Print 29 comment(s) - last by lightfoot.. on Jul 28 at 3:55 PM

AT&T CEO says end of partnership is inevitable

No one can deny the business sense that AT&T used when it locked up the iPhone from Apple as an exclusive back in 2007 when the phone first debuted. The iPhone has helped AT&T grow significantly since it debuted.

According to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, the partnership with Apple will inevitably end and ultimately the only differentiator between the wireless providers in America will be network quality. The exclusive agreement between Apple and AT&T is believed to end next year.

In Europe, O2 is facing the same problem as AT&T with its exclusive period ending. Apple is allowing O2 to keep the exclusive on the iPhone 3GS in the UK while opening the iPhone 3G up to other carriers. Reuters reports that AT&T added 1.4 million new subscribers in the second quarter and had more than 2.4 million iPhone activation during the quarter.

The prospect of losing the exclusive on the iPhone has to raise eyebrows at AT&T and with Wall Street. Research firm Pali Research issued a sell advisement on AT&T stock in June because it was believed to be losing its iPhone exclusive. At the same time, the research firm issued a buy order on Verizon, believed to be picking the iPhone up on its network.

Pali Research wrote in a report, "Our buy rating on Verizon is based on our view that its market share gains will lead to profit growth that tops other telecom companies and Wall Street consensus estimates. Our sell rating on AT&T is based primarily on our belief that its wireless business will enter a prolonged period of erosion after being propped up by the iPhone for the past two years."

AT&T has long been buoyed by the iPhone, but at the same time, many iPhone users are very critical of AT&T's 3G network. Stephenson admits that there are issues with AT&T's 3G network, but points out that most of the issues are centers on high call volumes and areas where the iPhone is most concentrated.

Apple continues to do fantastically well in the smartphone market with the iPhone and owns a full 91% of the over $1,000 PC market.

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By cblais19 on 7/27/2009 12:44:39 PM , Rating: 2
"AT&T added 1.2 million new subscribers in the second quarter and out of those subscribers about 1.2 million of them signed up for the iPhone"

Is there an issue with the quantities in this sentence or were all new contracts associated with an iPhone?

RE: Numbers?
By AEvangel on 7/27/2009 12:48:05 PM , Rating: 3
Shaun is probably off on his numbers like most Mac nuts he just wants to push the crazy not the truth.

RE: Numbers?
By cblais19 on 7/27/2009 1:04:01 PM , Rating: 2
Actual numbers seem to be ~1.4 million new subscribers, 2.4 million iPhones sold, of which around a third were to new subscribers.

RE: Numbers?
By Boze on 7/27/2009 1:36:21 PM , Rating: 5
What's going on with the ridiculous reversals on DailyTech around here? Back in the day, Jason Mick used to be the Apple fanatic... somewhere along the line, he switched sides, Pirks came along and took his place and went to the next level with it, and now Shaun is becoming old Jason... this is like a comic book.

At any rate, if AT&T had lost exclusivity of the iPhone about a year go, I might have switched from T-Mobile to AT&T, but now that my T-Mobile Wing is showing its age and the Palm Pre is out and looking [b]amazing[/b], I'll probably go with Sprint. $99.99 for unlimited everything with a pretty nifty phone is hard to beat, and frankly, with phones like the HTC Hero coming out, the Palm Pre already here, and other iPhone wannabes coming around the corner, its hard to see the iPhone allure these days.

RE: Numbers?
By Brandon Hill on 7/27/2009 1:43:28 PM , Rating: 5
I think you're just projecting a bit. As far as I know, Jason doesn't even use a Apple system (or have an iPhone) -- he uses Windows and Linux on a daily basis.

Shane is a Windows users as far as I know.

I personally have been a strictly Windows guy for the past 15 years, however, I just bought a 13" MacBook Pro from Amazon. So I'm sure that everyone will start calling me an Apple fanboy now even though I'll be dual booting with Windows 7...

