AT&T has become a giant liability for the iPhone. While in other markets around the globe (e.g., the UK) multiple carriers offer the handset, in the US it’s still only AT&T. And despite the speculation and hope for a Verizon iPhone it’s quite likely that AT&T will remain the exclusive US carrier for at least the duration of 2010. I hope I’m proven wrong.
AT&T’s network and reputation have taken a big hit from iPhone users struggling to “get on” and who experience dropped calls — although it was just rated “fastest” by PC Magazine:
But PC Magazine also found AT&T’s network to be the “least consistent” of those it tested. Interestingly, AT&T’s 3G network was as fast as Sprint’s 4G network.
Speaking of Sprint, I remain a Sprint customer despite my desire for the iPhone because I won’t switch to AT&T. I got the EVO at the Google I/O event and intend to use it as my personal phone.
I’m an AT&T DSL customer at home and what a disaster that has been: inconsistent connection, slow speeds and poor customer service. (We all now know about the recent, ham-handed “cease & desist” episode re AT&T wireless.)
When my DSL went out earlier this week I switched to the EVO hotspot and was able to restore the various devices in our house for the several hours that DSL was down. That’s a great feature of the device.
As much as I like the EVO I would replace it with the forthcoming iPhone in a heartbeat if it didn’t mean I had to switch carriers to AT&T.
AT&T has rewarded its iPhone data users, as you know, with a complex, new usage-based rate plan. While financial analysts and the “industry” applauded the move to tiered pricing, it’s actually the opposite of what consumers want. Verizon may follow but Sprint and T-Mobile are holding the line for now.
So beyond the inconsistent service, the complex and opaque new pricing scheme will further “punish” iPhone users.
Cumulatively all these factors make AT&T a growing liability for the iPhone and limit its further penetration in the smartphone market. Apple, at least in its public statements, seems blind to this.