AT&T CEO not worried about loss of iPhone exclusivity20
In an investors' conference yesterday, CEO Randall Stephenson argued that the end of the exclusive AT&T/iPhone relationship would not incite an exodus. He said that two-thirds of iPhone users were on AT&T before they had their iPhones, so there must be some accrued company loyalty. He then noted that the iPhone 4's recent release locked many customers into two-year contracts, which would be expensive to break.
The argument about early termination fees is certainly valid. Those 23% ready to join Verizon might think twice when presented with the bill. Those same 23% also might feel silly paying a termination fee, and then buying the same (or similar) iPhone they already owned, but for a new carrier. On the other hand, they might be switching to an unlimited data plan, and so might save some money on the back end.
But the argument about carrier loyalty is delusional. People won't be loyal to AT&T if they feel they aren't getting a fair shake (i.e. most dropped calls, smallest 3G coverage in the US).
Stephenson's defense of AT&T's position is predictable considering it was an investors' conference. The investors knew it had to be addressed, and the end of iPhone exclusivity is a concern for AT&T, whether or not they admit it.
source: Yahoo! News