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Summary:

According to survey respondents to a ChangeWave Research survey of over 4,000 customers, more than 40 percent of Sprint/Nextel and T-Mobile customers would seriously considering buying an iPhone were it available to them, as would just over a majority of Verizon customers.

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ChangeWave Research has released a survey (PDF) of some 4,040 customers of U.S. cellular service providers that is rife with opportunity for the iPhone, if only Apple would seize it.

According to survey respondents, more than 40 percent of Sprint/Nextel and T-Mobile customers would seriously considering buying an iPhone were it available to them, as would just over a majority of Verizon customers. Unfortunately, despite strong demand for a Verizon iPhone, at least one analyst is now asserting that won’t happen until 2011.

Computerworld spoke with BroadPoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall concerning an evocative theory regarding the iPad, the iPhone, and AT&T. According to Marshall, “AT&T was able to negotiate a six-month extension on the iPhone exclusive.” This was accomplished as part of a deal whereby AT&T would offer data plans for the iPad at breakthrough pricing of $15 and $30 without any contract or commitment.

If that scenario sounds like a dubious conspiracy theory, it probably is. Marshall has previously asserted that AT&T’s exclusivity agreement would expire this June, and that it was a “certainty” that Verizon would be offering the iPad. Setting aside the rationalization of analysts, looking further into the ChangeWave Research survey makes it seem inconceivable that Apple would continue the exclusivity relationship with AT&T at any price.

Of those surveyed, AT&T customers reported the highest rate of dropped calls among the four carriers, three times that reported by customers with the best-rated provider, Verizon. Of course, AT&T disputes this data. From DailyTech, AT&T counters the ChangeWave Research survey is based upon respondent “recollection,” while “quantitative results” from research firm GWS put AT&T “within just two-tenths of a percent of the industry leader.” Even if you are Luke Wilson and accept AT&T’s explanations along with the company’s checks, there’s another problem with the iPhone being exclusive to AT&T.

The iPhone no longer generates “switchers” like it used to. Last year, the iPhone 3GS received, at best, a slight bump in bringing people to AT&T. Worse, it appears the Verizon Droid may be the new iPhone when it comes to luring customers to a different carrier. It will be interesting to see if the rumored iPhone HD can reverse that trend, but it seems unlikely, which means it’s time for Apple to switch, or at least add.

Verizon, with more than 90 million customers, more than AT&T, would mean at least an additional 10 million iPhones sold per year. Those sales would have a cascade effect on development, too. As more people bought more apps, the combination of sharply rising hardware and software sales could help turn back the surge of Android phones like the Droid.

A month from now the next iPhone will almost certainly be introduced at WWDC. Let’s hope we hear about a new U.S. carrier, too, otherwise it may be another year of listening to Apple executives talk about the “significant progress” AT&T has made with its network.

Related GigaOM Pro Research (sub req’d):

Why Apple Should Choose Sprint Before Verizon Wireless

  1. Amen. Apple needs to send the iPhone to Verizon.

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  2. Screw all these networks, each has their downfall –
    AT&T – poor customer service, many dropped calls, poor coverage(always worst when suppost to have best)
    Verizon – high price, great coverage, no dropped calls, ok customer service
    TMobile – good price, great customer service (yes esp for iphone), very few dropped calls, good coverage
    metropcs – great price, poor coverage, poor customer service

    Hey apple why not simply make the worlds universal phone? its simply hardware, and totally do-able just be apple like and MAKE IT WORK, anywhere, any network! Then buying iphone/ipad would be a no brainer – everyone would get it, use it wherever they are, everyone wins.

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    1. Setting aside the requirements of Visual Voicemail, it’s about money. Consumers in the U.S. are conditioned to purchase subsidized phones. It’s why the Droid sells and the Nexus One does not.

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    2. Justin Petersen Friday, May 7, 2010

      I’ve found ATT’s customer service to be far superior to Verizon’s. I did have much better coverage with Verizon though, especially in rural areas, but their 3G network wasn’t as fast as ATT’s (in Denver at least).

