The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

Summary: Don't underestimate the power of the iPhone to attract customers to AT&T's shoddy network.

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Don't underestimate the power of the iPhone to attract customers to AT&T's shoddy network.

Have a read of this from today's earnings statement:

3.2 Million iPhone Activations. On June 24, AT&T began offering iPhone 4, the most powerful iPhone yet. Preorder sales of iPhone 4 were 10 times higher than the first day of preordering for iPhone 3GS a year earlier. For the full second quarter, AT&T iPhone activations totaled 3.2 million, the most quarterly iPhone activations ever. Approximately 27 percent of those activations were for customers who were new to AT&T.

The iPhone is now on it's fourth iteration, and it can still manage to pull in a whopping 27% fresh blood to AT&T, despite the bad press that the network has received.

It seems that AT&T can hold onto existing customers pretty well too:

Best-ever wireless churn levels, with 1.01 percent postpaid churn and 1.29 percent total churn

No wonder AT&T loves Apple.

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

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22 comments
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  • Except AT&T's network isn't shoddy

    It works fine. It worked fine before the iPhone and it will work fine now.

    But the Blog B!tches love to rag on it. For millions of us it works fine.
    itguy08
    • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

      Absolutely right, @itguy08. Here in Midwest, it the fastest and most reliable network, and I've tried them all in past couple years. But if you notice, it's primarily Apple fan-boys that complain, and they complain about everything/everyone except the hallowed ground Steve Jobs walks on.
      mharr
      • HUH!?!

        @mharr
        The many complaints I've heard about AT&T were from those who used it as an excuse NOT to purchase an iPhone. Not that I was or am convinced that they would if the iPhone were on other networks. I notice a great many of them post on other Apple related posts nothing but negative Apple hate based comments.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
    • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

      @itguy08

      Its interesting because here in Canada we don't complain about dropped with our iPhones. We also tether without jailbreaking the phone.

      The iPhone in the US sounds like a different iPhone in Canada. I can't help but wonder about AT&T, but will never experience it for myself.

      We only have issue with the cost of our data plans.
      maskman01
    • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

      @itguy08 I bet the executive at Verizon is kicking him/herself over this. Then again the contract with Microsoft might have something to do with it too.
      Rick_K
      • no

        @Rick_K kicking himself? ya I doubt it. With the amount of bad press that Apple gives at&t and the amounts of issues that Apple has caused for them all the time VZW is probably laughing at at&t.

        And for the record ATT sucks here in the east and I know some people who traveled with it and said it sucked in alot of places.
        Jimster480
    • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

      @itguy08
      CasiBK
    • Agreed. I have two phones with the AT&T network and have never experienced

      @itguy08
      CasiBK
      • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

        Agreed. I have two phones with the AT&T network and have never experienced ?dropped call? issues. I also have a Nook which uses the AT&T 3G network and have had no issues with that, either.@CasiBK
        CasiBK
    • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

      Not working here! The AT&T tech support geek said he would send the magic signal to fix the problem. 1 year and one phone later I'm still waiting. All they care about is the bottom line.
      jimten@...
    • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

      @itguy08


      this is so true about the network as a whole. i get so tired of ppl ragging on at&t. i've been with them over 10 years and have called all over the country, even alaska, with no probs.
      dankj
  • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

    I keep hearing about AT&T's shoddy network. I think that's bunk!!!

    I don't have an iPhone and I've never had issues with AT&T's network. EVER! And I've been on AT&T since before the iPhone was even released. Actually, it probably hadn't even been envisioned yet. And I've had and used AT&T all over! San Fransisco, San Diego, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Sarasota Florida, West Palm Beach Florida, Philadelphia, NYC, Hartford Ct, Boston MA, Telluride, Jackson Hole, and even Big Sky Montanna just to name some of the places I've used my phone without any issues. Granted, I may not have always been on AT&T's network and instead may have been roaming some of those times. The point is, in 10 years I've rarely had a call drop, and when I did, it was because I was driving and ran into a dead zone. Yes, there are a few of those still left in places like Colorado, Vermont, and Montanna.

