updated 05:05 pm EST, Wed March 2, 2011
ATT says iPhone exodus to Verizon not huge
AT&T wireless chief Ralph de la Vega at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications conference in San Francisco today said the company wasn't alarmed at the impact of the Verizon iPhone 4 launch. He declined to get into numbers but said the number of AT&T subscribers jumping ship for Verizon was "within our expectations." The carrier hadn't "seen any surprises" in the first two weeks, de la Vega said, although he admitted that numbers were in flux and that the trend might change later.
"The situation is volatile," the executive explained. "It changes from one week to the next."
How much of an impact has been difficult to gauge for most. Retail lineups for the Verizon iPhone were much smaller than usual for Apple, but Verizon has noted that 60 percent of its customers are buying online. Most of those leaving AT&T are believed to be those in major cities, particularly New York City and San Francisco, where AT&T 3G remains slow or in some cases unusable due to the glut of customers relative to its network capacity.
The demographics are more likely to become clear in the summer, when the iPhone 5 arrives and customers who wanted to switch but wanted the most recent hardware will have their chance. Many early iPhone buyers are also locked into two-year contracts that will expire in the summer and will have an easier chance of leaving without taking the hit from an early termination fee.