AT&T Thinks You Won’t Switch to Verizon When it Gets the iPhone

AT&T’s President and CEO—Randall Stephenson—seems to think that losing iPhone exclusivity will not spell doom for the company. In fact, he said that because two-thirds of iPhone users on his network were with AT&T before the first iPhone launched, he expects them to remain loyal. Is he forgetting the network hell that was unleashed when iPhone users started pushing data usage to the max of the network’s capacity?

Okay, you can’t expect the CEO of a company to ever say anything bad about it, but being realistic here, how many users does AT&T expect to jump ship when the Verizon iPhone finally launches? The rumors are stronger than ever this year, and many analysts are putting their reputations on the line by claiming that around 20 million CDMA iPhones will be built by early next year. In fact, some are saying that the CDMA iPhone (Verizon uses that network technology, instead of the GSM that AT&T uses) has already started production. AT&T has even hinted in its corporate filings that it is losing exclusivity.

Some crazy poll numbers have popped up over the past two months, with some claiming that over 30% of iPhone users will be jumping ship for Verizon once it gets an iPhone model. I am not quite sure a number that high is realistic, but most everyone I speak with seems to hate AT&T with somewhat of a passion. Especially iPhone users. Then again, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Stephenson also noted that because AT&T sells iPhones with two-year contracts, people will not be willing to break their contracts to switch to AT&T. That doesn’t exactly sound reassuring. While many users will not be willing to pay the contract cancellation fee, at least some will be. And besides, what happens when those contracts end? If Verizon has an iPhone of its own, then what is to keep AT&T subscribers happy?

AT&T thinks you won’t abandon the ship when Verizon and other carriers get the iPhone. Will you?

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