    And now I use my phone for a lot more than I did 10 years ago. I use the browser all of the time, check my emails through my phone, make reservations through the phone/browser, etc., and still I can't complain about the service. Of course, I don't have an iPhone. Maybe, just maybe, the problem isn't so much the network as it is the phone? Has anyone stopped for a minute and thought that maybe it is the iPhone and not AT&T that is the problem? To further lend credence to that, I work with and travel with friends and coleagues that have the iPhone and swear by it. Yet, when I'm with them, they're always complaining about bad coverage and dropped calls. Yet, I'm right there with them, using my non-iPhone and I'm not having any problems whatsoever. Need I say more?

    This whole AT&T sucks thing seems to only come from those using iPhones. Also, because my company used Verizon exlusively until a year ago, I can tell you that at least where I lived and traveled for business, Verizon was actually worse. Well, maybe not worse as far as connection quality, but there were many times when I couldn't get a signal with my Motorolla Q on the verizon network and I would have to actually make a business call on my AT&T phone. And for whatever reason, I could never make calls from Canada on the verizon and always had to use my AT&T phone there. That may have changed in the last 6 years, but it was definitely the case 2 years in a row when I vacationed there with my family.
    mgrubb@...
    • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

      @mgrubb@...

      Come to San Francisco and you'll see the issues with AT&T's network.
      brichter
    • It's all about the area...certain big cities are worst

      @mgrubb@...

      You're correct: most places really have no problems with AT&T coverage. In our suburban/rural western Philadelphia area, AT&T coverage is actually way better than Verizon's: when I switched our organization from Verizon to AT&T, people who previously couldn't get a Verizon signal in their homes or work locations were extremely pleased to find that AT&T's signal was excellent.

      The reason that the issue gets so much outsized attention, however, is because the major media outlets are in New York, San Francisco, LA, etc, and in all of those places AT&T has density problems. The GSM frequencies that AT&T uses (as opposed to Verizon's CDMA) do not penetrate big buildings as well, and so AT&T needs to have more cells. But siting and installing more cells is a regulatory process that can take years, especially in dense areas, so AT&T can't quickly fix this issue themselves....it takes a long time.

      AT&T were caught by surprise by the iPhone's ubiquity in dense areas and the users' hunger for data, both of which are causing the problems that users see in those areas. However, everywhere else the coverage is actually excellent, but you rarely hear about it.

      AT&T has tried to make up for the difficulty of getting new antennas approved and installed in dense areas by offering the "MicroCell" (although they shouldn't be charging for it....if you complain loudly enough to the right rep you can get one for free sometimes).

      So if you're not living in one of the affected big cities, you're probably not having any issues with your iPhone or AT&T and wondering what all the fuss is about. That's why there are zillions of iPhone users, all on AT&T and it's been a huge success for both companies: most people just aren't affected....it's just the people that are most likely to be heard.
      RealNonZealot
  • Why I bought an Android phone.

    AT&T's crappy network did it for me. Even having an iPhone 3G wasn't enough to overcome poor performance on AT&T's part. More than my fair share of dropped calls, text messages received hours and in some cases even a day later on more than one occasion, and phone calls that never rang but instead went straight to voicemail. Even having an iPhone wasn't enough for me to stay with AT&T.

    Now I'm happy with the great Verizon network.
    Hatestone Johnson
    • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

      AT&T works fine for me in my area. Even better since they also gave me a free microcell for my house. However, if you have poor reception in your area, then it does not matter what phone you have.
      dawagner1@...
  • You our the exception not the rule

    I carry a Sprint Blackberry because AT&T network is so bad. I have a iphone 3gs (been to busy to convert to 4) I no long place call on iphone because it will drop 50%. network is ok except when I'm at a Apple thing (and then it sucks!)

    As soon as Verzion or Sprint gets it I'm gone!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Matt
    Nashville TN
    matt@...
  • RE: The iPhone is a massive customer magnet for AT&T

    By now it has been well documented that Apple's choice of Infineon for the chipsets in the iPhone along with the buggy baseband software is at least equally to blame for any dropped calls. AT&T doesn't have the lowest churn rate in the industry solely because
    Harley_Dude
  • Bad Press, pretty much sums it up

    Apparently those 3.2 million people don't read your press, or more likely they don't experience the over blown problems the press whines about.
    GoPower
  • Problem network?

    Add me to the list of satisfied ATT customers, first with Palm Centro, now with Palm Pixi. No dropped calls, acceptable network performance, no billing issues, etc. It's all however the tech media wants to report it.
    TimmyB