RE: Numbers?
By invidious on 7/27/2009 2:10:33 PM , Rating: 5
Writing fan service blogs advancing Apple's corporate line does not require one to write said blog on an Apple computer nor own an iPhone.

RE: Numbers?
By DanoruX on 7/27/2009 4:48:09 PM , Rating: 4
Brandon Hill is a god damn spah!

RE: Numbers?
By Sazar on 7/27/2009 5:19:10 PM , Rating: 2
As long as he doesn't sap the sentry, s'all good :D

On topic, I am really hoping this comes to pass because competition == lower prices (hopefully) == better options for consumers. And I am sure other carriers will NOT charge $9.99 per month for navigation services.

RE: Numbers?
By ggordonliddy on 7/27/2009 7:58:19 PM , Rating: 5
I just bought a 13" MacBook Pro

A fool and his money are soon parted.

RE: Numbers?
By Tegeril on 7/27/2009 10:41:42 PM , Rating: 3
^-- Epic double post that effectively erased any wit that may have been present.

RE: Numbers?
By Brandon Hill on 7/28/2009 8:01:04 AM , Rating: 2
Well, considering that I got the MacBook Pro plus I got an 8GB iPod touch for free instantly from Amazon (no tax, free shipping, no rebates), I consider it money well spent.

But keep on hatin' if it makes life easier for you :-)

RE: Numbers?
By ancient46 on 7/28/2009 10:00:27 AM , Rating: 2
Just don't pocket the iPod Touch and you should be OK. Oh, and only use it in the shade.

RE: Numbers?
By ggordonliddy on 7/27/2009 7:58:19 PM , Rating: 1
I just bought a 13" MacBook Pro

A fool and his money are soon parted.

RE: Numbers?
By invidious on 7/27/2009 2:09:21 PM , Rating: 3
and [apple] owns a full 91% of the over $1,000 PC market.

Yeah he just has to add in meaningless pro Apple statistics like this. This statement has nothing to do with the article, and that is to say nothing as to the questionable merits of the statistic itself.

RE: Numbers?
By FastangLX on 7/27/2009 3:52:10 PM , Rating: 3
I was thinking the same thing. Totally changed my perception of the article with that one single line that should not have been in there. What does the "full 91% of the over $1000 PC market" have to do with the iPhone or AT&T?

RE: Numbers?
By johnsonx on 7/27/2009 11:47:47 PM , Rating: 2
very mick-esque, wasn't it?

RE: Numbers?
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/27/2009 12:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
Even if you play with the numbers by saying 1.249m new subscribers and 1.150 iPhones you still come up with a number that only 1 in 13 new subscribers got something other than an iPhone. That seems unlikely as I'd say at least a 1/4 of the people would just want something that's "free".

RE: Numbers?
By lightfoot on 7/28/2009 3:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
But you can get "free" elsewhere.

This strongly indicates that the only reason people are going to AT&T at all is because of the iPhone.

RE: Numbers?
By Brandon Hill on 7/27/2009 1:03:30 PM , Rating: 3
That info is directly from the source article. I will see if I can dig a bit deeper.

RE: Numbers?
By Brandon Hill on 7/27/2009 1:10:15 PM , Rating: 2
Sentence has been made clearer using figures from AT&T's press release:

RE: Numbers?
By MPE on 7/27/2009 1:27:08 PM , Rating: 1
Reuters reports that AT&T added 1.4 million new subscribers in the second quarter and out of those subscribers about had more than 2.4 million iPhone activation during the quarter.

Now it is grammatically incoherent. Please fix. Thank you.

AT&T Network just Plain Sucks
By zerocool84 on 7/27/2009 4:14:05 PM , Rating: 3
I don't understand how a lot of you with iPhones can put up with a horrible network and horrible prices. AT&T is expensive and has subpar reliability on it's 3G network and everyone knows it but it seems like everyone just puts up with it cus they like the iPhone so much. I would never go to AT&T. Reliability is much more important to me than having a cool phone. I'm in a medium sized metropolitan are, you may know it as Los Angeles and AT&T sucks. Even though Verizon is just as expensive at least their network isn't crap.

