Maybe losing iPhone exclusivity wont be as bad for AT&T as many have predicted.
It may be just one measure, but Gazelle, a company that resells and recycles electronics, tells Forbes that it has only seen a 20 percent uptick in the number of AT&T iPhones people have sent them in the past month. While 20 percent might sound significant, compare that to the Motorola Droid. Gazelle says the number of Droids coming into their offices has doubled since the Verizon iPhone announcement four weeks ago. And that number has spiked just in the past week since Verizon began taking pre-orders for the device.
Gazelle’s CEO tells Forbes that he thinks people might be waiting to ditch their AT&T iPhones until they hear more about how iPhones perform on the Verizon network. But apparently Droid owners have no hesitation.
Since Verizon Wireless is the biggest U.S. carrier of Droid phones, the carrier might just see a lot of its own customers make the switch, rather than a huge influx of old AT&T customers, at least at first. Service contracts with AT&T cost customers more than $300 to break, so we might not know the full impact of the exclusivity loss for another year or more.
Nonetheless, it has to be some solace for AT&T, which must be preparing to take a big hit. The carrier recently overtook Verizon as No. 1 in number of subscribers, but many wonder if that will be short-lived. The company last month announced that it will unveil a dozen new Android devices in 2011 to help counter losing its stranglehold on the iPhone.
Analysts estimate that Verizon sold 500,000 iPhones in one day of pre-orders to existing customers on Feb. 3, and that number will likely go way up as the rest of the public pre-order today and hit their favorite retail outlet tomorrow.