The article shows contrary to both the Verizon advertisements and AT&T public statements that AT&T has the superior nationwide network and that its performance problems are inherent in the design of the iPhone itself. The article ends with this quote …
AT&T and Apple could both gain by swapping talent.
Apple, send your marketing wizards to lend your partner a hand. It sorely needs help.
AT&T, send some engineers to redesign the iPhone to make better use of the country’s fastest wireless network.
I was intrigued by one of the sources cited by the article, Root Wireless, who provide local coverage maps (signal strength, data transfer speed, and network issues (dead zones etc.)). Here is my local map for AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. (double click on maps for larger version)
Recently Merrill Lynch published a white paper on how much the iPhone means to AT&T and the potential effect of AT&T losing their monopoly (maybe as early as mid-2010). A lot depends, of course, if there is going to be a CDMA version of the iPhone.
Here is a summary of their analysis and comments.
approximately 11.5 million iPhone subscribers in the USA (3Q09)
iPhone subscribers comprise 18% of AT&T’s postpaid subscribers
the iPhone has driven an 8% uplift in gross add share for AT&T
the iPhone has taken market share away form AT&T’s base but at much higher ARPU
because there is little churn associated with the iPhone, the overall churn numbers for AT&T have decreased.
the iPhone has been the primary driver of data ARPU growth for AT&T.
The M/L’s analysis treats the iPhone as the only game in town, but with the success of Android-based phones (G1, G2 and ‘Droid) finally giving Apple a run for its money, this is not the case. While these phones have approximately 15-20% of the market share of the iPhone, they do have momentum and a catalog of applications that is beginning to rival Apple’s if not in quantity at least in quality.
It should come as no surprise that AT&T has taken Verizon to court over their “There’s a map for that” advertisements. The ad is very clever and plays at several levels – the pun on the Apple ad for the iPhone ‘there is an app for that’ as well as AT&T’s well known capacity issues for data delivery. There seems to be a general consensus that the ads are successful. (see link)
AT&T recently lost the first round (see link) but has said it will appeal. AT&T’s lawyers will will have to do a lot better than its weak rebuttal ad (link).
What I find interesting in all of this, is how Verizon has turned the discussion from quantity of applications to quality of experience. It may be that the reign of the app was very short lived and a broad application catalog is no longer a differentiator but a necessity.
Verizon has a lot to thank T-Mobile for as it essentially picked up T-Mobile’s marketplace catalog and made it available to its own android phones.
With the release of the Motorola ‘Droid’ phone running the Android 2.0 operating system, there has been much talk and chatter on whether this is the long anticipated “iPhone killer”. It could well be, there are a number of impressive features on the Droid such as multi-tasking that are not available on the iPhone. That said, in the long run I think the feature that will make the most difference is the operating system itself.
For the first time, I can as a T-Mobile subscriber with a G1 phone make recommendations on ‘good applications’ to a Verizon subscriber with a Droid phone. The application catalog is no longer tethered to the mobile phone operator. It is the realization of develop once and run on multiple networks (in this case GSM and CDMA).