AT&T still besting Verizon in iPhone activations

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If Verizon thought it could swoop in and take AT&T’s iPhone market share overnight, it thought wrong.

For the second quarter in a row, AT&T has reported activating 3.6 million iPhones, roughly 56 percent greater than the 2.3 million iPhones activated by Verizon in the same quarter. Of course, AT&T has a natural advantage over its rival because it sells multiple versions of the iPhone, including the iPhone 3GS, while Verizon subscribers can only purchase the iPhone 4. A straight apples-to-apples comparison will be easier to do later this year when Apple’s newest edition of the iPhone launches simultaneously on both the Verizon and AT&T networks.

Even when these advantages are taken into account, AT&T’s strong iPhone numbers over the past two quarters have plainly put to rest any thoughts that the company would face a mass exodus of iPhone users once rival Verizon began carrying the device. A survey conducted by ChangeWave Research earlier this year showed that 26 percent of AT&T iPhone users said they planned to leave AT&T for Verizon once Verizon began offering the iPhone. ChangeWave also found this month that 46 percent of users who plan to buy an iPhone in the future plan to go with Verizon while 27 percent of users plan to go with AT&T.

However, that same survey also found that customer satisfaction ratings for the iPhone on AT&T and Verizon were virtually identical, meaning that Verizon's network had not given iPhone users a significantly better experience than AT&T’s network. ChangeWave’s report on the survey also noted that “it remains to be seen how well the Verizon network performs as the number of Verizon iPhone 4 owners ramps up and inevitably puts more pressure on their system.”

AT&T had been the exclusive carrier of the iPhone from 2007 until early this year when Apple announced that Verizon would soon be selling the device. There have also been rumors that the next generation of the iPhone will run on both Sprint and T-Mobile as well as the big two wireless carriers.

This story, "AT&T still besting Verizon in iPhone activations" was originally published by Network World.

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