The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Verizon launches iPhone 4

With Verizon’s addition of the popular iPhone 4 to its lineup last week, many cell phone users finally got what they were calling for.

Last Tuesday’s announcement, which came more than four years after the iPhone was first introduced in 2007, was the culmination of months of speculation about the end of AT&T’s exclusive hold on Apple Inc.’s sought-after smart phone. Verizon has set the price starting at $199.99 for the 16 GB version, according to its website.

The addition should be a boon to Verizon in the battle between wireless carriers, said Gene Laczniak, a professor of marketing.

“A resounding yes,” Laczniak said about the boost to Verizon. “There have been a lot of folks waiting for Verizon to have an iPhone because of its popularity.”

AT&T, with 27 percent of the mobile device market share, has held its own against Verizon (31 percent). AT&T (38 percent) actually leads Verizon (27 percent) in smart phone market share. But that could soon change, according to a survey by the Rockville, Md.-based firm ChangeWave Research.

The December survey reported that 16 percent of all AT&T subscribers planned to purchase a Verizon iPhone; 26 percent of those already owned an iPhone. Fifteen percent of T-Mobile subscribers and 10 percent of those on Sprint also planned to make the switch.

Reasons that dissatisfied AT&T customers are planning to switch carriers range from poor reception (42 percent) to dropped calls (27 percent) and cost (17 percent), the survey said.

But some AT&T subscribers didn’t have any complaints, or any plans to abandon their network.

“I’m happy with my AT&T service and have never had any problems with it,” said Brian Keogh, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, in an e-mail. “My iPhone is great and so far works beautifully. I think most people who want to switch are going to become very frustrated by the termination fees these companies charge and will end up not doing so or waiting until their contracts run out.”

The ChangeWave survey also revealed AT&T’s dropped calls record has improved, with only 4.7 percent of subscribers reporting dropped calls in December, down from 6.0 percent last September. Only 1.7 percent of Verizon customers reported dropped calls in December, also down from 1.8 percent in September.

Laczniak said even if many customers remain loyal, AT&T will likely alter its marketing strategies.

“They’re going to step up their advertising, continue to talk about the iPhone, but also talk about the Android phones they have,” he said. “You’re going to see a lot of push by AT&T of other phones that they have, and these other phones are operating on 4G, rather than the new iPhone with Verizon, which is operating on 3G.”

Verizon’s addition of the iPhone could also affect the competition between tech giants Apple and Google. Google produces the Android operating system, the iPhone’s foremost rival. Laczniak said the outcome of that struggle is still uncertain.

“I don’t know how that’s going to turn out, in part because the whole cell phone industry is so volatile,” Laczniak said. “There are certain sectors that are high growth, high investment, high volatility – that’s what the cell phone sector is. It’s just a very, very competitive sector. All you have to do is watch television commercials to know how much money is being spent.”

Calls to both Verizon and AT&T were not returned as of press time.

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