Is AT&T slowly dethroning the almighty iPhone?

Is AT&T slowly dethroning the almighty iPhone?

Summary: ZDNet Senior Editor Sam Diaz shares his views on the release of Apple's new iPhone 3G S. Diaz says there is a dark shadow being cast over the new device because of its exclusive relationship with carrier AT&T, while users complain about two-year contracts and lack of support for MMS messaging.


Topics: Collaboration, Browser, Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Software, AT&T, Social Enterprise

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  • Dethroning? Always dethroned!

    From the beginning, Apple missed a substantial market
    on the iPhone by linking to AT&T. AT&T has had a
    long-time bad reputation as a provider, in terms of
    both coverage and customer service. Why Apple would
    have chosen AT&T remains a mystery.

    Many potential buyers would have been willing to pay
    the "premium" for better (albeit ridiculously more
    expensive) providers such as Verizon. Until Apple wises
    up and unshackles the iPhone device from ANY
    provider, the market will be as limited as the provider to
    whom the device is tied.
    • GSM!

      It's clear why Apple picked AT&T. AT&T uses GSM instead of CDMA and GSM is more widespread across the world. Apple didn't want to have to remake their hardware for the world market. Having just one phone to manufacture simplifies the manufacturing process as well as decreases product confusion. And the reason Apple picked AT&T over T-Mobile is clear. AT&T is a much larger company.

      It's likely that the iPhone will be available for both Verizon and AT&T once LTE (4G) rolls out. Then you can use the same physical device for both networks.
      • GSM!

        You're probably right about Apple wanting a GSM provider, but T-Mobile is part of Deutsche Telekom, the largest cell provider in the EU, where they REALLY use their phones. Also, in my experience, T-Mobile has incomparably superior worldwide coverage, voicemail, tech support, etc. when traveling. It's pretty easy to imagine that there were discussions between Apple and prospective providers that go just slightly beyond what we on this string know and that their reasons are many and detailed. But a resounding "UGH" to AT&T.
  • Yet they still sold like hot cakes!

    If there is less excitement about the new iPhone, then how come they sold the same or more as last year with fewer countries? It sounds to me like there is *more* excitement! There just isn't long lines because they've finally fixed that problem.
  • Apple shot itself in the foot

    I have always thought Apple shot itself in the foot by limiting its carriers allowed to sell the iPhone. Even if it was Verizon instead of AT&T I still think it would be wrong. You should never limit yourself by creating such agreements that sniffle the amount of potentials buyers.
  • Lazy journalists record video instead of writing

    Just what I want to hear and watch, a lazy journalist with a speech impediment. Rotten public speaker reading from uninspired cue cards that tell a non-news story. Next time, please type and post the story. I can scan a few paragraphs of simple declarative sentences faster and with more enjoyment than I get from watching a video that has no production value and adds no informational value over lower-bandwidth text.
    • Lazy is right

      Couldn't agree more. More misuse of tech from the quarter most likely to mis-or overuse tech - the tech community.
    • Don't Attack the Messenger

      That's unprofessional. The truth is the truth. If AT&T wants to compete they've got to do better.
      Anita Y. Mathis
      • Yes, attach the messenger...

        If it's the message that is the problem, then no, don't attack the messenger. BUT, in this case it is the messenger that is the problem, so an attack is due, and very professional.
  • RE: Is AT&T slowly dethroning the almighty iPhone?

    AT&T is far behind the times, why does Apple insist on only allowing AT&T to sell their product? It is time to open up the monopoly they have and allow competition do its job.
    Apple - wake up - quickly!
  • Lousy service and technicians

    I just wish AT&T would make a phone that doesn't cut out and allows me to hear somebody on the other end.

    If I want to talk to somebody and be able to hear them,it's Verizon.

    I have a company Blackberry on ATT&T and I have to use my Verizon phone if I want to hear somebody.

    Doesn't matter if I'm in Vegas or SFran.

    When my subscription is ,up,it's back to Verizon.
  • RE: Is AT&T slowly dethroning the almighty iPhone?

    Full disclosure I work for AT&T. Also full disclosure I do not currently own a cellphone because it is a luxury I can personally do without until the economy turns around. That being said I don't understand this continued criticism of the business relationship between Apple and AT&T. As I see it all of the carriers have exclusive deals with device manufacturers not available to AT&T, yet AT&T is attacked because of it's exclusive (and lucrative) relationship with Apple. The iPhone apparently is a superior product as the public is clamoring for it. I sense a lot of resentment towards businesses that seek to make a buck these days instead of giving everything away for free. There is lots of choice out there stop so complaining and choose the other service or device if they are so great or not (and stupid enough to give it away). When something is 'free' it has no value. Think about it. AT&T is not making money off the device but off the services. They are trying to guarantee an income stream for two years for their investment in this and other excellent products they offer. Makes perfect sense to me.
  • RE: Is AT&T slowly dethroning the almighty iPhone?

