Majority of Verizon customers want iPhone, but analyst says not this year

Summary:A survey found that more than half of Verizon's customers would buy an iPhone if available but an analyst says that won't happen this year.

Here's a headline for you: If Verizon offered an iPhone, more than half of its subscribers would likely buy one. A survey conducted by ChangeWave Research found that 54 percent of Verizon's existing customers would be either very likely or somewhat likely to dump their existing device and buy an iPhone.

Until last week, I was one of them. But I refused to wait any longer - and for those 54 percent of you, I can only say: Don't hold your breath.

Brian Marshall, an analyst with BroadPoint AmTech, tells Computerworld that he no longer believes that Verizon will offer an iPhone this year and instead puts his target on the first quarter of next year. Why the change of heart? He has a theory that Apple and AT&T cut a data deal on the iPad that resulted in an extension of AT&T's exclusivity to the iPhone. (Techmeme)

Of course, this is all speculation as neither company is going to discuss details of their relationships.

I realize that Apple is wowing Wall Street with repeated blowaway quarters, with iPhone sales that continue to exceed expectations. And I also know that the iPhone has some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings out there. But how can that be, given the performance rankings of AT&T? Let's look at a couple of the findings of the ChangeWave survey:

  • Nearly half - 49 percent - of Verizon's customers were "very Satisfied" with their carrier. In comparison, 35 percent of Sprint's customers gave the carrier the same ranking. Only 23 percent of T-Mobile and AT&T's customers gave them that ranking.
  • In terms of dropped calls over the last 90 days. Verizon customers said 1.5 percent of their calls were dropped while 4.5 percent of AT&T's calls were dropped. Sprint dropped 2.4 percent of its calls and T-Mobile dropped 2.8 percent. And in the case of AT&T vs Verizon on dropped calls, Verizon saw improvement while AT&T got worse.

Previous coverage: AT&T: The iPhone's anchor

This exclusivity deal may be good for Apple and it may be good for AT&T, but is it good for consumers? I'm changing my tune from an earlier time by answering that question with a resounding "Yes!"

Why? The longer that AT&T and Apple hold the iPhone back from having what the research firm called a "profound and likely transformational impact" on the mobile industry, the longer they're giving companies like Google, RIM and now HP (with its Palm acquisition) to innovate and lure away potential iPhone owners.

I can't speak for anyone else, but that's exactly what happened to me. I wanted an iPhone but wasn't willing to switch to AT&T. Eventually, I fell in love with Android and bought the Droid Incredible. And I have no regrets.

Personally, I could care less if Apple and AT&T never end that exclusivity deal. I'm a happy guy with my Verizon-powered Droid Incredible and, even if the iPhone landed in Verizon stores tomorrow, I wouldn't buy one.

I'm one of those customers that got away.

Also: Top 10 ways the Droid Incredible killed my iPhone envy. (Gallery)

Topics: Verizon, Apple, AT&T, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

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