Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program is already hurting AT&T and Verizon

“When Apple unveiled its plan to let customers pay for iPhones in installments, analysts predicted the more expensive wireless carriers — AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon — would feel the biggest impact,” Adam Levy writes for The Motley Fool. “Apple’s installment plan gives customers an unlocked iPhone that can be used on any carrier. With quarterly results in from every major wireless company in the States, it’s pretty clear that analysts were correct in their assumptions.”

“T-Mobile reported it had ‘more iPhones in the third quarter than at any point in our history,'” Levy writes. “It thinks the iPhone Upgrade Program helped. Sprint, meanwhile, posted its first postpaid phone net add positive quarter in over two years… It’s evident that phone subscribers are choosing T-Mobile and Sprint more and more. T-Mobile added 843,000 postpaid phones subscribers last quarter, and Sprint added 237,000. Verizon still added 430,000 postpaid phone subscribers — a 6% year-over-year decline — but AT&T lost 459,000 subscribers after adding 349,000 subscribers during the year-ago period”

“If customers are willing to go out of their way to buy their phone from Apple and buy their phone plan from a carrier, wireless carriers need to give customers more incentive to continue buying their phones from them instead of the manufacturer,” Levy writes. “Samsung — the largest phone manufacturer in the world — is expected to follow Apple into installment plans, according to wireless analyst Chetan Sharma, so the time to act is now. Making it easier to buy a phone from a carrier may come in several forms. For example, more flexible upgrade options, lower pricing, or simplifying customer bills could all entice customers to choose a carrier’s installment plan over Apple’s.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Finally, with the high level of smartphone saturation in the U.S.A., the power is really swinging from the carrier to the customer. Take advantage and make them work for your business!


  1. We were on Verizon, then Cingular/ATT, moved one phone to TMobile. It’s the best, so far. My phone is still on ATT, but no signal inside house, so when TMobile was giving their cell booster away ($25), I contacted ATT – low and behold, they sent me one for free. Get great LTE TMobile signal, but nothing on ATT, until now. But, hey, this ain’t right, boys. I have to have internet to use ATT in my house! Knuckahaids. I’ll soon be moving my one remaining phone to TMobile…

    1. I was on AT&T for a decade and recently switched to T-mobile 2 months ago and love it (and am saving money).

      I just turned on the LTE cell tower they sent me and it makes coverage even better in the house. I didn’t really need it but since I work from home and was only getting ~2 bars I figured why not.

  2. Well, ATT played loose with Apple. When I was looking at Apple products the sale person would try to switch me to an Android, mainly Samsung. Even when I said that was not what I wanted. They would still talk about phone price, applications for free, and the great phones that were better. Well, until I start to get technical and attempting to provide customer support to there staff… The 6s I have is from the Apple Store now. Better experience.

  3. I was an AT&T customer for over a decade and left them over 2 years ago. Got tired of being gouged month after month. I’m now on Cricket. I pay $55/month for 20GB of data (albeit throttled to a max of about 8MB/s which I find more than sufficient.)

  4. Now the phone companies will have to compete on even footing. T-mobile clearly is winning with this. Hopefully AT&T will see that overcharges are what’s hurting them. Thanks Legere!, and of course Apple.

  5. I am a Rogers customer in Canada and with the introduction of the iPhone 6S and 6S+ if I want to upgrade with them I have to change plans (Same plan different name) with a $21 per month higher price. For less money over the 2 year plan price I can buy an iPhone out rite from Apple (sorry no payment plans in Canada) and save money. Rogers as soon as I have the cash you are history. If Apple had a payment plan in Canada now Rogers would already be history. By the way my current plan with 6GB of Data is $86.39 Month New Plan would be $107.39. New plan for unlimited Data with Wind $40 Month. So by purchasing my phone I will save $1,617.36 More than enough to pay for the Phone.

  6. Left AT&T about a year ago. Had “unlimited” plan on 4 iPhones that we had from the first iPhone. Kept getting letters from them that we were using too much data. Go figure…two teenage sons use a lot of unlimited data. Switched to T-mobile and love it. True unlimited. No nasty letters. Great customer service. I find some areas don’t have as good coverage on t-mobile…live in Texas. However, would sacrifice some minor service issues for being treated well, which I get with t-mobile. If you’re thinking about switching, just do it. You won’t regret it.

  7. I switched to T-Mobile 6 unlimited months ago from Verizon and have never been without phone signal and fast internet anywhere in suburban NY, NYC and along UT’s Wasatch front.

    Also loving the Rhapsody Unradio (some great streams, unlimited skips, a fair number of terrestrial radio streams – and I get more on IHeartRadio), and the latest announcements about more streaming video and hotspot capacity at no extra cost.

    So see absolutely no reason in the world for me to consider ATT or Verizon at this point.

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