back to article AT&T chief: 'All your iPhone are belong to us'

It's commonly accepted that AT&T's iPhone exclusivity will end soon when Apple adds Verizon to its US carriers — but AT&T's chief exec isn't worried, citing the fact that his subs are trapped. "If you look at the iPhone base, about 80 per cent is either on a family-talk plan or in a business relationship with us," CEO Randall …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what a complete turd

    that is all

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just drop over the border

    Iphone 4's are available unlocked in Canada.

    1. MacRat

      Citation Needed

      Do you have a URL for this statement?

      1. Neil Greatorex

        Mush, this is not Wikipedia

        El Reg journos don't make this stuff up.

        Understand? Good, now sod off with this "Citation Needed" bollocks.

        1. Dan 10

          "El Reg journos don't make this stuff up."

          Perhaps not, but I think Macrat was questioning the AC who stated that unlocked iphones are available in Canada. Not sure that Macrat is an el reg journo?

          1. Neil Greatorex


            Didn't see the *tiny* arrow indicating a reply. Nonetheless "Citation needed" is for another plaice..

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Too bad the iPhone 4 doesn't support Verizon CDMA protocol, making that border run completely useless.

  3. Lurekn


    When AT&T makes a change to your contract, say for instance - they bump the cost of Text Messaging up $0.05 for overages - there is a caveat in your contract that allows you to cancel your service without an early termination fee.

    Sooooo.... if your looking to get out of contract, do it when AT&T makes it free for you, like when they changed their Cellular Data plans from unlimited to restricted, you could have canceled for $FREE.99

    just an FYI

    1. Lance 3


      When they introduced the capped data plans, all existing customers were grandfathered in and were not subject to the cap! It was NEW customers that were capped under the new plans/pricing!

    2. Susan-iphone

      They wait until your contact ends... then burn you.

      That's exactly why some carriers are VERY careful to "if you are an existing customer... you can stay with your existing plan until it ends"... *THEN* they raise their rates.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Who else is fed up with...

    ...corporate puke-inducing arrogance?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    We've locked our customers so tightly in that they couldn't possibly ...

    ... where is everybody?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Once Verizon's service is loaded down with IPhone users the way AT&Ts is, well, I guess many users will switch to Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.....

    It's funny, people care more about having an iPhone more than they care about service.

  7. Heff

    they aint that sticky

    the majority of people I know with Iphones are on AT&T because they wanted the device, not the carrier, some are even in areas where AT&Ts signal coverage never extends to 3G anyway.

    all verizon would need to do to offset it would be to do some sort of plan where you trade in your old Iphone for a 4g from them, and they cover your subscription severance and lock you into a 2-year contract. Hell, if its technically possible, let them keep their old phones, cover their subscription severance and lock em into a 2year contract.

    If all verizon has to do to net 20% of AT&Ts iphone customers is cover their subscription severance, then Im pretty sure they'll find a way to do it.

  8. Iain 15


    I am not sure about US contract law, but here it would be consider an unfair term (Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977) for a consumer contract to contain a penalty clause greater than the total remaining value of the contract at any given time.

    I changed from o2 to orange about halfway through an o2 contract but orange offered to, and did, pay the balance of the contract just to get my custom. Wouldn't be surprised if verizon do something similar for its prospective customers.

    1. Lance 3

      Different technology

      They could use the same phone; while the frequency bands are the same, the technology is different. Verizon had the choice to move to GSM/W-CDMA back in 2000, they already made their mind up when they tested it and the answer was NO.

  9. renynzea

    The Meaning of Sticky...

    First article that actually made me sign up to comment on it...

    Sticky in the business world does not mean "locked in". If you are stuck in a contract, that is locked in. Sticky means that you have other products or services that, combined, make it less enticing to switch to an alternate vendor. For example, if you have a checking account and a debit card, the debit card is a sticky product, because it makes it less likely you will close the checking account. Real estate is by its nature sticky, because it is a hassle to move.

    For business, users may not be able to change their plans. That may be determined by the company. For family plan users, they would have to switch over the entire family, or they would end up paying more across two carriers which--again--may not be an option.

    Commend the spin you put on it though. Quite provocative.

  10. Narg

    I'm not churning...

    I'll stick with AT&T thank you very much. My sister uses Verizon, and I seriously don't want those issues she deals with. Plus, a quick calculation shows that an iPhone on Verizon would cost more anyway.

    AT&T has done well for me for over 2 decades. I've no reason to switch now or ever.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    iPhone is AT&T and T-Mobile Compatible

    You have to realize that Apple would have to create a new phone that would accept Verizon's wireless devices. That in turn would cost Apple big $$$$ to do so. So I think Verizon will be struck...

