Why did Apple have to partner with AT&T?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Manic Mouse, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. Manic Mouse macrumors 6502a

    Manic Mouse

    Jul 12, 2006
    Is there any reason why Apple have to partner with a service provider to sell the iPhone? It seems the network and being forced to buy a 2 year contract is putting a lot of people off the iPhone. Why couldn't they simply sell it, unlocked, directly to consumers through Apple stores or their website? Is visual voicemail the only reason? Because that's pretty weak...
  2. dfnj123 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2007
    More people have AT&T then any other service provider and almost every service provider would give a 2 year contract
  3. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Because Verizon turned them down?

    A partnership with a provider means Apple can do things other phone manufacturers can not. Visual VM is the first.

    Supporting the device will also be much easier with a single provider.

    Look at what ATT has done so far - allowed Visual VM and whatever that required in terms of upgrading/changing their infrastructure, the reports of EDGE being beefed up, activation through iTunes and not in store.

    A new day has dawned in the cell phone industry.
  4. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    Because there are things they wanted to do that required a partnership with someone capable of managing a large network and cell phone service. They could not do it all themselves or the phone would have been lacking and not had some of the features. Things like Visual Voicemail etc would not have happened.

    They clearly had a vision of what they wanted and knew they needed a network partner to make it happen.
  5. dsnort macrumors 68000


    Jan 28, 2006
    In persona non grata
    Along with these other answers, I would add that keeping control over the UI is a big factor for :apple: . It seems I remember this being discussed when the iPhone was first rumored, that Verizon is bent on putting their craptacular "Vcast" UI on all phones they sell. I could be wrong though.
  6. richard4339 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2006
    The AT&T GSM network is also more of a worldwide standard, meaning less of a re-architecture to release the future models in other parts of the world.

    Personally, I wish they had gone with Verizon. I'd be standing in line at a store now if the phone used Verizon, but I won't go near AT&T again (though I've had a hard time repeatedly convincing myself of this)
  7. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    Be strong. :D

    I wouldn't be in line for V1 if they had gone with Verizon, but i'd be pay attention for V2.

    The coverage Verizon offers here can't be beat......
  8. DaveGee macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2001
    No matter WHO Apple choose to go with... Given the revenue sharing model Apple formulated, an exclusive was necessary... as such, a contract would have been mandatory.

    Now it just comes down to carrier...

    Cingular - ~70% of the US base would be mad
    Verizon - ~70% of the US base would be mad
    Sprint - ~80% of the US base would be mad
    T-Mob - ~85% of the US base would be mad

    Numbers aren't exact but close enough to get my point across...

  9. macfreak86 macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2008
    So, more people would prefer a 3g network over the outstanding customer service that tmobile has. Yeah, that makes sense. (NOT)
  10. robanga macrumors 68000


    Aug 25, 2007
    They got the best deal. In my area the AT&T 3G network is second only to Sprint and let's face it Sprint is not looking so healthy these days. Secondly if you leave the country as a Sprint or Verizon subscriber you have to go to certain heroic efforts to get a phone to take with you.

    From that perspective, AT&T was the better of the two choices.

    Features will trump customer service every time. Do I need to send you to marketing school? :p
  11. Knowlege Bomb macrumors 603

    Knowlege Bomb

    Feb 14, 2008
    Madison, WI
    Where was this said??

    And how does this even make sense? The original iPhone, as most will remember, didn't run on a 3G network. AT&T was chosen because it's one of the cellular giants in the US (and because Verizon turned them down; Apple would not agree to their horrible interface).
  12. izibo macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2004
    I use 3G ten or fifteen times a day. I call customer service once every three months, if that. You tell me...

    Oh, and by the way, the mid 90's called. NOT.
  13. macfreak86 macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2008
    HA HA. NO. I still think apple should have chosen tmobile anyway, because i have a friend with an iphone and he's constantly dropping calls. I wonder how many people out there drop calls all the time on their iphones. I'm with tmobile and i never drop calls. EVER! Plus, in my opinion, the battery life is better on the blackberries than the iphone.
  14. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Amazing how many people ignored the question here and simply argued why they picked AT&T over someone else.

    Not the question, guys! (Yes, a few of you got it.)

    The simple answer is that an unlocked iPhone would cost somewhere between $600 - $900. If Apple had not worked out a revenue-sharing deal with a provider, that's what they'd have to charge to sell the things.

    If you're thinking the iPhone could have succeeded at those prices, well, the short anwer is 'no,' it couldn't have.

    Sure, with AT&T people end up paying for it in the end, but the cost is hidden and spread out, so they're ok with it. Funny how that works, isn't it?
  15. Turmoil macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2008
    Cash Money. Dollar Bill, Dollar bill.

    ATT runs a fine network and the only reason you get an iphone for less than it costs to make it is the deal with the carrier.

    hint: Apple is a business.
  16. macfreak86 macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2008
    I was replying to the 2nd quote.
  17. bstpierre macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2008
    I have never dropped a call either. I am on AT&T with the iPhone 3G
  18. macfreak86 macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2008
    Well whooptie-friggin-do for you.
  19. dissdnt macrumors 65816


    Aug 3, 2007
    Because AT&T would take it right in the poop shoot from Apple. Verizon wouldn't.

    AT&T no bars in all places.
  20. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    If Apple decides to put out a netbook, be prepared for another AT&T contract.

    Like it or not, AT&T has been a pretty faithful partner for them.
  21. kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    The first is correct. After trying for a year to get Verizon to take the (unseen) iPhone, Apple went back to Cingular and signed a deal during a quick two day negotiation.

    The UI had nothing to do with Verizon turning down Apple. (Anyone who's ever had a smartphone from Verizon knows that they don't put their dumbphone UI on it. At most Verizon might've wanted their logo on there somewhere.)

    Some reasons are detailed here.

    ATT has stated that they didn't bend at all.

    ATT didn't do a lot. They did spend a couple of months boosting EDGE performance (which affects all EDGE users, not just Apple) instead of adding 3G. And they added visual voice mail, which is actually a pretty simple job.

    Otherwise, they just gave Apple the monthly subsidy that customers usually get. And they didn't have to deal with warranties. No extra skin off ATT's back.

    In return, Apple was forced into an exclusivity agreement, which is great for ATT. They can continue to sell RIM and WM phones all they want, while Apple loses out on 2/3 of the US market... giving the other cell phone makers plenty of breathing space to catch up.
  22. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    T-Mobile is a little fish in the US compared to the other carrier choices.
    Verizon and AT&T are the big boys.
    T-Mobile is still playing catch up in the US market with their non-standard 3G implementation.

    The argument about call quality can be made for or against ANY carrier.
    It all depends on where you're at.

    And this little tid bit might make your head spin.
    In many major US markets, AT&T and T-Mobile share tower equipment for GSM voice service. If you have coverage for one, you'll have it for the other. ;)
  23. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    They didn't have to. But the reason is obvious: They would have sold only a fraction of the current number. The Prada came out before the iPhone but didn't have a carrier subsidy. How many people do you know purchased one of those?
  24. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    And dropped calls are mostly handset related. My iPhone will have No Service while my GF's bb Curve in the same spot gets 2-3 bars.

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