With Verizon Communications now poised to woo more mobile subscribers thanks to its ability to sell Apples iPhones, the speculation is rampant over the potential effect on AT&T, the mobile operator that has until now been the exclusive provider of the phenomenally popular device in the United States.
It turns out AT&T might not have much to worry about it, at least in the near term.
Susquehanna analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro told AllThingsD.com that 90 percent of AT&Ts iPhone subscribers are under contract. Fidacaro thinks AT&T could lose, at most, 2 million iPhone customers to Verizon.
Thursday, AT&T revealed that it activated 4.1 million iPhones in the fourth quarter and reached a total of 95.5 million wireless subscribers to make it the largest mobile operator in the United States ahead of Verizon.
But Verizon has plenty of momentum. R.W. Baird & Co. analyst William Power said Verizon Wireless could sell as many as 23.8 million iPhones in the first year, AllThingsD.com reported in another article.
Power cautioned that number was not a forecast, and it appears to be based on a Baird survey of smartphone users.
A growing number of Verizon Wireless’ customers are using sophisticated devices that provide much greater functionality than simply the ability to talk.
In its recent quarterly earnings, Verizon revealed that 26 percent of its retail postpaid wireless customers had smartphones at the end of the year. That’s up from 15 percent at the end of 2009.