The worst kept secret was finally unveiled earlier this year, that Apple will be selling the iPhone via Verizon in addition to their long standing relationship with AT&T. This has unleashed a deluge of commentary and mockery of AT&T’s network ability to handle the iPhone and the data overload the smartphone has unleashed.
As has been pointed out, AT&T stands to lose disgruntled customers to Verizon. There is not doubt this news will give Verizon a boost – they are already seen as the carrier with superior coverage to AT&T, the addition of the popular iPhone coupled with their stable of other smartphones will make for 2011 to be a good year for Verizon. Yet might this move be a silver lining for AT&T?
The iPhone has clearly given AT&T a big boost in terms of sales and customers, being the only provider of the Apple product has made those of us who want an iPhone entrenched with the carrier. As the Jon Stewart piece points out, it also created a back lash from those customers. AT&T has never been able to catch up to the data demand the iPhone has created. Could losing some of these clients from the network actually make the service for those of us still on AT&T actually better? If, as some report, we could see close to 4 million users gravitate to Verizon that would remove that kind of strain on the AT&T network that we have all groan accustomed to and had to deal with grudgingly. In addition, the arrival of another competitor being able to sell the popular device will force AT&T to make some investments and decisions to ensure they keep and attract iPhone users.
In the short term AT&T will take a hit and Verizon will leverage the ability to sell the iPhone 4 to build on their market position. I hope in the long term this move will make the AT&T experience better for those of us still using the iPhone on their network. Otherwise once my contract expires I might port my number and iPhone to Verizon.