As people await details of a deal allowing Verizon to sell the iPhone, analysts are predicting whatever the announcement, it will all be bad news for AT&T. The current exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier, AT&T “is going to get demolished,” one Wall Street onlooker warns.
Gleacher and Co. analyst Brian Marshall, who expressed the dire warning to Reuters, is not a lone voice. Indeed, the move bringing the iPhone to Verizon could see AT&T lose more than 3 million contract customers – a loss not seen since AT&T Wireless merged with Cingular Wireless in 2004. Why the losses? Another analyst says it’s simple: iPhone envy.
“There’s been three years where Verizon’s customer base has had iPhone envy,” Hudson Square analyst Todd Rethemeier. “They’re going to want to get it as soon as they can,” he said. AT&T could lose 3.5 million contract subscribers this year, he predicts.
An analyst described as optimistic believes AT&T’s early-termination fees will act like an electric fence, preventing an all-out rush to Verizon by customers added in 2010.