AT&T: Non-Exclusive iPhone Won’t Affect Our Earnings

JustinSaneV2

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AT&T Downplays iPhone Pact Risks
Carrier Says Any Loss of Exclusivity Won't Have 'Material' Impact

AT&T Inc. said Friday it doesn't expect to suffer a "material negative impact" from the end of its exclusive arrangements to carry handsets, including its lucrative deal for Apple Inc.'s iPhone.

The comments came in a lengthy discussion of the value of exclusive deals in AT&T's latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It was the first time the carrier has addressed the most closely watched issue regarding its future in such depth in a formal filing.

"We do not expect any such terminations to have a material negative impact on our wireless segment income, consolidated operating margin or our cash from operations," AT&T said in the filing with regulators on Friday.

The iPhone is AT&T's best-selling phone and is widely considered to be single-handedly keeping the carrier from losing customers to rival Verizon Wireless.

AT&T has held exclusive rights to cary the device in the U.S. since it was introduced in 2007.

Speculation that the exclusivity contract could be nearing an end has weighed on AT&T's stock price.

Explaining the lack of impact on its business, AT&T said more than 80% of its contract customers are on family or business plans that are less likely to see turnover.

The company also said it now carries a range of smartphones, reducing its dependence on any particular one, and said new devices continue to roll out in the fast-changing industry.

"Such arrangements may not provide a competitive advantage over time, as the industry continues to introduce new devices and services," AT&T said of exclusive deals.

Were AT&T to lose exclusivity over the iPhone, the carrier likely wouldn't see large financial repercussions in the short term, since most customers would still be locked into their contracts, analysts said. But a slowdown in customer additions could muddy projections for the company's future, they said.

"The question that people will care about is the operating metrics," said Macquarie analyst Phil Cusick. "It's the growth trajectory of the business that's at stake."
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703309704575413672727878934.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
 

ToroidalZeus

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Dec 8, 2009
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Yes because people will go over to Verizon that charges extra for visual voicemail, doesn't offer early upgrade and get a phone who's resale price will be crap compared to AT&T because only a few carriers in America would support it's iPhone.
 

SVT Amateur

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2006
421
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Tyler, Texas
I think it will be good for AT&T to lose exclusivity as it will make the iPhone carrier market competitive which is good for us end users. With that said I haven't experienced any issues with coverage after switching from Verizon to AT&T this week so I'm a happy camper so far and currently wouldn't switch back to Verizon even if I wasn't in a contract.
 

wmp.dll

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2008
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Not really. See Canada.
I don't know where that comment came from.

Canada has 5 iPhone carriers, and so far we have seen some pretty decent data offerings (6gb/$30 + iPad sharing), and the price of the phone was dropped in Canada.

Believe me, its so much better with more carriers.
 

Michael CM1

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2008
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I wouldn't doubt that. The number of people who jumped ship for Verizon or anybody else would probably be minor in AT&T's overall scheme. A reduction in iPhone traffic might also allow less expenditures in network upgrades or customer support. Don't forget that AT&T also does landlines, Internet, U-verse and numerous other cell phones.
 

jsh

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Aug 25, 2008
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I don't know where that comment came from.

Canada has 5 iPhone carriers, and so far we have seen some pretty decent data offerings (6gb/$30 + iPad sharing), and the price of the phone was dropped in Canada.

Believe me, its so much better with more carriers.
I'm from the US and have been in Canada for a year. I think AT&T is miles ahead of the carriers here, in terms of service and plan offerings (prior to the event bding if the unlimited plan.) the fact is that the release of iphone on other carriers really didn't change the prices. They all just follow each other. Yes, the iPhone hardware is slightly cheaper and the Apple store sells unlocked phones. But the carrier plans are horrendous.
 

bella92108

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Mar 1, 2006
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Yeah the US wireless industry is completely backward compared to the rest of the world. The rest of the world generally has 2-5 GSM carriers in a country, so the playing field is a lot more level. In every other country, prices are lower because when you have a cellphone and someone calls or texts you, you don't pay, they do... so the US industry having only 1 GSM player somewhat limits the progress in the country because handsets and networks go hand in hand, so it makes the choice of carriers sticky. In the UK, you buy the phone then pick your carrier, and if you don't like what you pick, you switch.... simple as popping out the sim and popping in the new one... Imagine how quickly AT&T would have to get their act together if users had THAT option? :)
 