    Full disclosure I work for AT&T. I am also a Services Technician. First of all AT&T repeatedly leads the nation's carriers in independent service quality surveys like J.D. Power and others in all areas including mobility services which gives lie to all these anecdotal 'evidences' that AT&T is a horrible company that abuses its customers.

    I personally take affront to the notion that AT&T technicians are what you say. Are there some few who are not very good on a particular day? I'm sure. However that is true of every business and individual including yourself. We give great service daily. As for your trouble with connectivity with your particular mobile device I will tell you like I tell everyone who bothers to ask: It is not the service but the device!

    All mobile devices are not created equal and just because it is expensive or made by a huge manufacturer doesn't mean it will operate (receive and transmit) in a given environment as well as a device obtained for free in a promotion. In most areas in the nation AT&T has the largest and densest mobile coverage despite Verizon's claims. However if you have a great phone (reception/transmission-wise) you'll think Metro is the best carrier. What makes a mobile device a great receiver? That is one of the mysteries of the universe.
  • RE: Is AT&T slowly dethroning the almighty iPhone?

    Well, you know, it is GSM so if you do not like AT&T buy one in China unlocked and put in your own carriers card. Or you could just quit whining.
  • RE: Is AT&T slowly dethroning the almighty iPhone?

    AT&T really gets the shaft in the press, but I have had their service for about 7 yrs and have always gad excellent reception, excellent customer service and more bars in more places! 3G consistently for 2 years on a Moto Q 9h and now with the Apple 3GS.

    I am happy with AT&T and sick of all the complaining.
  • RE: Is AT&T slowly dethroning the almighty iPhone?

    I have to also comment on the criticism of AT&T. I
    have had their service for years now and prior to
    that both Verizon and TMobil. I live in South
    Florida and have excellent coverage. I have used
    my phone in NYC, San Francisco, Lower Michigan,
    Northern Michigan and Los Angeles and have had
    excellent coverage. I am sick of hearing the
    bellyaching that Sam uses about AT&T. All carriers
    have problem areas. I can understand why Apple
    chose AT&T. It is because of GSM over CDMA.
    Ultimately when Verizon converts to GSM, there
    will probably be an Iphone on Verizon but not
    before then. In the meantime, Sam, evaluate the
    phone, and not the network when you are using a
    small personal coverage area on which to base
    your criticism. As far as tethering, I think it will
    come for the iPhone but I do not think the average
    person will go for it because of the additional
    expense. Verizon also charges extra for tethering,
    so do not use that as another criticism of AT&T
    when it happens.
  • Apple Selling MUCH Better Than Pre. iPhone Still Tops.

    You mentioned the Pre selling out in its first few days, but
    that was only 70,000 units! Come on!

    The 3GS sold over 1,000,000 units the first weekend,
    which was better than the 3G sales!

    The iPhone is still tops in terms of functionality and
    technology and I don't think "dethroned" is the right word
    for its status right now.

    I agree, however, that the iPhone is held back by the
    exclusive carrier deal with AT&T, and that AT&T is fleecing
    its customers because they have a monopoly on the
    handset. I mean, my old Windows Mobile phone had text
    messaging included in the (cheaper) data plan and you had
    tethering and MMS at no extra charge! Oh, and here's the
    kicker, my old Windows Mobile phone was with AT&T!!!

    For me, the iPhone is still worth the hassle of dealing with
    AT&T, but I certainly wish other carriers had access to the
    phone to introduce some competition to AT&T wouldn't be
    able to pull tricks like upcharging for text messaging,
    blocking tethering and dragging their feet supporting

    • Agree overall

      Over all, I agree. ZDNet just hates Apple,, now and forever. :-)

      But people keep forgetting how Apple got a carrier to take them on,
      on Apples terms. Apples phone, Apples features, Apples cost, etc etc
      etc... and the price was a 5 year (give or take) commitment.

      You get and you pay.

      Now people would like Apple to change the world.... Just because they
      are Apple...... Sorry, reality is reality. Contracts, rules, etc.

      So enjoy your iPhone, do not worry about others, just have fun with
      your phone. OH yes and its new features due to a FREE 3.0. How
      come NO ONE else does this free software upgrades for their phones.?

      Just a thought.
  • RE: Is AT&T slowly dethroning the almighty iPhone?

    Sam Diaz doesn't know what he is talking about...the
    "early adopters" of the 3G did not get stiffed since
    AT&T allowed those who purchased iPhone 3G's in
    July - Sept to qualify for discounted prices. Spend a
    couple minutes finding the FACTS before you make
    yourself sound like a clueless idiot.

    Senior editor...bad facts... = FAIL!!
  • RE: Is AT&T slowly dethroning the almighty iPhone?

    AT&T is doing what is necessary for their company to make the type of ROI on the contract as it was negotiated in 2007. Verizon didn't get the contract, Sprint, TMobile etc. If one of them had made the deal then, they would be in the same situation (or worse) as ATT. Trying to expand a network that has grown exponentially and at the same time keeping up with technology advancments.
    I am amazed at the level of whining from within the IT industry when you guys should have some sort of idea as to what would have happened to any carrier that took a bite from the Apple.