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Almost no one leaving AT&T for iPhone on other U.S. carriers

Posted: , by Scott H.

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Almost no one leaving AT&T for iPhone on other U.S. carriers
It seems like only yesterday that the biggest complaint about the iPhone was its exclusivity to AT&T. Reams of virtual paper were written about how poor AT&T’s network was, how their customer service was atrocious, and how people would leave in droves when the iPhone finally came to another carrier.

It’s now been the better part of a year since the iPhone 4 came to Verizon, and several weeks since the iPhone 4S was launched simultaneously on Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T. And the toll to AT&T’s subscribership has been…

Nothing.

According to Glen Lurie, president of emerging devices for AT&T, the rate of churn, or customers cancelling their subscriptions, has not changed at all since AT&T lost its exclusivity. Combined with record sales of the iPhone 4S, it appears that Lurie is justified in saying that AT&T customers have remained loyal, despite the availability of the iPhone on competing carriers.

So what happened? Do you have an AT&T iPhone? Are you more satisfied with the carrier now than you were a year or two ago? Or are you tied to the service for another reason? Let us know in the comments section.

Almost no one leaving AT&T for iPhone on other U.S. carriers

source: WSJ via All Things D

73 Comments
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posted on 16 Nov 2011, 12:43 12

1. gallitoking (Posts: 4680; Member since: 17 May 2011)


it goes to show you.. people say one thing.. but actually do another...

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 16:20 3

43. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


I wouldn't quite say that. AT&T is a lot smarter than you think. They made almost all iPhone users eligible for the iPhone 4 back in 2010 right after they raised the ETF from $175 to $325. A lot of folks also used early upgrades and switched to AT&T because they didn't believe the Verizon iPhone rumors. And who can blame them since Verizon iPhone rumors have been posted in 2008, 2009, and 2010 only to be true in 2011.

So right now, AT&T has a lot of people trapped in contract with a high ETF.

Still, I don't see a mass exodus coming. Sprint had terrible customer service before they started losing customers. It just took those customers to get to the end of their contract before Sprint saw the loss.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 12:50 7

2. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yea, but its not like everyone's contracts just ran out because the i4s launched. probably have to give it a year or so to see the full effects.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:00 6

5. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


And what would be your excuse next year if it continues to stay strong? Marketing? Lol

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:33 3

17. cfprelude (Posts: 115; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


yes.... :)

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:27 6

31. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


an excuse for what you troll?

an iphone user jumping from ATT to sprint or VZW to get another iphone affects me how?!? do you guys even think before you post, or do u just try to start crap with every post?

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:32 5

33. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


I don't think they read the posts. They see your name and just start arguing.

It's pretty funny... actually. Half the time they are trolling you before you even post anything on the article.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 15:40 3

37. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


ive noticed that quite a bit. they just put blinders on and attack.. they dont even actually read anything. lol

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 16:07 3

42. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


Well it's hard. If they actually read your posts they might learn something, and that would be f**king horrible.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 15:45 2

38. Dmann (Posts: 165; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


And the fact that he got 3 upvotes shows that he isn't the only one that doesn't have any reading comprehension.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 17:20 4

48. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


lol, him gemini, miz, and gallito constantly thumb eachother up.. the more they troll and the dumber it sounds, the more they thumb each other up.
you notice they rarely get more than 4 thumbs up. :)

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:39 3

34. hepresearch (unregistered)


Awww, how cute! Apparently it is now necessary to find "excuses" if you want to attempt to discredit the insane awesomeness that is the iPhone... and eventually 530gemini will remove all of our excuses until we must all bow down and confess that the iPhone reigns as supreme and unmolested champion...

nyuk nyuk nyuk!

>8-P

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 17:02 1

46. Forsaken77 (Posts: 546; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)


I think he was referring more to AT&T than to the iPhone.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 17:27 2

53. hepresearch (unregistered)


Yeah, that\'s possible; in fact, in hindsight, I think you\'re right. But, afterall, gemini sure likes to lay it on us all, and call us trolls for not acknowledging the almighty iPhone supreme... AT&T I really have no serious gripes with, as long as I never have to deal with their customer care or travel outside the urban centers out west a whole lot...

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 18:28 2

58. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


The main theme of the article was the strength of ATT's franchise since it lost exclusivity to the iPhone when Verizon joined the club. The article stressed that Verizon has been selling the iPhone for a "year" (this point is lost on our resident village idiot) and somehow ATT isn't seeing the churns as expected by the doomsayers. Then the article continues with the fact that even with Sprint joining the party, ATT is still doing okay despite having to share the iPhone with two rivals (again, this point is lost on the RVI).

