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With iPhone, everybody wins: Verizon, AT&T and Apple

matt | April 21, 2011
iPhone sales at both AT&T and Verizon Wireless were healthy enough in the first quarter of 2011 to raise this question: Does the iPhone matter more than the network it runs over?

Kate Price, an analyst at TBR, said that AT&T had record sales of 5.5 million smartphones in the first quarter, including the 3.6 million iPhones, which "demonstrate[s] that the company successfully retained many current subscribers and prompted them to sign new contracts by upgrading them to new devices."

With Verizon's sales of 2.2 million iPhones in less than two months would put it on pace to sell 13.2 million in a year, or about 11 million in all of 2011-- exactly what Verizon had predicted before its iPhone sales began.

Verizon's ability to lure AT&T iPhone customers is thrown into question by this week's first quarter results. Many customers had attacked AT&T network performance for the iPhone in its first three years in the U.S., especially in New York and San Francisco, which led some to predict a wholesale departure of AT&T iPhone customers to Verizon. Some analysts had even predicted half or more of the 11 million new Verizon iPhone customers in 2011 would leave AT&T.

While some iPhone customers may be dumping AT&T for Verizon, there also seem to be plenty of customers without an iPhone willing to join either network just to get the device. That's a scenario where Verizon, AT&T and Apple all win -- thanks to the popularity of the iPhone.


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