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View Full Version : AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and the iPhone...My Thoughts

Jeff Campbell
07-24-2010, 02:30 PM
<p><em>"Rumors of the iPhone jumping to a US provider outside of AT&amp;T continue to swirl as Apple's exclusivity contract with AT&amp;T looks to expire this year. First it was iPhone + Verizon and now it's iPhone + T-Mobile."</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1279904986.usr105634.jpg" /></p><p>I'm sure by now you have seen numerous reports about T-Mobile possibly getting the iPhone. For months it was that the iPhone was sure to be on the Verizon network (<a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/200117/verizon_iphone_in_january_wait_a_minute.html" target="_blank">PC World has a timeline</a> in case you are interested), and now it is the T-Mobile rumor that is getting legs, as the mentions of an impending iPhone release on their network keep popping up. Adding to this is a <a href="http://www.lanewsmonitor.com/blog/verizon-iphone-to-come-after-t-mobile-iphone-expected-by-september-1279928151/" target="_blank">recent one</a> that Verizon will get it but after T-Mobile, as well as one that says the elusive <a href="http://www.beatweek.com/news/6805-white-iphone-4-secretly-verizon-iphone-theories-reignited-by-new-delay/" target="_blank">white iPhone 4</a> will actually be a Verizon iPhone. What to believe? Could there be an additional network from which to choose for your iPhone service? &nbsp;AT&amp;T, and Apple for that matter, took a risk and it paid off big with the iPhone. With that risk, AT&amp;T also got something from Apple, namely exclusivity. With the upgrades in the iPhone year to year, and the addition of the iPad in the mix of products, you can see from their <a href="http://erictric.com/2010/07/22/att-announces-q2-2010-financial-earnings/" target="_blank">financials</a> that the partnership with Apple is paying off handsomely. I guess it goes back to that old risk versus reward saying. But how is it doing for the customers that, according to Steve Jobs, are so important to Apple? Well here is my two-cents on the topic, and the rumor about T-Mobile.</p><p><MORE /></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/lpt/auto/1279911450.usr105634.jpg" style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-left: 175px; margin-right: 175px;" /></p><p><em>Figure 1: AT&amp;T has made a lot of money with their association with Apple.</em></p><p>Here is how big the iPhone is for AT&amp;T: 3.2 million. That is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/07/22/att_activates_record_3_2_million_iphones_with_27_new_accounts.html" target="_blank">number of activations</a>&nbsp;in just the last quarter for iPhones on the AT&amp;T network, and 27% of that number were new subscribers. To put that in perspective, it is about 10 times the number of 3GS activations that were done the year before. This helped them earn $30.8 billion USD in revenue, which translated to $0.61 USD per share earning. I don't care who you are, that is success for AT&amp;T and for Apple with the iPhone 4. But with that success, I, as a customer of Apple and by default AT&amp;T, have been presented with some troubling issues. These haven't been with the coverage or the speed of the network. For the most part, that aspect has been pretty good for me. What troubled me were the changes in the AT&amp;T plans just before the iPhone 4 was announced, one of which was doing away with the unlimited plans. This on it's own isn't so bad, since I'm already on that plan and intend to keep it. What I didn't like was the part about not getting tethering UNLESS I switched from that plan to one of the newer capped plans, namely the 2GB plan. With AT&amp;T the only game in town for the iPhone, it means if I keep my unlimited plan I don't get to take advantage of a feature I really want. And not only does the tethering tied to limited plans bother me, but the $20.00 USD surcharge just to be able to use it, without adding any more data to my plan, really chaps my, well, let's leave it at it bothers me.&nbsp;I know why they did it, but that doesn't have to mean I like it. But as it is now, I have to take it since I have no other choice if I want to keep my iPhone (unless I jailbreak it of course but I'm speaking as a regular consumer that doesn't want to, or can't, alter the phone). It was in learning about these changes that I really wished there was some competition for AT&amp;T when it comes to the iPhone. And then the T-Mobile rumors started again, but this time I paid more attention.