ATT is clearly addressing its network issues. Perhaps it's the rollover minutes, perhaps its the only carrier offerring the 3GS, which is the second best selling phone in Q3:11.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 22:55 3

66. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


u know, i dont think taco likes when you call him that.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:32 3

16. cfprelude (Posts: 115; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


and i think some AT&T customers were hoping that droves of customers would jump to other carriers and bog their networks down while freeing up the overloaded AT&T network... oh, and clearly AT&T has been working like crazy to better their networks in the past year since that study. They are no where near as bad as they were 2-3 years ago when the majority of people were griping the loudest.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 12:51 4

3. Tre-Nitty (Posts: 460; Member since: 16 Nov 2010)


Its called at&t service isn't as bad as people claim, in fact its pretty good. Nobody also wants to pay huge cancellation fee to go to another carrier for the exact same phone but with less actual usability.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 15:53 2

41. bigdawg23 (Posts: 345; Member since: 25 May 2011)


My AT&T service is outstanding. It beats Verizon and all other carriers. I have T-Mo and VZW both with Drop call issues in the same locations. However, AT&T is great.

As for not leaving, if people see data rate on AT&T vs Sprint/VZW its enough to say no way. however that is just me.

My HSPA+ is faster than Sprint's WiMax and many of my friends VZW LTE download. I am interested to see what LTE on AT&T brings.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 16:42 3

45. aar0983 (Posts: 51; Member since: 26 Sep 2011)


HSPA+ on your iphone faster??? you must be kidding. I really doubt that HSPA+ can compete with 4g LTE, maybe Wimax but not LTE

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 17:30 1

54. hepresearch (unregistered)


HSPA+, WiMAX, and LTE competitive? I think that in the current situation, the answer is \"yes\"... now, in anopther year or two, LTE-Advanced will leave HSPA+ and WiMAX, and even the first-release LTE, in the dust.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 18:33 1

59. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


Apple is advertising HSDPA speeds of 14.4 Mbps. That is a lot faster than WiMax and is on par with what I am getting on my mobile broadband with Verizon current 4G.

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 23:49

73. hepresearch (unregistered)


For HSDPA, the 14.4 Mbps advertised is a theoretical maximum speed... real-world measurements are not guaranteed to ever come close to that.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 22:56

68. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


it all has to do with where you actually live. even the worst carrier gets great coverage somewhere. I dont like ATT, but they have better coverage than Metro.. and metro works well in some areas.. so..
wait.. what was my point?? lol. :) :)

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 12:59 5

4. ayephoner (Posts: 836; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)


some are also grandfathered in to att unlimited data and/or cheap plans and dont want to give them up.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:29 3

32. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


some people just never wanna give it up

http://youtu.be/dQw4w9WgXcQ

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 15:12 1

35. iKingTrust (banned) (Posts: 716; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


like you

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 15:36 2

36. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


click the link before u reply, dodo.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 15:48 3

40. Dmann (Posts: 165; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Man, they really hate you, remix!

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 17:22 2

49. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


do you know how you are doing something completely right (or wrong)? the more they hate you the more right (or wrong) you probably are.

Considering how often people say they learn from the junk that i type, I'd say Im doing something right.

I just think its funny that they are so blind that even when i agree with them, they still just come out and attack like rabid chihuahuas

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:01 5

6. Whateverman (Posts: 3187; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Yeah, I don't understand this either. I've seen AT&T and VZW iPhones get totally different coverage in the same areas. And even though the friend with AT&T saw how much better the VZW version was, he still upgraded to the 4S on AT&T. I asked my friend why he didn't switch and he said, "You can't send messages and talk on VZW". To which I responded, "But what does that matter if you can't talk in your own home or work or 50% of the other places you go to?". All he could say was "Yeah, I know".

All I can say is those stupid "No i didnt forget our anniversary." while making reservations commercials must have been a lot more effective than many people thought they would be. That or the rollover minutes accumulated from years of no reception is just to massive to just walk away from. IDK.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:15 2

9. Mojobobo (Posts: 12; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)


Whateverman. (get it?) Seriously, it depends on where you live. Saying "even though the friend with AT&T saw how much better the VZW version was" they are both the same, different in terms of carrier technology and that the 4s can utilize the upgraded antenna. Also your quote "But what does that matter if you can't talk in your own home or work or 50% of the other places you go to?" THIS also depends on where you live and where you work. In most cases lower bands do always go through buildings better(dependent on the building) but just going with the rest of the crowd and assuming that it wont work in their home/work and 50% of other places they go to is very MIS-leading.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:11 2

26. Whateverman (Posts: 3187; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Lol, I got it!  Your right, switching wouldn't make sense for everyone.  Based on where you have service, some people are going to have excellent service with AT&T.  But I should clarify... The friends I'm talking about live and work in the same parts of Chicago.  The one with VZW I can call anytime, no matter where she is and can reach her anytime, but the one with AT&T is really hit or miss.  And if he's at home, I HAVE to call him on his home phone, which when you think about it...it makes owning the AT&T version more expensive for him because he has to have a landline phone too.  Maybe 50% is an exaggeration on my part, but if it's that big of an issue where people purposely AVOID calling your cellphone, then that iPhone becomes more of an iPod touch at that point.  

