26% of iPhone users plan Verizon jump

A recent consumer survey indicates more bad news for AT&T.

By InvestorPlace Jan 13, 2011 11:38AM
Credit: (© Manu Fernandez/AP)
Caption: iPhone 3GSNow that the Apple (AAPL)iPhone is coming to Verizon (VZ) next month, the brain teaser for investors is how to gauge what it will mean for the two companies and for formerly exclusive iPhone provider AT&T (T).


In short, how many subscribers to Verizon's wireless service will dump their current phones to snap up new iPhones, and how many of AT&T's iPhone users will jump ship for a telecom provider whose only disadvantage to AT&T once seemed to be that it didn't sell an iPhone?


Thanks to a recent survey by ChangeWave Research, we have an indication, at least, of consumers' initial intentions.

In a poll of more than 4,000 people over the second half of December, 16% of AT&T subscribers said they planned to switch to Verizon if and when that company offered the iPhone. Sixty percent of AT&T customers said they wouldn't switch, and 23% didn't know.

Post continues after video:

Keep in mind, however, that these are all AT&T customers, regardless of whether they owned the iPhone. ChangeWave found that current Apple iPhone owners were the most likely group to jump to Verizon, with more than a quarter (26%) saying they'd leave AT&T.


And when will they make the move? For many, very soon. Among all AT&T customers planning to switch to Verizon, two in five (41%) say they'll jump in the first three months -- and an additional 31% in the first year.

The reasons AT&T customers plan to make such a move are less surprising, and ChangeWave's research has confirmed what have been the common complaints by consumers -- in effect, that AT&T's wireless service is simply less reliable than Verizon's. When asked why they planned to switch, 42% of AT&T customers cited poor reception and coverage, while 27% pointed to dropped calls.


The irony of the dropped-call mention is that, according to ChangeWave, AT&T customers have actually reported a decline in dropped calls since September, falling to 4.7% from 6%.

But brand loyalty, or lack thereof, can be a harder thing to budge. The survey found that AT&T led the pack among all wireless customers who planned to switch for any reason -- 15% of AT&T subscribers said they were likely to jump within the next 90 days, compared with just 4% for Verizon.


Interestingly, that result for AT&T was a large jump from September, when only 10% of its customers planned on making a move. However, what seems more likely to have happened -- a sudden increase in dissatisfaction or the realization over the past month that Verizon was readying a place for which AT&T's iPhone users to move?

Taken as a whole, ChangeWave's survey suggests a bigger hit to AT&T from the iPhone's move to Verizon than even the most dour Wall Street analysts have suggested. Analysts at equity research firm Hudson Square, for example, were among the more pessimistic, noting on Tuesday that they expected 4 million AT&T iPhone users to make the move to Verizon, or 17% of its iPhone customer base.


Considering that ChangeWave found that more than one-quarter of iPhone owners were definitely planning to jump, the numbers could be even worse for AT&T.

The other kernel in all of this, of course, is how phones running on the Android platform -- up to now a key part of Verizon's strategy vs. AT&T and the iPhone -- will fare now that Verizon will put its marketing muscle behind its partnership with Apple.

Go here full details on the ChangeWave iPhone survey.

Jan 13, 2011 2:33PM
I have both and i Phone (work) and a Droid (personal)  I greatly prefer my Droid over my iPhone.
Jan 13, 2011 4:08PM

I'm sure the people responding to this survey either did not know or weren't thinking of the following:

The ~$300 early termination fee for ending your contract.

The fact that you will have to buy a new iPhone because of the different networks AT&T and Verizon run on.

Once people know about this, that 26% will drop off a lot.  Maybe people who bought the 3GS in 09 will jump when their contract is up this summer, but at that point, both AT&T and Verizon will be pushing their 4G phones heavily.

Jan 13, 2011 4:02PM
@wow475 -----

it looks like you, in fact, are also randomly talking about Verizon because if you had your facts straight, you would know that the iPhone coming to Verizon in Feb. WILL NOT WORK on the 4G network...

So next time, you get more information before posting aimlessly.