ToroidalZeus

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Dec 8, 2009
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Yeah the US wireless industry is completely backward compared to the rest of the world. The rest of the world generally has 2-5 GSM carriers in a country, so the playing field is a lot more level. In every other country, prices are lower because when you have a cellphone and someone calls or texts you, you don't pay, they do... so the US industry having only 1 GSM player somewhat limits the progress in the country because handsets and networks go hand in hand, so it makes the choice of carriers sticky. In the UK, you buy the phone then pick your carrier, and if you don't like what you pick, you switch.... simple as popping out the sim and popping in the new one... Imagine how quickly AT&T would have to get their act together if users had THAT option? :)
Ya we got it so bad with unlimited mobile to mobile along with nights and weekends, rollover, a-list and don't forget being able to get two year pricing on upgrades in only 1 year.

Plus other countries have carrier locks as well, so those people can't just switch if they don't like what they got any more then we can.
 

bella92108

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Mar 1, 2006
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Ya we got it so bad with unlimited mobile to mobile along with nights and weekends, rollover, a-list and don't forget being able to get two year pricing on upgrades in only 1 year.

Plus other countries have carrier locks as well, so those people can't just switch if they don't like what they got any more then we can.
Based on your reply you're not very familiar with other countrys' networks.

And all the a list and m2m r just gimmicks to try and lock you to a carrier further. If you seriously think the US cell industry is in line with Asia or Europe it shows you're not very well traveled.
 

ToroidalZeus

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Dec 8, 2009
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Based on your reply you're not very familiar with other countrys' networks.

And all the a list and m2m r just gimmicks to try and lock you to a carrier further. If you seriously think the US cell industry is in line with Asia or Europe it shows you're not very well traveled.
On my family plan I have used 1800 anytime minutes this month. 500 free night and weekends and 2,500 free mobile to mobile minutes. Of course we pay both ways for our minutes but still gimmick? I think not.

By the way a list isn't going to lock you to a carrier because it's specifically for people who aren't on your carrier. So if I have 7 people I always talk to on Verizon, bam, all calls are free.

Other countries have good deals if you plan on not using your cell phone much American plans are the other way around (well not so much anymore with the 2gb data plan) If you use your cell phone a lot, then you get a much better deal.

Also don't forget how much larger the Area's our carriers need to operate. Most people want a carrier who has 3G service in both LA and NY, so of course the carriers have to charge a little bit more. But it's not like the plans are insanely expensive.
 

cfs123

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2010
129
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Based on your reply you're not very familiar with other countrys' networks.

And all the a list and m2m r just gimmicks to try and lock you to a carrier further. If you seriously think the US cell industry is in line with Asia or Europe it shows you're not very well traveled.
I am looking at a copy of my wife's parent's family plan. They live in Japan and I can tell you that if you want all the bells and whistles, there isn't much difference in price between their plan and ones in the US.
 

Josh0806

macrumors member
Jul 14, 2010
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On my family plan I have used 1800 anytime minutes this month. 500 free night and weekends and 2,500 free mobile to mobile minutes. Of course we pay both ways for our minutes but still gimmick? I think not.

By the way a list isn't going to lock you to a carrier because it's specifically for people who aren't on your carrier. So if I have 7 people I always talk to on Verizon, bam, all calls are free.

Other countries have good deals if you plan on not using your cell phone much American plans are the other way around (well not so much anymore with the 2gb data plan) If you use your cell phone a lot, then you get a much better deal.

Also don't forget how much larger the Area's our carriers need to operate. Most people want a carrier who has 3G service in both LA and NY, so of course the carriers have to charge a little bit more. But it's not like the plans are insanely expensive.
Here in the UK we have very similar deals with free calls to the same network or free evening and weekend calls. Similarly, we have rollover minutes and have very similar data usage charges. You can get an iPhone from as little as £25 a month here (roughly $40) which includes minutes texts and data!
 