Someone also mentioned data speeds, which is a legitimate argument if every Mbps on Speedtest is what you're judging these phones by.  But when you measure the speed in real world situations, I keep finding examples of VZW not only keeping up, but actually besting AT&T web page load times.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd7taHnHzcg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL0kYAMH8Ts&feature=youtube_gdata_player

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm4cD5fGJOM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:54 3

22. beatsandmelody (Posts: 109; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)


You should have told him that you actually CAN use voice and data at the same time on VZW!

How?

Connect to a wifi AP!

Then you can make a call and browse the web at the same time. It works on my Droid 1, anyway. I'm going to ASSUME that the iPhone 4/4S would let you do the same.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:02 1

7. Zippo310 (Posts: 4; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Just wait until the iPhone 5 comes out and has 4g. Unless you live in one of At&t's 5 cities that has LTE, I'm sure customers will be switching.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:20 1

11. Mojobobo (Posts: 12; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)


You mean 9 cities with 5 more coming soon......

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:28 4

14. cfprelude (Posts: 115; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


lol - i know you were just trying to correct but that made me literally laugh out loud. if its in the single digits who cares if its 5 or 9?? :P

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:26 1

12. djg71087 (Posts: 70; Member since: 10 Oct 2010)


\"use your head and not your tail\" when thinking.... do you really think at&t is going to have 5 LTE cities when the Iphone5 launches.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:41

19. theoak (Posts: 320; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


If the iPhone 5 has LTE ... it will be LTE on AT&T AND Verizon AND Sprint ... I would think.

There would be no reason for folks to "switch" carriers just because of LTE because by the time an i5 LTE comes out ... I would think it would be for all carriers.

What might make folks switch is cost of the data plan, if the carrier throttles, charges overages, offers more GB per dollar, if LTE is in their area ... etc.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:06 5

8. drodriguezsd (Posts: 35; Member since: 10 Jun 2010)


I think the fact that AT&T has the fastest 3G is the biggest reason for customers staying. Both AT&T and Verizon no longer offer unlimited data, and Verizon service for an iPhone is slightly more expensive monthly than AT&T. Therefore, there's no reason for anyone on AT&T's end to switch to Verizon... unless they have poor coverage with AT&T, therefore they would most likely switch. Ask for Sprint? Chances are.. if you're already with one of the two nations largest/more advanced carriers.. and you've been with them for a couple years or more.. you wouldn't downgrade to Sprints slower 3G network. Even with unlimited data. - Just my personal perspective.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:29

15. downphoenix (Posts: 2267; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


could be true, and yes the savings are very small with sprint with individual phones, but when you start talking family plans with data on all the phones, Sprint's advantage in pricing really shows. Of course, some people dont want all smartphones, they just want one smartphoen or maybe 2 and the others on basic phones, and Sprint has a major disadvantage here since their plans aren't flexible to accommidate this, also I often get customers asking for a smaller data family plan than the everything data 1500, and we just don't offer one. Even if its only $10 a month less, I could see an Ev Data 700 being VERY popular, most customers I have with the 1500 may use about 400 minutes a month average on their phones because of the anymobile anytime.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:35

18. theoak (Posts: 320; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


In my area ... if I SpeetTest AT&T and Verizon ... both 3G ... Verizon consistently scores higher ... especially in the more remote areas.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:27

30. drodriguezsd (Posts: 35; Member since: 10 Jun 2010)


Yeah, it all depends on what area you're from. Obviously the results vary. I'm from San Diego, California and my cousin has an iPhone 4 on Verizon that always gets around 1-1.5mbp down, while my iPhone 4S on AT&T gets 3-5.5mbp down. :)

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:18 1

10. theoak (Posts: 320; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


For me ... my employer contracts with AT&T ... and my employer pays the monthly bill.

I am a total Verizon fan ... I have my wife on Verizon.

But ... I can't beat free monthly costs for my iPhone 4 ... so I will stay with AT&T so long as my employer is willing to flip the bill.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:26

13. downphoenix (Posts: 2267; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


depending on where you're at, AT&T does have good coverage. Their customer serivce is questionable though. However, AT&T has a lock on several areas so even if someone doesnt like AT&T, they may not have sprint or verizon in their area as they arguably support more rural areas than all the other major carriers, so they could either go AT&T and deal with crap customer service but at least have good coverage and phone selection, or go with a smaller carrier. In this area, that is mostly the case. There is Sprint and T-mobile coverage here, but if you dont want AT&T your only real choice sometimes is US Cellular, and they are most expensive than AT&T overall.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:50 1

20. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 409; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)


why would they? other than the radios inside---cdma and gsm---iphone 4 and 4s are identical on Sprint, ATT and VW.....

