updated 09:35 am EDT, Fri October 22, 2010
Verizon Q3 2010 not enough to avoid iPhone effect
Verizon today reported slower growth than usual in a sign that Android's effect was muted at the carrier. It added a modest 997,000 cellphone customers during the summer compared to AT&T's 2.6 million and was enough to put the two carriers' total bases nearly even, with Verizon just holding a lead at 93.2 million phone users versus AT&T's 92.8 million. Verizon's main advantage was lower turnover of old subscription customers for new, at 1.07 percent.
It didn't explain how many of the new devices on its network were smartphones, but it noted data revenues were up 26.3 percent over a year ago, suggesting that smartphones had some effect.
The growth was relatively low in spite of some of the highest-profile Android releases of the year coming to the network, such as Motorola's Droid 2 and Droid X as well as the Samsung Fascinate. It had enjoyed more additions in the spring despite only having the HTC Droid Incredible to boost sales.
While difficult to gauge, the results suggested that the launch of the iPhone 4 at AT&T blunted some of Verizon's success despite the latter's reputation for a higher-quality network and its role as the home of Android. Apple moved 5.2 million iPhones through AT&T, two thirds more than it did in the spring, and 24 percent of those buyers were converts from rival carriers that included Verizon.
The provider may turn this around as it has recently become much closer to Apple, striking a deal for iPads in Verizon stores and with a probable deal for a CDMA iPhone 4 early next year. A Verizon iPhone is considered a possible "worst case" for AT&T as it might not only lose some of the flow of new carriers but shed customers in areas where its network has been unable to keep up, such as New York City and San Francisco.