Breaking from AT&T Means New Opportunity for Apple

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-01-26 Print this article Print

5. It's not a worldwide strategy

Although in the United States iPhones are only available to AT&T customers, the device is not offered exclusively in several countries around the world. For example, Apple has opened the iPhone up to multiple carriers in the United Kingdom and France. Evidently, Apple doesn't believe that exclusivity is required for the iPhone's success. So why should it keep the iPhone exclusive in the United States?

6. The enterprise is waiting

As more applications enter Apple's App Store, the business world is taking notice. At first, most applications were designed for the consumer. Today, Apple's store is filled with a slew of applications designed specifically for enterprise customers. There's just one problem: Companies can't easily get out of contracts, no matter how badly they desire the iPhone. If Apple wants to make the iPhone more enterprise-friendly, it needs to open it up to other carriers.

7. An Apple tablet brings touch to more people

If Apple announces its long-awaited Apple tablet at the Jan. 27 press event, it could have consequences for all of Apple's many divisions. If consumers start buying the Apple tablet in droves, it could increase their desire to also have touch technology in their mobile phones. Assuming they like their Apple tablets, the iPhone would seem like the obvious candidate for a mobile phone choice. But if the iPhone is not available on the customer's preferred network, Apple loses out. As Apple makes touch technology a cornerstone of its operation, it needs to ensure that its touch-enabled iPhones are available to as many customers as possible.

8. AT&T isn't getting any better

Let's not pretend that AT&T is anything special. The carrier might have a huge customer base, but it still offers abysmal 3G availability, poor customer service and plans that are enough to make any customer cringe. Of course, none of its competition is any better, but at least consumers would be given an opportunity to choose. If AT&T were giving Apple a competitive advantage, the company should stick with it. But it isn't. It's time to move on.

9. The competition is growing

Apple's iPhone might have been one of the first touch-screen devices in the mobile market, but since then, the market has become crowded as several other devices have jumped into the fray. So far, smartphones like the BlackBerry Storm, Palm Pre and Motorola Droid haven't been able to match the iPhone on any level. But just how long Apple can maintain that advantage is unknown. The longer Apple allows only the competition to offer touch technology on multiple networks, the more likely its chances of being faced with a powerful competitor.

10. Apple will do it eventually

There's no doubt that Apple will eventually bring its iPhone to multiple carriers in the United States. That's precisely why there's really no reason for Apple to wait. The iPhone is the most coveted device on the market. There is a huge customer base waiting for the opportunity to get their hands on the company's product. Most importantly, the competition's only advantage right now is ubiquity. By bringing the iPhone to Verizon Wireless or any other carrier, Apple can satisfy consumer desire and ensure that the competition doesn't have a leg up in any area.

The time has come for Apple to bring the iPhone to other carriers. When will the company realize that?

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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