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Verizon iPhone Could Cost AT&T 1.4 Million Subscribers

by Sean P. Aune | September 21, 2010September 21, 2010 4:00 pm PDT

Evidence continues to mount that the iPhone is going to pop up on Verizon’s network in 2011, and to no one’s great surprise, it looks like this could end up costing AT&T quite a few subscribers.

The Verizon iPhone has become the stuff of legend. Ever since the iPhone launched in 2007 people have been trying to guess when we would see the handset show up on the biggest carrier in the United States. Rumors have come and gone more times than anyone can keep track of, but a lot of things – namely a mysterious keynote address by Verizon at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in January – seem to indicate that the deal is finally going to happen. So, of course, people are starting to weigh in on what this could mean for AT&T’s subscription numbers, and it isn’t pretty.

Verizon iPhoneAccording to a report released this week by Credit Suisse, AT&T would lose 1.4 million iPhone subscribers which would be about 37 percent of its current subscriptions.  While this number isn’t as high as some estimates have suggested in the past, it’s still a pretty hefty loss for any carrier.  However, in the course of a normal year AT&T sees a loss of 1.1 million subscribers, but that number is split up amongst all of its different handsets and not just a specific one.  If the company was to lose 1.4 million just from the iPhone in addition to other customers leaving, then it could be a pretty ugly year for them.

Credit Suisse also suggested that new subscribers would remain flat for 2011 as opposed to the usual growth the company sees.

While some rumors have suggested the iPhone could be going to multiple carriers next year, the main focus has been on Verizon.  If Apple should release the phone to multiple carriers, the survey said 23 percent would go to Sprint, three percent to Sprint and two percent to T-Mobile.

If this sounds like a low number for Verizon to be concerning themselves with, you should also remember how many people have never signed up for an iPhone simply because it is exclusive to AT&T.  Some reports over the years have suggested that as few as 30 percent of people who desire the Apple handset have gotten one due to the exclusivity deal, so the number of new owners could be pretty significant.

To be fair, all of this should be considered speculation at this point as nothing official has been said about the Apple and AT&T exclusivity deal coming to an end.  Apparently Credit Suisse feels they know something is going on because they have mentioned a Feb. 15th launch date, but where they got that date from is unknown.

What say you?  Do you think Apple ending its exclusivity deal with AT&T would be a good thing?  Would you switch, or sign up for the first time?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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