Friday, November 06, 2009

Is the iPhone hurting AT&T's brand .... Or Vice Versa?

Interesting question .....

There's a recent article on CNN's Tech site discussing this "issue". It's based mostly on the following statement(s):

"The Apple iPhone has boosted AT&T's subscriber numbers, but network problems and a bevy of complaints from frustrated customers are likely hurting the company's reputation.

While a recent survey by the consulting firm CFI Group found that iPhone users are the most loyal smartphone users, with 90 percent saying they'd recommend the device to a friend, half of all iPhone owners surveyed said they would like to jump ship to another provider if given the chance."

The rest of the article is here: iPhone and AT&T

I think the question ought to be "Is AT&T hurting the iPhone brand?".

AT&T has an unreliable network with spotty coverage. The iPhone is propping that up with a popular brand but the simple fact is that it has poor coverage. AT&T is acceptable in urban areas but really falls apart when you are outside of town.

AT&T is behind the times and the iPhone just exposes where they fall short. Their billing increments are not as aggressive as other carriers. I think when the iPhone deal is over and all of the carriers have it, AT&T will have to finally get out of the stone age and compete. AT&T is kind of like Microsoft, they have too many hands in too many cookie jars and they do nothing exceptionally well because of it.

I think it's also a perception of Grass is greener on the other side.. since no other carrier has IPhone, no one knows how good that carrier would've been. Its all speculation that Verizon or Sprint or T-Mobile would be better... In reality there are coverage issues with all carriers... it is just that IPhone is making users see the problems that they probably wouldn't have seen with any other device.

IPhone requires lots of bandwidth and again a speculation but if other carriers get IPhone, users will feel the same pain....

AT&T was on a downward spiral anyway .... and I believe it was iPhone that saved AT&T from going down the drain.

AT&T gives pathetic coverage, useless service, and service charges are not reasonable either. It was loosing its market share to T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint ..... and not to forget that new players like Virgin Mobile and US Cellular also dented AT&T's customer base. It was the hype associated with iPhone that changed the world for AT&T.

I don't remember the exact stats, but I remember reading that more than 50% of iPhone customer were changing networks (i.e. were using non-AT&T service before buying iPhone). That helped AT&T more than anyone else. ..... as far as image & market value is concerned.

Also worth noticing is the fact that iPhone happens to be the ONLY phone under the AT&T umbrella that doesn't have AT&T written on it. Seems there was a big time tussle between the 2 companies regarding this .... where finally AT&T agreed to Apple's demand, as it was in best interest of AT&T to not let go iPhone.

So long story cut short .... iPhone did NOT hurt the AT&T image any further. Basically AT&T doesnt have what it takes to be the largest service provider in N.America .... and it needs to decide upon a recovery plan sooner than later.

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