AT&T chief doesn’t see mass exodus to Verizon iPhone

“AT&T’s wireless chief Ralph de la Vega today dismissed talk of a Verizon iPhone triggering a rush of defections to the rival carrier,” Electronista reports.

“He explained at a JP Morgan conference that 70 percent of all of AT&T’s customers are on family plans, which are difficult to transition wholesale to another carrier due to multiple devices,” Electronista reports. “About 40 percent of subscribers have corporate plans that employers wouldn’t necessarily be willing to switch over to another carrier.”

Electronista reports, “The executive didn’t go so far as to indicate that AT&T’s exclusivity period for the iPhone was ending… De la Vega himself was enthused with the iPad, saying he was ‘addicted’ to it and that it had ‘changed the way [he] work[s].'”

Full article here.


  1. In other words…. We at AT&T;have erected walls in a delightful way for us to retain customers. Unless those customers are willing to endure financial hardship, we got ’em.

    On a side note,I have to say AT&T;has been fine for me. I have no issues. Maybe 1 dropped call a month. Although I do know people for whom the opposite is true.

    If there were a mass exdous to Verizon, I think I’d stick with AT&T;because things would be getting better on this side and worse for Verizon because I don’t think their network could handle that kind of massive data growth. If that does happen, I welcome that.

  2. We have four people on our AT&T;family plan and are actually going to hold off on buying the new AT&T;iphones this summer so that we can switch back to Verizon when the Verizon iphone comes out. We are sick of all the dropped calls. Even if higher iphone traffic brings dropped calls to Verizon it couldn’t be any worse than AT&T;is now..

  3. I may be responsible for selling one of the first Verizon iPhones when they become available; my mother-in-law is on Verizon and it would cost too much to switch, but she definitely wants an iPhone if they come to Verizon.

    Dude’s probably right; not going to get that many switchers except maybe for those at the tail end of their contracts, if Verizon offers some decent incentives.

  4. Count me as someone who does not plan to switch back, as well as the rest of my family… There is 7 people right there. The reasons we won’t switch back?

    1. Cost of the plans, Verizon is more expensive for the same thing
    2. Still no Internet and phone at the same time
    3. Most importantly, Verizon’s horrible customer service!

  5. I doubt that many would leave ATT — just people who are *realy* frustrated, probably those in NY or SF. But it would stop a lot of people from switching *TO* ATT, and that means a big loss for the company over time.

  6. If I were Mr. de la Vega, I would give Apple anything they want to keep the iPhone as an exclusive indefinitely. If he thinks people will not patiently wait for their chance to chance carriers and be treated a little less worse, he is deeply deluded. AT&T;is on the map because of the iPhone, and now the iPad.

    Let us ask, if Apple got hold of bandwidth, and created an Apple model for cell service, who wouldn’t want to sign up? Even without the iPhone Apple’s approach would bring people to them, rather than trying to lock them in and tie them up. Blackberry succeeded, in my opinion, by trying to push a customer’s needs into a cell phone package. Added services, added features, and people loved it. Apple went so much further, and of course, people loved it.

    Am I on AT&T;for their service? LOL! I am at AT&T;solely because of the iPhone. THAT is where my loyalty goes, and as I said, if I was de la Vega, I’d take a big sip of reality juice, and offer Apple anything they wanted to keep the iPhone indefinitely.

  7. I’m sure there will be some exits if a Verizon iPhone appears, but I doubt it would be massive.

    I forget, wasn’t there a CEO that claimed there would be *zero* iPhone users after his “killer” phone came out? That was delusional.

  8. So the only reason he gives for people NOT switching to Verizon is basically becuz ATT has people cornered in ?

    If that is the case, I hope ATT is waking up and smelling the fact that something needs to get fixed….. like where the heck is the tethering they promised ?

    I probably would be one to stay with ATT…. but I have had my days/months/years where I also get so frustrated with them that I want to switch….. they need to start treating (U.S.) iPhone owners AS the customers they are…. verses iPhone owners with no choice but ATT (unless they give up the iPhone – which is not a choice really)…..

    The attitude of “You should be glad you have ATT to connect your iPhone to” needs to be wiped from their VP’s phrase book.

  9. I won’t switch from ATT to Verizon, since I’m one of those people who thinks that Verizon’s customer service, coverage, and pricing models are vastly inferior to ATT. And, since I travel internationally, Verizon is an absolute no-go for most business people who actually have a passport.

    Nevertheless, is this a tacit admission that a Verizon phone is coming? I read his comments, and why would he make such a bold statement unless he assumes/knows/supposes that there will be a Verizon phone. Personally, if Verizon does get the iPhone, and I remain fairly skeptical, it will bring more customers to Apple, not a lot of “switchers.” For Apple, a customer that switches has little value, because it’s merely a transfer from one iPhone to another, rather than an added iPhone.

    For example, when the iPhone 4 comes out, a large percentage of ATT customers will upgrade. If some of those switch to Verizon, then it’s just a horizontal move by the customer, bringing no additional incremental revenue to Apple. So, Apple will want ATT customers to remain (and grow in numbers), while creating a vast swath of new customers through Verizon (incremental sales). I’m sure there will be some amount of switching, but only a small amount.

    I remain skeptical because I am not convinced of the business case for a CDMA phone. It’ll require additional software, hardware (my guess is that a Verizon iPhone will work domestically on CDMA but internationally on GSM, doubling the costs of that part of the phone), and support technology within Apple. What if the GSM version has a 50% gross margin, but the CDMA version only a 45% gross margin? That’s not going to look good on Apple’s sacrosanct bottom line.

    For most customers, and not obsessive geeks like us, ATT is just fine. I get dropped calls, but so rarely as to be just acceptable, not even slightly annoying. 3G data services seem to be improving (last summer I was getting 500-750 kbps speed, now I’m in the 1500 range). I get international, seamless service. The cost is reasonable. My whole family is on an iPhone plan. I know there’s a bunch of ridiculous urban myths about Verizon’s service, but in reality, it’s just that, an urban myth. And your own experience means precisely nothing in a data analysis.

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