Apple Watch Boosts Verizon Activations Amid Phone and Tablet Subscriber Loss

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 24, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Verizon, the largest carrier in the United States by subscriber count, saw a monthly subscriber increase of 260,000 during the first quarter of 2018, reports Bloomberg, largely due to an increased number of smart watch activations.

    The company actually lost phone and tablet subscribers last quarter, but the dip in subscribers did not hurt its bottom line because of smart watches, wearables, and other connected devices like vehicles.

    Image via Bloomberg​

    Verizon says it added a total of 359,000 subscribers who are using smart watches and other devices during the quarter, making up for the loss of 24,000 phone customers and 75,000 tablet customers.

    There was no breakdown in the number of activations by specific device, but Verizon's jump in smart watch subscribers comes following the September release of the Apple Watch Series 3, the first Apple Watch with LTE connectivity.

    The Apple Watch Series 3 allows customers to use the Apple Watch sans iPhone for the first time, as it has its own cellular connection. Verizon and other carriers charge customers $10 per month to add a smart watch to an existing smartphone plan.

    Verizon shared the numbers during its first quarter 2018 earnings results, released this morning. Verizon stock has since surged as much as 3.6 percent.

    Article Link: Apple Watch Boosts Verizon Activations Amid Phone and Tablet Subscriber Loss
  2. mi7chy macrumors 603


    Oct 24, 2014
    Contributed to their 1Q18 chart since that's when I dumped them for exceeding my BS threshold. Also, they lack T-mobile DIGITS feature that allows same number on multiple devices that would be beneficial for wearables.
  3. dmylrea macrumors 68030


    Sep 27, 2005
    I don't think people stay with their cellular watch plan long. It's fun for a while then people realize they're wasting money on it.
  4. biglipps66 macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2012
    If they would allow people with old plans to add watches, they would have even more
  5. siddavis macrumors member

    Feb 23, 2009
    If the carriers could figure out how to let people add a watch to a business account, I think they would have more as well. Right now, I have one phone with service that my company pays for. I can't just add a watch to that because my company won't pay for that service. I'd be happy to pay for it myself... well, maybe not at $10/mo, but that's another thing.
  6. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    260,000 devices been made up for combined. not bad
  7. toomanydatsuns macrumors newbie


    Feb 17, 2017
    Bay Area, CA
    My exact experience. I wanted stainless, didn't care about LTE. Figured I'd try it because of Verizon's promotion, but... All the apps I use regularly on the watch require a connection to my iPhone to function, so... What's the point? Some future watchOS that allows watch apps to operate more independently from the iPhone would make this really compelling. But then again, so would a first party Podcasts watch app, and we're all still holding our collective breath for that one.

    So, right now, it's $10 a month so that I can make and recieve phone calls (which I do maybe twice a month, max), and stream Apple Music in the rare event that I go for an outdoor run somewhere that has good LTE coverage. Not really worth it. At least I get a bright red crown so I can let other people know that I have the new hotness.
  8. cmwade77 macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2008
    Wow, what a way to spin things, all of those watch activations are people who still have phones on Verizon, otherwise the watch service won't work anyway. So ultimately this means that while people added watches, overall they still lost subscribers, they just got some subscribers to add watches.
  9. ackmondual macrumors 65816


    Dec 23, 2014
    U.S.A., Earth
    Consumers generally aren't on contracts anymore for phones, so they can just buy a phone themselves and swap in their SIM card, or call up GSM models to ge their service transferred. Sounds like there are deals going on with watches though, so go figure.
  10. roncron macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2011
    How much does Verizon charge for Apple Watch cellular service? Not just the $10 monthly fee, but the total cost including various taxes and fees tacked on to the monthly charge?

