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

Just a year ago the internet was agog with complaints about the iPhone's exclusivity to AT&T. Yet in the months sense AT&T has not seen an uptick in their churn rate...
This is a discussion for a news article. To read the whole news, click here


6. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 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.

9. Mojobobo

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 04, 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.

26. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 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 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.

22. beatsandmelody

Posts: 109; Member since: Nov 01, 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.

7. Zippo310

Posts: 4; Member since: Oct 18, 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.

11. Mojobobo

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

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

14. cfprelude

Posts: 140; Member since: Oct 27, 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

12. djg71087

Posts: 70; Member since: Oct 10, 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.

19. theoak

Posts: 324; Member since: Nov 16, 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.

8. drodriguezsd

Posts: 35; Member since: Jun 10, 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.

15. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 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.

18. theoak

Posts: 324; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

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

30. drodriguezsd

Posts: 35; Member since: Jun 10, 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. :)

10. theoak

Posts: 324; Member since: Nov 16, 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.

13. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 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.

20. DROIDX0430

Posts: 469; Member since: Nov 24, 2010

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

21. DROIDX0430

Posts: 469; Member since: Nov 24, 2010

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

23. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 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.

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...

56. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

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

29. vvelez5

Posts: 623; Member since: Jan 29, 2011

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

50. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

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

60. Phoneguy007

Posts: 218; Member since: Jun 02, 2011

make it two dimes and the bets on!!!

61. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

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

69. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

nice try for flame, troll.

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).

62. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

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.

25. cupcake

Posts: 106; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

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

27. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

We're all getting along right now, so please don't start a new flame war!
This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.