It’s commonly accepted that AT&T’s iPhone exclusivity will end soon when Apple adds Verizon to its US carriers — but AT&T’s chief exec isn’t worried, citing the fact that his subs are trapped.
“If you look at the iPhone base, about 80 per cent is either on a family-talk plan or in a business relationship with us,” CEO Randall Stephenson told a Goldman Sachs investors conference Tuesday, according to MarketWatch. “Those customers tend to be very sticky. They don’t churn very frequently.”
“Sticky,” that is, meaning stuck in Big Phone’s standard two-year iPhone contract, unable to jump ship to Verizon without paying a substantial penalty.
Stephenson may be speaking from considered experience, or he may merely be whistling in the wind to calm investors. Just this Monday, for example, no lesser light than Credit Suisse estimated that 1.4 million AT&T subscribers will switch to Verizon if — when? — the iPhone becomes available on the largest US wireless carrier’s network.
But the survey upon which Credit Suisse’s estimate was based did provide some backup to Stephenson’s “We’ve got you where we want you” analysis: of the AT&T subscribers surveyed, 23 per cent would switch to Verizon if they could, but only 3 per cent would break their contracts to do so.
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