    Also, is there an initial fee, like a “new device connection fee” or some such? I think Verizon charges a one time fee around $30 to add an iPad to one’s cellular plan. Is there a fee like that for adding an AW to your plan? How much is the fee?
  11. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    South Dakota, USA
    If they continue to lose subscribers the old contracts and subsidized phones will make a come back to “lock” them in. Just you wait and watch...
  12. toomanydatsuns macrumors newbie


    Feb 17, 2017
    Bay Area, CA
    Total cost of an AW, pulled from my VZW account page just now:

    Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 15.30.24.png

    Their "Line Access Charge" is a flat $30, same as an iPad. When I got it, they had a promotion running where they were waiving the fee and the first three months of service if you activated a new Watch during some set timeframe. That may have ended, but I wouldn't be surprised if they kept it going or ran more promotions like it.
  13. Appleaker macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2016
    People might be trying it out, in the end it’s not going to succeed at the ridiculous $10 a month, especially with ‘increasing’ iPhone costs. It should be $5 and in cases where it’s the same as their phone plan but accessible via the watch, it should be free or at the very most $1 a month.
  14. NoNothing macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2003
    I am confused by many of these first comments. For example, Verizon absolutely allows you to add a watch to a business account (my sister did) and you can always add a watch to an existing plan.

    I don't think most of the comments here are based on actual information.
  15. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    I pay $13.35 (after taxes) a month for the AW LTE service. I did not have an activation fee, as it was waived with the trial.
  16. npmacuser5 macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2015
    I wonder if the subcontracting aspects of these wireless providers impacts their numbers. I have Xfinity Mobile, uses Verizon wireless network, how does the number of Xfinity Mobile users count? ;)
  17. DblHelix macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2009
    Even with wearables t-mobile assigns a dummy number. I know. I just switched only to switch back. Was on digits my phone was a 415 number my watch’s official number was a 707 number
  18. Swift macrumors 68000


    Feb 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    The cellular companies hated subsidizing all those iPh es and the premium Androids. But the thing is, it kept me logged into AT&T for years, with my Steve Jobs original account. It tied people in. Now, people are happing in and out like crazy. Since I left AT&T two years ago, I've been with T-Mobile, then I switched to Virgin and took advantage of a plan where the first 6 months would cost you $1 a month. Kept the old iPhone 6 going. Six months and $6 later, I decided to go for the iPhone X. I went to Sprint but then immediately a T-Mobile plan to get two lines and each one costs $35. So I got the iPhone X for $30 a month plus $35 for my line, unlimited everything, and for free. You know, they probably would have done better to give us the phones on the front end and get us paying for it in the back end. You didn't used to be able to switch phones when you felt like it. You could pay after you paid for 23 months. Now, my plan means if I like, I can switch to a newer phone-- the 9, anyone? the XI? -- after a year. To be clear, the relationship with the popular phones was monopolistic. You had to keep the phone, and the network, until it was paid off. Not any more. Guess that special deal you made with Jobs wasn't so bad, after all. And the lost 24,000 phones and tablets? The gaining of hundreds of thousands of phones and tablets is not as important as the leaving of 24,000.
  19. roncron macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2011
    So the $10/month for AW cellular is really closer to $12 or $13 with taxes and fees. And possibly an activation fee.

    And if there’s an activation fee, you can’t just pay for cellular when you need it, like you can with an iPad pre-paid account that you activate and control from settings right on the iPad.

    No, you’re paying $140 to $160 per year no matter how little you use it.

    I’m sure there are people for whom the cellular internet access on AW is a godsend and well worth the price.

    But I can’t imagine me using the feature nearly enough to justify the cost of the service.

    Why can’t they offer prepaid plans like they do on cellular iPads that you can use without activation fee when you need it and not pay for it when you don’t?

    But back to the article. At these prices, it’s hard for me to see how AW activations would make up for losses in phones and customers.
  20. rp2011 macrumors 65816


    Oct 12, 2010
    Speak for yourself.
  21. GDF macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2010
    Totally agree. I would have already purchased a celluar Apple Watch and activated it.

  22. democracyrules macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2016
    TMobile continuously lacks of coverage areas and signal strengths cannot beat Verizon superb widest area coverage and strong signals inside buildings. Go Verizon!!
  23. Markoth macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2015
    Behind You
    The only quarter there's a dip in that chart is 1Q17. 1Q18 shows an increase in subscribers, albeit at a slower rate than previous quarters.
  24. TheRealTVGuy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2010
    Orlando, FL
    I know everyone has their own use case, but my experience has been quite the opposite. I’m on the lake quite a bit with my jet ski, and LOVE the fact that I can stay in touch having nothing but my watch on me. Well that and a wetsuit. ;)
  25. DuskRune, Apr 25, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018

    DuskRune macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2008
    You mean that’s not just a thing with every carrier? Did not know that.

    *The More You Know*

    Paying $95 a month for 3 lines all unlimited and a watch with T-Mobile

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