      My biggest gripe with Verizon was with their phone selection. They have always had a poor selection of phones, and got the best phones after ATT. The fact that the Droid is viewed as the best phone they have is a testament to this (They still don’t have the best Android phones yet).

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      1. What’s better than the Incredible and available now?

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  3. I’m an Apple guy. All I’ve had at home. I don’t have an Iphone. Why not? I’d rather chew glass than do business with AT&T. They have the worst customer service in the world. They run a business the way the Feds run government. Try to call someone. Love Mac’s. Love Apple. Will NEVER have an Iphone using AT&T.

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    1. Claps to you sir. I feel the same way. The best phone on the worst network = no iPhone for me.

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      1. 5stargeneral Friday, May 14, 2010

        i love this post…verizon needs iphone or the millions of people like us who love apple but HATE at&t will never purchase it

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    2. I use Verizon, I have excellent service…. I hope Apple lets Verizon be the next “world-carrier” of the Iphone line.

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  4. My 2 Cents Friday, May 7, 2010

    I have the opposite experience with AT&T and Verizon. I’ve had great customer service and coverage from AT&T and abysmal customer service from Verizon. Also, Verizon’s phones are (or were when I was with them) intentionally crippled so that you had to go through Verizon’s expensive and horrible systems to do things the phone was originally designed to do. I find that practice unconscionable and that alone, even if they’ve stopped, will keep me from ever going back to Verizon.

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  5. Shaun Richards Friday, May 7, 2010

    Hey,

    Sorry this is a bit off point but how do you make such amazing charts?

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  6. The charts appear to be made in Apple’s Keynote app (or possibly Numbers, but I’m pretty sure it’s Keynote).

    As for the Verizon vs. AT&T, they both have their downfalls. Verizon is obscenely priced, and the customer service sucks.

    That being said, I would love to see Apple add a SECOND carrier (not a replacement for AT&T), to create some price competition.

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    1. I agree, I don’t want to see AT&T get replaced, I just want to see another new carrier (VERIZON!!!)

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  7. Message from Dear Leader:

    Beg.
    Beg!
    You want my magic I want to hear you beg!

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  8. when my current contract expires, I’ll just have to get a droid. At least I’ll be able to decide want apps I want without censorship, so it won’t be all bad.

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    1. If you are buying a phone for the apps, the iPhone is way ahead of any of its competitors. You can talk about how they censor apps all you want, but Android doesn’t have most of the higher quality apps currently enjoyed on the iPhone. Viper’s Remote car Start App, Madden, Tiger Woods, Grand Theft Auto, and Call of Duty NZ, are just a few iPhone apps you won’t get on a Droid. You also have to consider that the Android apps have fewer features than their iPhone equivalents. For example, the Facebook app for Android has far fewer features than the iPhone version, and the Android version of MLB At Bat doesn’t allow for live video like the iPhone version does.

      Another consideration is that media companies will typically tailor to the iPhone crowd first. For example, the iPhone will be the first phone to offer Netflix instant streaming, Free ABC TV shows, and a Hulu app (which won’t work with Android, even after flash is finally released). And they already have sports content providers like the MLB, NBA, NCAA, and NFL streaming live video to the device.

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  9. Last year I might have thought about buying an iPhone IF it had been available for T-Mobile– since I have been a satisfied customer since 1997. However, I now own myTouch, and I find it does what I need it to do.

    And to think I responded on a survey ten years ago that all I was interested in with a phone was – a phone. The times, they are a’changing.

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  10. With over 130% iPhone sales growth Year on Year, Apple doesn’t need Verizon nor the expense of developing and supporting a CDMA iPhone especially when Verizon is rolling out its next generation LTE network as fast as possible.

    Last quarter, the iPhone brought around 900,000 new users to AT&T. This was more than twice as many net new postpaid customers as Droid and all the other phones brought to Verizon. AT&T’s churn rate for postpaid customers is now at Verizon’s level too.

    So for these, and more reasons discussed in my article http://lowendmac.com/nash/10tn/no-verizon-iphone.html customers won’t see the iPhone on Verizon before it can support the standard GSM iPhone like Telus in Canada (another CDMA network).