ToroidalZeus

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Dec 8, 2009
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You can get an iPhone from as little as £25 a month here (roughly $40) which includes minutes texts and data!
Ya but it's going to be a low allowance of minutes and data, so like i said "if you plan on not using your cell phone much " But if you do, like the other poster said, "all the bells and whistles" then you still gotta pay (a good bit of coin) to play. Is it going to be cheaper then the USA? Probably then again you have to remember how much less your carriers operating expenses are, so of course they can pass on some savings to you.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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denial is not just a river in egypt. Of course it will affect them, why do you think they bumped up many people's upgrade date. To lock them into a new 2 year agreement and high ETF. If they didn't have any cause for alarm, they'd not do that.
 

bella92108

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Mar 1, 2006
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Ya but it's going to be a low allowance of minutes and data, so like i said "if you plan on not using your cell phone much " But if you do, like the other poster said, "all the bells and whistles" then you still gotta pay (a good bit of coin) to play. Is it going to be cheaper then the USA? Probably then again you have to remember how much less your carriers operating expenses are, so of course they can pass on some savings to you.
On O2 I had £10 a month for unlimited data.

In much of Europe and Asia the iPhone is free with at least about a $50 plan. I think it's funny that people even challenge the statement that the US is behind the rest of the world in network and pricing.
 

bella92108

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Mar 1, 2006
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denial is not just a river in egypt. Of course it will affect them, why do you think they bumped up many people's upgrade date. To lock them into a new 2 year agreement and high ETF. If they didn't have any cause for alarm, they'd not do that.
I agree 100%

Other carriers in the world give free iPhone or crazy good freebies to entice customers to switch whereas ATT and other US carriers use fear and huge penalties to try and prevent it.
 

ToroidalZeus

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Dec 8, 2009
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On O2 I had £10 a month for unlimited data.

In much of Europe and Asia the iPhone is free with at least about a $50 plan. I think it's funny that people even challenge the statement that the US is behind the rest of the world in network and pricing.
Except o2 unlimited was "fair use" unlike AT&T. Plus neither carrier is going to have unlimited soon so it's a moot point.

Actually talking about o2 plans. Here is some fun math for you.

AT&T $115 mo for unlimited minutes, text + mms & 2GB of data + 199 for iPhone @ 24m contract price.

o2 £70 a month for unlimited minutes, text & 2GB of data but mms is still pay per use, phone included @ 24m contract price

Now here is the kicker, AT&T allows early upgrades without any penalty.

So after 1 year with the yearly iPhone upgrade;

AT&T is $115 (month fee) x 12 (months over 1 year) + $199 (iphone cost) = $1579

vs.

o2 £60 (monthly fee) x 24 (because you have to pay off your full contract) + £10 (bolt-on so 2GB is equal compared to AT&T) x 12 (months over 1 year) = ~$2487
 

bella92108

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Mar 1, 2006
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Except o2 unlimited was "fair use" unlike AT&T. Plus neither carrier is going to have unlimited soon so it's a moot point.

Actually talking about o2 plans. Here is some fun math for you.

AT&T $115 mo for unlimited minutes, text + mms & 2GB of data + 199 for iPhone @ 24m contract price.

o2 £70 a month for unlimited minutes, text & 2GB of data but mms is still pay per use, phone included @ 24m contract price

Now here is the kicker, AT&T allows early upgrades without any penalty.

So after 1 year with the yearly iPhone upgrade;

AT&T is 115 (month fee) x 12 (months over 1 year) + 199 (iphone cost) = 1579

vs.

o2 £60 (monthly fee) x 24 (because you have to pay off your full contract) + £10 (bolt-on so 2GB is equal compared to AT&T) x 12 (months over 1 year) = ~$2487
To clarify a couple points... the "Early AT&T upgrade offer" wasn't a goodwill measure that AT&T did. Almost all of the "official carriers" of iPhone made the same offer, INCLUDING O2 in the UK, so strike that one. And it's somewhat funny how you say "allows, without penalty" ... oh really, I can save $200 by agreeing to extend an additional year with a new $325 early termination fee and a $19 upgrade fee and NOT pay a penalty? Wow.... so if there's no "penalty" then what's the $19? A "good luck fee" ????

Furthermore, O2 offers free unlimited web browsing (yes, even on an iPhone) when you load a minimum of 15 pounds each month... So basically on the prepaid side you spend 15 pounds and get unlimited internet, AND the calls and texts you make eat away at the 15 pounds, so if you're a light talker that's your monthly bill.

You comparing unlimited to unlimited is a bad comparison as well, because in the US almost nobody has unlimited, and in Europe a fraction of the few even have it, because a bulk of the problem leading to needing unlimited is having to pay when someone calls or texts you. In any other country it's less of an issue because if you get unwanted calls or texts, you don't pay for them, only when you dial out.

