At Least 40% Want Verizon iPhone; Dropped Call Problem Overshadowed

Investment firm Piper Jaffray just released a survey of more than 250 mobile phone users in Minneapolis and found that more than 100 complained about the iPhone not being available on the Verizon Wireless network.

Thats quite a number. Its more than three times as many people who said the so-called Antennagate issue affected what smartphone they would buy.

“We found that for every one respondent that acknowledged the antenna issue, about three complained about the iPhone not being on Verizon,” a Piper Jaffray analyst wrote. “In other words, the lack of an iPhone on Verizon is holding back sales by about three times more than the antenna issue.”

Its hard to quantify exactly how many fewer iPhones Apple is selling due to its exclusive deal with AT&T, but Piper Jaffray estimates that the antenna/dropped call issue, which seemed to fade a bit after Steve Jobs pooh-poohed it at a media event this summer, might have cost Apple almost 900,000 sales. Well have a better idea next month when Apple releases number for Q3.

Whats interesting about the survey is that it didnt even include a question about carrier exclusivity or Verizon. Respondents came up with that one on their own, so its likely the number wouldve been even higher if the thought had been suggested to them.

Many signs this summer have pointed to the availability of an iPhone on Verizons wireless network in January, but nothing has been confirmed. Its also been speculated that T-Mobile could beat Verizon to the punch, or at least launch at the same time. AT&T has had an exclusive deal with Apple since the iPhone debuted in 2007, but the carriers reputation has taken a hit due to dropped calls and slow data downloads, much of which is a result of the heavy data crunch caused by a glut of iPhones on its network.

One other note from the survey the iPhone is still king among what smartphones people want to buy, although Android is gaining. Forty percent said they have considered slapping down the cash for an iPhone, while 29 percent have mulled purchasing and Android device.

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