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  11. JobsTheSupremeLeader Saturday, May 8, 2010

    AT&T have good customer service?? What?? Yeah, when pigs fly! AT&T whether it be land lines, cellular, etc., has the worst customer service of probably any company in the world. If there are two things that AT&T is known for is horrible customer service and dropped calls. Nothing much more to say there. Had the iPhone went to Verizon instead of AT&T, I’m willing to bet those fools (AT&T) would not be in the #2 spot. The iPhone is the only reason they are going anywhere.

    The longer Apple keeps their exclusive with AT&T, the more it is going to hurt them. The Droid Incredible (Verizon) and the HTC EVO (Sprint) are two phones that will no longer play second fiddle to the iPhone. As these devices become entrenched, the more traction, developers and polish they are going to get. The predictions of Android overtaking Apple in late 2011 – 2012 might not be so far fetched. While Android devices are innovating, the iPhone is playing catch up now. And I think the Apple loyal are starting to figure out Jobs’ incremental hardware upgrades that should have been in the last model but are just enough to make you want to buy the next. Nothing ground breaking. Nothing revolutionary. Just enough to string you for another $200 + crappy AT&T contract.

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  12. some of the 4,000 respondents to this survey likes to have the iPhone on Verizon, while a million, and more and more, are signing up for Verizon to get Android Droids; the Droid Incredible selling out in its launch. These, some of iPhone lovers out of the 4,000, are irrelevant. As a Verizon customer, I would rather have Verizon offer another awesome Android device rather than the tired, weak iPhone.

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  13. Well there goes my reason for not upgrading my phone. In my part of the country, Verizon is the only carrier with good reception when outside cities or off of the Interstate. This seems like the old bait and switch tactic. Entice you with one thing and then sell you the other one.

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  14. Im suprised Apple hasn’t tried to buy one of the smaller mobile carriers and get into the phone business. Apple Apple everywhere

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  15. AT&T sucks – period!

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  16. I dont really see the point in making contracts with iphone. I reckon the iphone should be like other phones for example here in new zealand we have 021 and 027 when you buy an iphone shouldnt be able to replace an old phone, it should be a completely new phone. I get the whole activating part but being underage and signing all these contracts are pretty confusing if you ask me. I reckon apple should of made the right choice and AT&T are just making iphone users hate apple. They should either switch to a more simple contract that can be used for all ages, they should sell iphones without a contract or they might aswell not sell the iphone at all f theyre gonna make their customers angry.

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  17. All this fuss about the iPhone is ridiculous. Apple should make an iPhone available to all networks. I really want an iPhone, but not if it means switching to AT&T. I have T-Mobile, and I like it, and I don’t want to change. They have good coverage, amazing customer service, and my bill is $20 less a month than my friends AT&T bill, or $35 less than my brother’s Verizon bill. I would much rather use my 3rd Gen. 64 GB iPod Touch, and my Samsung Behold II, than I would switch to AT&T. If Apple were to make a universal phone availble to all networks, everyone would be happier and they would make a lot more money.

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  18. It is so true that the benefits from allowing Verizon the iPhone would surmount any of those proposed from AT&T. AT&T is simply trying to keep head above water right now. I, for one, would definitely buy and iPhone if offered through Verizon. I refuse, point blank, to switch to a company whose only perk among companies is a single phone. But this is Apple’s last chance with me. Either Verizon gets it this year or I will give up on it entirely. I will not buy from a company like Apple if they hold to exclusiveness and self-centered lack of adaption. They’re gonna end up killing themselves if they keep saying “it’s our way or the high way.” Most people will end up picking the “highway.”

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  19. Now that VZW has the HTC Droid Incredible, which will do more things than the iPhone and already has 35,000 applications, 90% of which are free, VZW really doesn’t need the iPhone anymore. The truth is, that over the long haul Apple needs VZW more than VZW needs Apple. As things stand, Apple ended up screwing themselves.