So your math is incorrect. There's never been a case where the US is cheaper on AT&T than the european carriers. If you use the mindset of an american to calculate you'll come out on top, because the US carriers want you to think you're getting a deal.

To those who say "we have all these great things like FREE A-List, and FREE nights and weekends, and FREE mobile to mobile" thats horse sh@# because they're not free... you pay for them and it's built into your price plan.
 

ToroidalZeus

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Dec 8, 2009
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To clarify a couple points... the "Early AT&T upgrade offer" wasn't a goodwill measure that AT&T did. Almost all of the "official carriers" of iPhone made the same offer, INCLUDING O2 in the UK, so strike that one. And it's somewhat funny how you say "allows, without penalty" ... oh really, I can save $200 by agreeing to extend an additional year with a new $325 early termination fee and a $19 upgrade fee and NOT pay a penalty? Wow.... so if there's no "penalty" then what's the $19? A "good luck fee" ????
o2 did a half assed early upgrade policy, basically saying you can pay a smaller penalty for upgrading now. AT&T gave anyone who's contract ended this year that 6 months off but they still have the standard AT&T early upgrade policy which is what I based my math on.

It's an 18 dollar upgrade fee btw, sorry forgot to add that (along with tax), still doesn't change the balance of anything.
Furthermore, O2 offers free unlimited web browsing (yes, even on an iPhone) when you load a minimum of 15 pounds each month... So basically on the prepaid side you spend 15 pounds and get unlimited internet, AND the calls and texts you make eat away at the 15 pounds, so if you're a light talker that's your monthly bill.

You comparing unlimited to unlimited is a bad comparison as well, because in the US almost nobody has unlimited, and in Europe a fraction of the few even have it, because a bulk of the problem leading to needing unlimited is having to pay when someone calls or texts you. In any other country it's less of an issue because if you get unwanted calls or texts, you don't pay for them, only when you dial out.

So your math is incorrect. There's never been a case where the US is cheaper on AT&T than the european carriers. If you use the mindset of an american to calculate you'll come out on top, because the US carriers want you to think you're getting a deal.

To those who say "we have all these great things like FREE A-List, and FREE nights and weekends, and FREE mobile to mobile" thats horse sh@# because they're not free... you pay for them and it's built into your price plan.
You notice how you are basically saying it's cheaper because we are paying for less service? Ya of course it's going to be cheaper. What you are doing is compared fractions with different denominators. It's only when you put everything on an even level that you can truly compare the costs. (btw a-list, nights and weekends and mobile to mobile are all irrelevent once you are talking about unlimited)

So seeing the math as it truly is and then giving a numerical valve to +'s like early upgrade and -'s to fees makes AT&T's prices much more attractive then the alternative. (also mms too)
 

bella92108

macrumors 68000
Mar 1, 2006
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o2 did a half assed early upgrade policy, basically saying you can pay a smaller penalty for upgrading now. AT&T gave anyone who's contract ended this year that 6 months off but they still have the standard AT&T early upgrade policy which is what I based my math on.

It's an 18 dollar upgrade fee btw, sorry forgot to add that (along with tax), still doesn't change the balance of anything.

You notice how you are basically saying it's cheaper because we are paying for less service? Ya of course it's going to be cheaper. But when you put everything on an even level (btw a-list and nights and weekends and mobile to mobile are all worthless once you are talking about unlimited) then it's obvious the small perks like early upgrade (and mms) make AT&Ts prices much more attractive then the alternative.
Not just saying O2... but global carriers in general did about the same thing as AT&T. It was a way to incent people to get on the new contract feeling good about themselves for getting "some good will from their carrier" not usually realizing it signed them to a new Terms and Conditions Doc with higher termination fees and lower data caps.

Bottom line is you can say it how you want, but I've been all over the world and prices are equal or less in every country I've been to. Not sure where you got your O2 package info, but their "everything plan" is 65 pounds, or $103 USD including taxes. AT&T's $115 comes out to about $140 with taxes and surcharges. That's 30% higher.

And at the end of the day, QUALITY difference between AT&T and ANY carrier in the world is a HUGE gap. I recently drove from San Francisco to Boise. I'd say my phone worked less than 2% of the time (in SF Bay area, in Reno, and in Boise once about 2 miles from the edge of town)... I can drive out into the austrialian outback and have 5 bars of service 100 miles from the nearest building.