</p><p>T-Mobile would be a winner for the iPhone customer for a few reasons, but most importantly it would give them a &nbsp;choice. I think I'm pretty lucky with coverage with AT&amp;T, but in checking with T-Mobile, they also have pretty good coverage in the areas I frequent. This means I will have a choice for my network. Choice then leads to another benefit, &nbsp;for those that switch and those that remain since if enough customers make the switch, it means that the AT&amp;T network will not be as burdened as it is by so many subscribers. And with all the complaints about AT&amp;T, I can't imagine a substantial number won't make the switch to T-Mobile. Let's face it, AT&amp;T hasn't done anything to endear itself to it's customers in recent memory, especially when it comes to their recent plan changes.</p><p>Competition usually benefits the consumers that are given choice. If I don't like the higher priced data plan with it's restrictions, I can always make the move to T-Mobile and get on their unlimited family plan. Even with adding 3 additional lines, I'm money ahead. Do I know how they would handle tethering? No. Do I know if they will change their unlimited plan if they get the iPhone? No. But what I do know is that competition usually benefits the customer, and it makes sense that to get customers, T-Mobile may have to offer something different than AT&amp;T, such as a less restrictive plan for the iPhone.</p><p><PAGE /></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/adt/auto/1279916705.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 2: Just how good is T-Mobile Data?</em></p><p>I make no claims about my knowledge of their data service since I've never been on T-Mobile, but you can check out the <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2364263,00.asp" target="_blank">chart PC Mag did</a>&nbsp;(a general chart covering the averages in the US is in Figure 2 above) to give you a better idea on how it fares in different areas across the US. Recent news reports, regarding T-Mobile <a href="http://www.techalps.com/android/t-mobile-launches-hspa-for-85-million-subscribers-100-million-more-before-year&rsquo;s-end.html" target="_blank">network upgrades</a>&nbsp;for high speed users, show that they are expanding theirs at a rapid clip, expecting to cover over 185 million of their subscribers on the HSPA+ network by year's end. Will the iPhone work or be made to work on this faster network? I don't think they would get many switchers if it didn't. But as it stands now, even though you can run an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile, it <a href="http://forums.t-mobile.com/t5/Non-T-Mobile-Phones/iPhone-Questions-Answered/m-p/119536" target="_blank">won't work on the 3G</a>&nbsp;due to the band (1700 MHz) T-Mobile uses. So for the iPhone to work, they would have to fix this, and it's possible the iPhone is already capable but the specs just haven't been revealed. Yes, I know I'm reaching, but the possibility is there.</p><p>And lastly, this would obviously be a huge benefit to Apple if they could expand the availability to T-Mobile users. That being said, do I think it is going to happen? Based on all I've read, I'm putting more stock into this rumor than I am the "Verizon getting the iPhone" rumor for the simple logistics of T-Mobile being a GSM network. Seems rational and logical that if any company were going to get the iPhone, it would be T-Mobile. A report from <a href="http://www.cultofmac.com/iphone-is-coming-to-t-mobile-usa-in-q3-exclusive/39870" target="_blank">Cult of Mac</a> says they are 80% sure of the move to add T-Mobile. So will it happen? I guess we shall wait and see, but I'm certainly hopeful. What are your thoughts? Would you switch if you could take your business to T-Mobile? Would you buy an iPhone if they did make it to T-Mobile and you currently have a different phone?</p><p><em>Jeff Campbell is a fan of all things Apple, an X-boxer (the 360 kind) and geek. He works as a floor supervisor in a 911 center in the Portland, OR area, and lives in a small town just north of Mt. Hood with his wife, two kids, two dogs, a snake and a tarantula. Oh, and a three legged cat named "Tres."</em><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//ppct/auto/1240336793.usr1.gif" /></p><p><strong>Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the <a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/reviewteam.php" target="_blank">Thoughts Media Review Team</a>! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested? <a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/reviewteam.php" target="_blank">Then click here for more information.</a></strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

07-25-2010, 05:14 AM
All this speculation about where the iPhone will show up next assuming the exclusivity with AT&T will be coming to an end. When it happens, trust me, Steve Jobs will announce it. Forget rumors, and statements from carriers execs. Steve will announce it when it happens...count on it!

I used to have T-Mobile as my carrier before I received and iPhone as a gift. I would have no problems switching back if they offered plans for it and it worked with the 3G network. There is no love for AT&T at all.