Users still want an iPhone 4 - just not from AT&T

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Verizon could be set for a boost, to say the least, with a new survey suggesting that nearly a third of US cellphone subscribers would switch to the carrier if it started offering the iPhone.

It's been widely rumored that Verizon would start offering the holy grail, sorry, phone, sometime during the next year - rumors fuelled by a statement from AT&T suggesting that it expected to lose its exclusivity deal.

Over half of Verizon customers told market research firm Morpace that they'd buy an iPhone from Verizon if given the chance. But 20 percent of T-Mobile  customers, 22 percent of Sprint customers and 23 percent of AT&T customers also said they were 'somewhat/very likely' to purchase an iPhone with Verizon.

The findings show the high level of dissatisfaction with AT&T. The company made something of a mess of the way it handled preorders for the iPhone 4 and has also been criticized over privacy issues.

AT&T's general service is also an issue.

"As successful as the Apple iPhone has been, many mobile consumers who have been attracted to an
iPhone have not switched to the AT&T network simply based on the popularity of Apple’s smart phone," says the report.

"In addition, a sizeable percentage of AT&T’s iPhone customers are known to have become dissatisfied
with its carrier’s service and/or data plans, including network coverage, dropped calls and other issues."

Indeed, AT&T may have trouble selling any more iPhone 4s to existing customers, according to the report. Nearly all 34 percent of AT&T iPhone owners who have not yet upgraded to the iPhone 4 say they are waiting for the iPhone to become available through another mobile carrier first, it says.

But, says Morpace, if Verizon does start to carry the iPhone, it may face problems of its own. Clearly, sales of other devices will be impacted. In addition, says the firm, Verizon's network may struggle to cope with the bandwidth demands of data-happy iPhone users.