabyte (MB) is approximately 1048 kilobytes… 5GB = 5120 MB = 5,242,880 KB.”

To be fair, Verizon won’t be some castle in the sky either.  For one thing, the Verizon iPhone’s CDMA technology will not allow users to talk on the phone while accessing data simultaneously; the call overrides the data.  Secondly, the Verizon iPhone only works on the older 3G network, which is slower than the 4G.

But you know what?  I don’t care.  It’s a small sacrifice to get the AT&T monkey off my back.

In an attempt to hang onto its customers, AT&T recently dropped the price of the iPhone 3GS to $49, and it’s taken a few pot-shots at Verizon.  “I’m not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane,” said AT&T spokesperson Larry Solomon in a recent remark to Business Insider.

Verizon spokesperson Jeffrey Nelson responded, “AT&T is known for a lot of things, but network quality is not one of them.”  He added one of the coolest trash-talk blows any PR rep has ever made (EVER):

“It must be backwards day at AT&T.” 

Either way, Apple wins, and just in time, too.  For the first time ever, Android has surpassed iOS in mobile platform market share.  This move away from an exclusive AT&T-Apple relationship will give Apple a new competitive edge against the flourishing Android market, but to really seal its position in the mobile OS market, Apple will no doubt consider partnering with other CDMA carriers, like Sprint.  Bernstein Research postulates that if Apple sells its new CDMA iPhone with five major CDMA carriers (Verizon, Sprint, LG Telecom in South Korea, China Telecom, and KDDI in Japan), it could boost the iPhone’s market by 25%.  


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