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  20. It’s funny in this article it says exactly what everyone was thinking “I’d get an iPhone if it weren’t on AT&T”

    Verizon’s only issue is their plans are too expensive and they don’t have some kind of rollover for your unused data/minutes.

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  21. If the iPhone goes to another carrier, I leave AT&T. Add that to your study.

    iPhone = best phone ever

    AT&T= worst carrier ever

    Who makes you pay for turn by turn GPS when everyone else gives it to you for free? I mean seriously…

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  22. I’m waiting until Christmas 2010… if there’s no iPhone on VZN, I’m looking for an iPhone alternative.

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  23. Who on here has used a Droid?
    I have for years been of the opinion that I would buy the iPhone as soon as it switched to Verizon. My 2-year contract with verizon ended in January of this year and I thought about switching. Well, I got suckered into the Droid trap. Granted, I bought the Droid Eris not the Motorola. It is easily the worst phone Ive ever used. It does everything, just not well at all. Its glitchy, slow, unresponsive, and then performs 15 tasks in a second and I end up calling random people on accident. Droid Doesn’t. To me it is exactly the difference in a PC and a Mac. One works…guess which. I’m spoiled by my ipod touch and all my friends have iphones. I know they work. It just sucks and Im about to drop $250 to cancel verizon….only if they would just pick up the iphone already. Im tired of rumors.

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  24. Does it matter? Theres already a shitload of iphone users. theres other phones out there that wanna be used to, give em a shot

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  25. I get a FREE (to me) ATT telephone (work pays for it).

    I still will not get a iPhone on ATT (2 yr commitment.

    Based on my coverage/service with ATT, I’ll wait for the iPhone on Verison. If ATT and Apple are exclusive forever – I’ll never have an iPhone. In 6 months or so, I’ll be looking for version “smart phone” device instead of an iPhone if they are not available.

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  26. this is ridiculous…release the Verizon IPhone already, money talks and what other proof does Apple need?

    I love Apple to death – alway’s have and alway’s will – Release it for VERIZON and I am there – I am still waiting. More cash for you APPLE, go for it! I will never buy that phone on AT&T.

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  27. I switched to at&t to get the iphone 2 years ago. I will not stay with at&t just because of the new iPhone. If Apple is stupid enough to not open the market, driod it is.

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  28. Why is Apple waiting? Look how many more customers are out there. If you have potentially 10 million customers saying they want to buy your product WTF? are you waiting for. I bet you that number is more like 25 million. Verizon and Apple need to figure out a way to make this work, for business sake. $$$$$$ in the bank.

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  29. I use my G1 as the sole internet provider for me and my room mate. Its handy and no matter what my internet charges are a flat $30 rate.

    For all of you who think ATT is doing a good thing (essentially you iPhone users) read this article :

    http://getyourgadgetsgoing.com/2010/06/03/how-att-will-empty-your-pocket/

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  30. Guess what it is totally legal 2 jail break your iphone so you can use any carrier I would sugest that u go buy it from the apple store and go to one of your carriers to turn it on but their is one downfall you have no warranty so if you break it you have to buy a new one fyi

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  31. I see so many posts about Verizon being high priced and I don’t understand it. I was an AT&T customer, I had an iphone, and the phone was great, service was complete crap. Then, out of nowhere, a glitch popped up on my phone and AT&T would do nothing for me, so I immediately split with them and switched to Verizon and the Moto Droid. My service is absolutely fantastic (I work in a hospital, couldn’t get any signal on my iPhone in any area of the hospital and I get full signal everywhere with the Droid), and I have the exact same plan and pay less with Verizon than I did with AT&T. Plus, when I switched, I did so at Wal-Mart because they sell phones and plans from both carriers. One of the local Verizon reps happened to be there and she was absolutely wonderful. She helped me get set up, helped me transfer all of my contacts to a gmail account so I didn’t have to put them in individually, and then waived my activation fee as well. Also, yes, the iPhone does have more apps than the Droid, but many of the same apps I payed for on the iPhone have been free on my Droid. I would never dream of taking my business anywhere other than Verizon.

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  32. I agree

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