There's no need to be defensive... since the invention of cellphones, the US has been far behind the curve in terms of the international market. Only recently have handsets become almost as current as the rest of the world, but the US is still behind. Nokia phones in Asia have had front-facing-video cameras for 5 years, hence why people in Asia say "big deal" to facetime. The US has the lowest cellular usage rate of any developed nation... still 1 in 5 people don't have a cellphone in the US. Crazy huh? Americans love their landlines. I have to have a landline in the US because the cell networks were unreliable... whereas in Asia and Europe the cell lines are more reliable... and in south america and asia the infrastructure renders the landlines less reliable so people tend to lean toward cellphones.
 

dagored

macrumors 65816
Sep 18, 2007
1,156
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I think its great. I am a Verizon "rollover". Was an Alltel customer and happy, but then was taken hostage by Verizon. My service began to go down hill. Customer service was somewhat rude - lets use arrogant.

When my contract ended in early May I refused any type of free offer from
Verizon. Made the switch in June and have not looked back. Service has been great. Customer service is excellent. I called a few times getting things clarified. Love the rollover minutes.

If Verizon does get the iPhone, all the complainers can leave. More bandwidth for the rest of us.
 

bella92108

macrumors 68000
Mar 1, 2006
1,610
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I think its great. I am a Verizon "rollover". Was an Alltel customer and happy, but then was taken hostage by Verizon. My service began to go down hill. Customer service was somewhat rude - lets use arrogant.

When my contract ended in early May I refused any type of free offer from
Verizon. Made the switch in June and have not looked back. Service has been great. Customer service is excellent. I called a few times getting things clarified. Love the rollover minutes.

If Verizon does get the iPhone, all the complainers can leave. More bandwidth for the rest of us.
Yeah the US is very hit or miss with cellular coverage. When I lived in Minneapolis the coverage was AMAZING on AT&T... absolutely flawless. However when I relo'd to San Francisco it was spotty coverage, at best. So bad that AT&T techs told me out of 870 calls attempted they only showed 180 completed. It was bad. Thankfully I'm outta that mess.

Hopefully AT&T plugs the gaps in coverage, because I agree, their customer service isn't too bad. I was premier so maybe it was a bit better, but yeah, verizon had arrogance that was bizarre, acting like customers were enslaved to them or something. Thankfully when LTE becomes mainstream the carriers coverage and technology will be relatively even, so it'll be more like the competitive market in the rest of the world.

Won't it be nice to finally be a country where you can chose your carrier based on their quality, not because you're forced to to get their handset? :)
 

ToroidalZeus

macrumors 68020
Dec 8, 2009
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Not just saying O2... but global carriers in general did about the same thing as AT&T. It was a way to incent people to get on the new contract feeling good about themselves for getting "some good will from their carrier" not usually realizing it signed them to a new Terms and Conditions Doc with higher termination fees and lower data caps.
I'm not talking about anything special AT&T did for the iPhone 4. They normally offer you an upgrade every year as long as you spent over $99 on a line. Also AT&T allowed you to keep your current data cap unlike some global carriers which forced you to get a new lower one if you bought the phone at a subsidized price.

Bottom line is you can say it how you want, but I've been all over the world and prices are equal or less in every country I've been to. Not sure where you got your O2 package info, but their "everything plan" is 65 pounds, or $103 USD including taxes. AT&T's $115 comes out to about $140 with taxes and surcharges. That's 30% higher.
65 is for the 18m plan, I used 60 for the 24m plan to make it more comparable, plus you need to factor in a 10 pound 1GB bolt on, again to make it comparable.

Also I get charged $15 on 300 dollars worth of service in CA, so I don't know how you get $25 on only 115 :confused:

There's no need to be defensive... since the invention of cellphones, the US has been far behind the curve in terms of the international market. Only recently have handsets become almost as current as the rest of the world, but the US is still behind. Nokia phones in Asia have had front-facing-video cameras for 5 years, hence why people in Asia say "big deal" to facetime. The US has the lowest cellular usage rate of any developed nation... still 1 in 5 people don't have a cellphone in the US. Crazy huh? Americans love their landlines. I have to have a landline in the US because the cell networks were unreliable... whereas in Asia and Europe the cell lines are more reliable... and in south america and asia the infrastructure renders the landlines less reliable so people tend to lean toward cellphones.
Yes Nokia is soo great, that's why you always see people lining up outside at the Nokia store before a new launch :rolleyes:

FYI since the iPhone is number 1 cell phone in the world that makes America ahead the curve.