AT&T 4 LIFE!!! (not really, but I needed a closing)

Jan 13, 2011 4:00PM
wow475 Yes but this is about the iphone4 which is not 4g on the verizon network so it can not multitask on their network so maybe you need to get more information before posting.
Jan 13, 2011 4:15PM
Jan 13, 2011 2:29PM
I am an iPhone/ATT Customer.  And at times service is not great (south FLA).  But what one must consider is that the Verizon version will be CDMA phone and not GSM.  As a person who travel out of the country often, having a GSM phone is critical for me.  

I'm also not sure of data speed (comparing one platform to the other).

I'm an AT&T/iPhone 4 user and I have not experienced any poor coverage or dropped calls since we purchased the iPhone and switched to AT&T last July. I travel extensively throughout the US for business and coverage has not been an issue at all for me. I did have a software problem with my iPhone in November and the people at the Apple Store changed out my phone for no charge. I'm completely satisfied with both the iPhone and AT&T!


Jan 14, 2011 1:04PM
I love my iPhone, AT&T has dropped calls only once or twice in 5 years and the lack of reception in the mountains of NC or the desert southwest is not a big deal to me. AT&T service has always been responsive and polite, they generally get the issue resolved on the first try. They are still experiencing issue with online users not being able to delete messages from their "My Messages" which is mostly marketing crap from AT&T, but that's a minor aggravation, not reason to switch to an unknown carrier. I used to be with Sprint/Nextel and they have NO customer service. Think I'll stay where I am. And no, I do not work for AT&T and I don't have any relatives who do.
Jan 13, 2011 11:07PM
Another question could be asked: How many loyal Verizon customers will leave because Verizon is canceling their every two year plan just ahead of the iphone roll-out. If I am wrong about this someone set me straight and I will be humbled. If it is true, it was nice being a Verizon subscriber but goodbye Verizon hello Carolina Wireless.
Jan 13, 2011 6:34PM

1. I am loyal so staying with AT&T

2. Even if I wasn't I am not about to waste the high dollar termination fee to switch

3. I do not experience dropped calls or bad reception unless I am on one road in my area

4. I do not own an iPhone. I have a $50 touchpad phone that  dropped to $20 one month after I bought it.

5. I plan on getting an iPhone after the Verizon launch date and when the jumpers jump because AT&T will probably drop the prices dramtically to keep customers

6. Why does iPhone have to be so very expensive anyway? The prices suck.

Jan 13, 2011 4:47PM
@shut_up Fios is absolute **** and in no way does it reflect the overall customer service of verizon wireless. I have both verizon wireless and verizon FIOS and while verizon wireless has pretty solid customer service, I've had the same experiences as you in the FIOS department. It must be where they put the trainees or some **** like that.
Jan 13, 2011 4:16PM
Although i am not a verizon wireless customer, i am a verizon FIOS customer...  I would like those out there not familiar with verizon that from my two months of service with verizon so far, BE WARNED, THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SUPPORT IS HORRIBLE!!!  Ive had a problem with my verizon fios land line since i signed up and two months in it is not resolved and i have had to call constantly to try to get my issue taken care of.  They dont seem to keep very good records of my calls, they play the ' let me forward you to so and so ' game, the account dept so far has not given me any credits for my troubles and make accusations that i was lying about having called previously to get it fixed...  Verizon seems to have very poor customer service in my two months with them.   
Jan 13, 2011 3:47PM
@MIKECYOU Honestly if you were more informed you wouldn't be talking randomly about Verizon services.  With the new 4g network, phones will have the ability to do exactly the same that iPhone users can do, which is talk and use applications at the same time.  So next time get more information before posting aimlessly.
Jan 13, 2011 3:11PM

The iPhone 4G is a much better device than the droid.  The droid is just a knock off.  The iPhone has better graphics, secruity, software, and architecture.  The droid is susceptible to viruses as well.  I wouldn't do anything that requires security on the droid.


The AT&T network has major advantages over teh Verizon network.  The cost and ability to do both voice and data at the same time is a point missed by most people considering the move to Verizon.  I often am on the phone and need to use the data services while having a discussion via the voice network.  I could not imagine not having this option or having to hang up to check something.

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