As AT&T continues to corner the mobile market with the iPhone, some are wondering what the carrier's future would hold without Apple's well-known mobile device. Unfortunately for AT&T, that future doesn't look as bright as it might want its customers to believe.
iPhone is an unbridled success. The smartphone delivers an experience that has
yet to be rivaled in the mobile market. It offers a design that satisfies
consumer desire for a big, vibrant display that also fits easily into a pocket.
Simply put, the iPhone is a revolutionary device that has earned its position
as a leader in the marketplace. But there's one problem that it suffers from that
Apple has yet to address: It's available exclusively on AT&T's network.
is, in many ways, the direct opposite of Apple. The communications company has
been taken to task a number of times for its poor network. It has also been
forced to weather attacks by competing companies regarding its 3G network's
availability. AT&T has countered those complaints and done some things to
improve its operation. But for all that it has done and all the improvements it
has made, it can't quite keep from being defined by the iPhone.
Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile continue to thrive without the iPhone, AT&T's
operation relies upon Apple's smartphone. And if (or perhaps when) Apple makes
the iPhone carrier-agnostic,
AT&T could have trouble without it.
1. Network troubles
recent years, problems with AT&T's network have been a constant issue.
Users complained of slow 3G, poor availability and too many dropped calls. In recent
months, AT&T has done a much better job of improving its network, and it
has paid off. But a perception remains that AT&T's network pales in
comparison with competing services. Without the iPhone, that issue will be
the iPhone, AT&T will be forced to compete without a single advantage. If
we take the iPhone out of the equation, AT&T is the same as Verizon
Wireless. The iPhone is the "killer phone" that has helped AT&T
take a leading role in the mobile market. Without Apple's help, its main
competitive advantage is gone. And companies like Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile
will undoubtedly capitalize.
a look at the phones AT&T offers aside from the iPhone. Notice anything
interesting? They are, for the most part, the same devices offered everywhere
else. Plus, none of those phones can match the iPhone. That's a problem. If
AT&T wants to maintain the kind of success it has enjoyed to this point, it
needs to offer better phones than competing companies.
4. Where's the benefit?
the real benefit of becoming an AT&T subscriber? For some folks, it might
mean saving money on plans, since family members are on the same network. It
might also mean better coverage in a particular area. But any subscriber on any
other network can make the same claims. Aside from AT&T, no single carrier
currently provides customers with a benefit over the competition. If AT&T
loses iPhone exclusivity, it will lose that single benefit of being an AT&T