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:52

21. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 409; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)


daaaahhhhhh-i didn't leave VW for AT&T in 2007 when the iphone came out.....

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 13:55 2

23. snowgator (Posts: 3188; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


I got thumbs downed a lot when Verizon first got the iPhone for saying that I felt most people who got it on Big Red would be those who were already on Verizon or moved from a smaller carrier. I didn't think AT&T would lose a bunch of customers. The iPhone did it's job for AT&T: It got people on their network while it was an exclusive. Customers who just use their phones as a daily tool just do not change companies much. They get really excited to get a new toy every two years and then they just recommit to the carrier they are on. Those that love the tech (like most of us on Phone Arena and other sites) and those who depend on their mobile devices for their livelihood will change carriers based on options, prices, coverages and such. But the vast majority will just stay where they are.

That being said, I am willing to wager a nice, shiney new dime that says that while Sprint will get new customers from the iPhone 4S and 4, they will not get a bunch from Verizon or AT&T.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:21 2

28. hepresearch (unregistered)


I would not dare wager against you... you would win, and I do not want to lose my own shiny new dime...

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 17:54 1

56. snowgator (Posts: 3188; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


buddy, I think you win just won because you can spell "shiny" ....

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:25

29. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)


I actually remember that and agreeing with you. I just think at this moment it\'s very easy to hate AT&T.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 17:23

50. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


i dont remember if i agreed or not.. but i would never thumb you down snow :)

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 18:56

60. Phoneguy007 (Posts: 218; Member since: 02 Jun 2011)


make it two dimes and the bets on!!!

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 19:43

61. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


But T-mobile customers are saying adios muchachos to the T-mobile network and saying Sprint got unlimited 3G for the 4S!

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 22:57

69. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


nice try for flame, troll.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:00 1

24. hepresearch (unregistered)


All this really says is that all network providers, between lack of coverage, lack of backhaul capacity, poor customer service, high expenses for services, and/or sub-standard line-up of phone models... are relatively equal. A carrier that charges little for services rarely offers superb quality otherwise. A carrier that has little network coverage does not have the means to attract too many customers. A carrier that offers lots of low-end phones alongside the new iPhone will not sell much to anyone who does not want an iPhone to begin with. A carrier that does not support the devices and services it sells will not garner much respect or loyalty. A carrier that fails to build out the capacity to handle heavy traffic on its network will not be able to offer services for lower prices, and will have to set caps on services as well.

So, customers HAVE shown us one thing... they go where the iPhone goes. The iPhone is apparently supported such that it has built intense loyalty. However, once they have their iPhone, they tend to stay put. An iPhone on AT&T is no better than an iPhone on Verizon is no better than an iPhone on Sprint... the pros and cons of each cancel pretty evenly with the pros and cons of the others... hence iPhone owners on AT&T are not bothering to move to Verizon, iPhone owners on Verizon have no reason to move anywhere else, and iPhone owners on Sprint will probably not leave Sprint, either (which might explain the extreme lengths to which Sprint had to go to obtain an agreement to sell the iPhone).

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 19:54

62. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


Don't forget ATT has rollover minutes and that is like equity. I under Verizon is countering with claims of the best network and Sprint has unlimited 3G for data. The point is each of these carriers tries to create stickness to prevent their customers from leaving.

As for the best iphone experience, it's ATT with HSPDA for the 4S, it sells the 3GS and the fact it has the longest history with the iPhone on its network. These are things consumers think about and it shows in ATT's net subcriber addition.

I find it surprising a small carrier like C Spire will sell the iPhone and T-Mobile is getting left in the cold.

posted on 23 Nov 2011, 08:29

71. hepresearch (unregistered)


Well, why would T-Mo bother selling the iPhone when they are about to get eaten alive by AT&T? They are trying to save money, so why would they shell out, like Sprint did, for something they will only be selling for a year? Sprint said they will not break even on the iPhone deal for another 3 to 5 years, as far as I understand.

C Spire is crazy. They are trying to sell the iPhone on a network that is half-unsupported on any iPhone... AWS is missing from the iPhone for good reason, and I do not see why Apple would bother to make an AWS variant just for C Spire.

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:05 2

25. cupcake (Posts: 106; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


Maybe most of them had already left for Android on VZW ;)

posted on 16 Nov 2011, 14:15 1

27. Whateverman (Posts: 3187; Member since: 17 May 2009)


We're all getting along right now, so please don't start a new flame war!

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