Mobile service carriers about to get iPhoned; AT&T expected to ring up big subscriber wins

“As Sprint’s struggles continue, some see an even steeper fall ahead,” Scott Moritz reports for TheStreet.com.

“But the Reston, Va., phone company’s next wound may not even be self-inflicted. Industry watchers and investors say the next looming threat to Sprint comes from the hotly anticipated iPhone from Apple. If the iPod-inspired phone has anything near the success that some observers expect, AT&T’s exclusive arrangement to sell the phone will ring up big subscriber wins. The way some observers see it, many of those new AT&T customers will likely be coming from Sprint,” Moritz reports.

“Sprint is the most vulnerable because it has one of the biggest groups of heavy data users, notes one investor who has no position,” Moritz reports. “Sprint isn’t alone, of course. Verizon Wireless — co-owned by Verizon and Vodafone — also has its share of trendsetters who may covet the phone of the moment. ‘This is going to cut into all the others’ net adds,’ says the money manager, who is long Verizon.”

“Some observers, however, say Sprint has a fighting chance against the iPhone with its Samsung UpStage device, which has a music player and large screen on one side and a phone on the other,” Moritz reports.

MacDailyNews Take: Some observers would be so blind, deaf, and stupid that they can’t even understand recent history or why products succeed while others fail (see: iPod vs. every other digital player). It’s not feature lists, dummies. And it’s certainly not two-faced, fugly Samsung kludges designed to divert attention from the company’s (and the entire industry’s) miserable failure to innovate.

Full article here.

22 Comments

  1. I would never go to Verizon. Worst company I have ever dealt with, but to be fair, it was not the wireless division, but the land line division. (But to me, it is still Verizon). My wife has Verizon wireless and for the most part, she has no problems with it.

    But, In that regard, are any of them good?

    I had/have Nextel (now Nextel/Sprint), and it has only been good in that I am no longer under contract, and my phone is damned near indestructable. Other than that, the coverage is not the best, and there are occasional outages and voice mail is sometimes very late.

    I plan to get an iPhone, but I will wait for the bugs to be worked out, and definately wait to see what the plans will be. I would honestly love a feature that allowed a limited home directory on it protected by File Vault…now how slick would that be? The iPod part doesn’t interest me. But all the other features do.

  2. DLMeyer: “So … now they get to skim the cream with a million (mostly) new customers. iPhone 2.0 – the one several of us are waiting for – may see broader distribution as well as a lower price.”

    It will likely not happen. I am too lazy to do a search, but IIRC, Cingular already stated during the iPhone unveiling that they had a multiyear iPhone contract with Apple covering the first 2 versions and others in the pipeline (which presumably includes 3G). You can bet that iPhone 2.0 is covered in the contract already, unless Cingular was stupid enough not to see the hole in the agreement.

  3. This is pretty dumb really, but here is why:

    They wanted to make on side very iPod-like as they could, and the other side a phone.

    Why not on one side? Because the device is stuck in plastic buttons, thus the functionality on the music side simply does not work for the phone side, and vice versa.

    Thus, if they continue this path, perhaps their phones will contain 15 screens and different keypads, acting more like a roll-a-dex system that fits only in the passenger seat of your car.

    Morons.

  4. I have a good friend who works for Sprint. He says that they are the worst run company he has ever seen. They throw money away hand over fist and they are completely disorganized (one division has no idea what the others are doing, etc.). The only reason he still works for them is because they pay him so well.

    Sprint doesn’t need the iPhone to do them in – they are doing it themselves.

  5. “Sprint is the most vulnerable because it has one of the biggest groups of heavy data users […]”

    Ah, and there is where Sprint will survive. Part of the reason Sprint has the biggest groups of heavy data users is that they have a better network than AT&T. While the iPhone is great, it really wants a high-speed network behind it. I’m sure the iPhone will rock when it comes to WiFi, but when attached to EDGE? Bleah.

    After all, which would you rather use to surf the web? An eight-core Macintosh Pro on dial-up or a Bondi Blue iMac on DSL?

  6. “Sprint is the most vulnerable because it has one of the biggest groups of heavy data users […]”

    Peter said

    “Ah, and there is where Sprint will survive. Part of the reason Sprint has the biggest groups of heavy data users is that they have a better network than AT&T. While the iPhone is great, it really wants a high-speed network behind it. I’m sure the iPhone will rock when it comes to WiFi, but when attached to EDGE? Bleah.”

    Peter, that may be true for the first few months of iPhone v1.0 BUT I’m willing to bet Apple has adressed this with AT&T. There has to be something in the contract that requires AT&T to update the network within a year for the 3G release of iPhone v2.0 It doesn’t make sense to have a mobile data device being crippled by the carrier.

    Apple focuses on the end user, no holds barred. That attitude has to be there in the workings of the iPhone, or it will flop. If it doesn’t just work, Apple gets the bad rap. Lots of pressure on AT&T

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