AT&T Prepares for Max Exodus to Verizon

Paul Lilly

It was always a safe bet that once Apple's iPhone 4 broke free from its exclusivity shackles and landed at Verizon, AT&T would lose a portion of its subscriber base as a result. Now we have some hard numbers to work with.

In a recent survey conducted by ChangeWave Research, 15 percent of AT&T's customers said they're ready to find greener grass on the other side within the next 90 days, Yahoo News reports . Incidentally, that's the exact same turnover rate indicated by by T-Mobile customers. Compare those figures with just 4 percent of Verizon customers who say they're eager to switch.

"Now that consumers have a choice of carriers to host their iPhones, AT&T is certain to see a decline is its quarterly Apple sales," said Alex Spektor of Strategy Analytics.

For its part, AT&T isn't overly concerned, or at least it's putting on a good poker face.

"There are lots of surveys out there, but what really matters is how people vote with their dollars," said Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesperson. "In the third quarter of 2010 we had 5.2 million iPhone activations, up from 3.2 million in the second quarter. If people thought the iPhone was coming to another carrier, which turned out to be the case, it might suggest people would wait, but that didn't happen. Those 5.2 million new customers reinforce our feeling that the effect of the loss of exclusivity has been greatly overstated."

To help stem the tide towards Verizon, AT&T will put more of its chips behind Android, particularly upcoming 4G devices like the dual-core Motorola Atrix 4G.

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