By captainBOB on 7/27/2009 9:30:35 PM , Rating: 2
As an iPhone owner I can relate to the bs that AT&T pulls. The signal in some places is sub-par (live near Houston metro area. the little coverage map was very wrong). 3G is mostly 3 bars until you get on the highway (full bars).

What pisses me (and others who have an iPhone) off is AT&T's craptacular response, MMS, something every other iPhone user around the world is enjoying right now and we can't use it. Then the whole mess with voicemail which they tried to cover up. Then if you need help they give you the runaround and misinformation.

Its not just a network problem, its a customer service problem as well, AT&T knows it is nothing without the iPhone but they don't seem to want to try to make amends. Nothing will change just by getting an iPhone from Verizon, if anything, it'll just expose the cracks in the foundation just like it did for AT&T.

Why do deal I with this? Because when its all said and done, I have been able to do more with this phone than I could with most other phones.

What time next year?
By 9nails on 7/27/2009 3:11:14 PM , Rating: 2
Can someone do a little digging and see what time next year that will be? (1Q, 2Q, ??) If Verizon gets an iPhone in January, then I'd be interested in become a customer of theirs. AT&T hasn't made any great strides to make their customers happy, vet I've been throwing cash at them each month. MY current contracts with AT&T expire in December this year. This all sounds like a perfect opportunity for me to switch!

RE: What time next year?
By tmouse on 7/28/2009 7:53:55 AM , Rating: 2
I kind of doubt they will go exclusive with anyone, they needed it at the start but now that there are several networks that can support iphone services I do not see any advantage for Apple to pick only one service provider.

AT&T better do something quick
By 3minence on 7/27/2009 4:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
If I'm reading the article right, a lot of AT&T's recent success is tied to the iPhone. I can believe it. It's service sure isn't make it any friends (at least not where I am). My phone routinely claims 2-3 bars until I hit the dial button, then the bars disappear and the call fails to go through. My coworkers with AT&T claim similar experiences. More bars in more places, until you hit the dial button.

I like Verizon's proposal of six months exclusivity, then let anyone offer it. Seems like a reasonable compromise. In this case I don't think the exclusive deal helped apple in the least. It still took 2 years before anyone came out with a real competitor to the iphone. Apple would have made a killing no matter which mobile provider sold it. In fact, I would argue it would have made more money selling both a gsm and a cdma version.

By Fallen Kell on 7/27/2009 6:43:45 PM , Rating: 2
I like Verizon's proposal of six months exclusivity, then let anyone offer it. Seems like a reasonable compromise.

Too bad you read and bought the Verizon PR line and didn't read the small print. The small print was that the "anyone" is defined to be "any wireless phone network with less than 500,000 total customers". So, too bad for T-Mobile, AT&T, or Sprint. Even small guys like Cellular South would not even be able to offer an iPhone if Verizon got it exclusively.

No, what Verizon is offering is still pretty much full exclusivity. The only people they wouldn't mind offering it to are companies they are not competing against in any sense of the word.

My Condolences....
By maverick85wd on 7/27/2009 4:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
ultimately the only differentiator between the wireless providers in America will be network quality.

... go out to AT&T at this time of loss.

I would buy an iPhone if...
By skipulrich on 7/28/2009 8:55:51 AM , Rating: 2
I would buy a new iPhone today to replace my aging first generation Motorola Q except that you need to buy the internet package along with with the iPhone. I really only need the scheduler/PDA and a decent phone. I love the many software apps available for the iPhone and I could access the internet via Wi-Fi most of the time. I would even pay extra for the iPhone up front if I didn't need to spend the extra 40 bucks a month for an internet package on top of the phone service.

I think At&t is missing out on a big market segment. If a new carrier picks up the iPhone, I hope they consider this.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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