    AT&T and T-Mobile = GSM technology

    Verizon and Sprint = CDMA technology

    No Verizon or Sprint iPhone anytime soon... Sorry to burst the bubble.

    1. flashoverride


      Ya, AT&T and T-Mo uses GSM for 2G and UMTS (W/CDMA) for 3G. Both are going LTE for 4G.

      Verizon uses CDMA for 2G, CDMA2000 1xRTT and 1xEV-DO for 3G, and will be going to LTE for 4G.

      Sprint uses CDMA2000 and iDen and has gone WiMax for 4G, but they have ensured that the antennas and most of the equipment they bought can be dual-purposed to LTE.

      The fun part is that even if you buy a 4G phone on AT&T or Verizon, even though it could theoretically roam onto either LTE network (asumming the correct radio band), it couldn't fall back to 3G/2G.

      1. Wallyb132

        Am i the only one...

        "The fun part is that even if you buy a 4G phone on AT&T or Verizon, even though it could theoretically roam onto either LTE network (asumming the correct radio band), it couldn't fall back to 3G/2G."

        Am i the only one that has read all the recent news about the soap opera that is mobile/wireless technology and connect the dots?

        its really not hard to do, just follow the head lines: Verizon working on 4G mobile tech standard LTE + Verizon iphone rumored + Qualcomm makes new all-in-one mobile chip + intel buys infineon wireless + Next iphone to use LTE 4g tech + Apple dumps infineon wireless chippery eyeballing qualcomm + Verizon iphone rumored even more + Qualcomm's new mobile all-in-one chip first to do GSM / CDMA / LTE + Verizon to roll out LTE to 30 NFL cities by the end of the year + Verizon iphone rumored for Jan 2011 release = Apple is using Qualcomm's new GSM / CDMA / LTE chip in the next iphone, which will make it (theoretically) usable on any network, Verizon is the first to get the new iphone and it will be release right after Verizon finishes its LTE roll out to 30 major cities, target: first week of Jan 2011.

    2. Wallyb132

      Flawed logic...

      "Sorry to burst the bubble" - If that statement was true you wouldnt have posted anon...

      Now for your bubble...

      Lets do some line by line debunking... it seems that the failures of your logic started with the title to your comment

      "iPhone is AT&T and T-Mobile Compatible" <--- Wrong, the Iphone is only fully compatible with at&t as T-Mobile uses a different 3g band thats outside of the iphones radio capabilities (or configuration).

      "You have to realize that Apple would have to create a new phone" <--- Apple has to create a new phone anyway, if they want to keep up with the technolog evolution, Long Term Evolution that is

      "that would accept Verizon's wireless devices" <--- Why would an iphone need to accept Verizon's wireless devices? its not a base station or cell tower, so it wouldnt need to accept any otehr wireless devices, or did you mean to say that it would have to be compatible with verizon's wireless network technology?

      "That in turn would cost Apple big $$$$ to do so" <--- You're right about costing Apple big $$$$ to make a CDMA only iphone, and you're probably right that cost being to high for Apple to make a CDMA only version, but thats irrelevant, because Apple isn't making a CDMA only version of the iphone, they're making an LTE iphone, using Qualcomm's new GSM/CDMA/LTE all-in-one super duper chip...

      "So I think Verizon will be struck..." <--- I hope you dont do predictions for a living, or at least any predictions that impact peoples financial well being, because you suck at it.

      "AT&T and T-Mobile = GSM technology" <--- correct statement, however pointless and irrelevant

      "Verizon and Sprint = CDMA technology" <---correct statement, however pointless and irrelevant x2

      "No Verizon or Sprint iPhone anytime soon... " <--- that statement is half right, sprint will likely not see an iphone due to their decision to back WiMax over LTE.

      "Sorry to burst the bubble." <--- The only bubble popping around here is yours, and i'm not sorry about it, one bit...

      Since you seem to be oblivious to the obvious, i'll explanify it for you, Apple isnt making a "Verizon" version of the iphone, or even different versions of the same iphone, what they're making is an iphone capable of connecting to multiple network types, one iphone for GSM > CDMA > LTE, one iphone to rule them all. It just so happens that Verizon is getting it first

    3. Anonymous Coward

      CDMA Iphone

      According to many reports on the web - of course it could be one report duplicated multiple times , that never happens.- Apple are gearing up their supply chain to start manufacturing cdma iPhones which would have markets in US and China. I think the rest of the world uses GSM. So hopefully for all you US people this will happen Q1 2011

  12. Jonny F

    small % realise they would need to buy a NEW iphone to switch

    One type of question not asked ..

    Do you plan to take your iphone to Verizon?

    Would you spend $200 to switch to Verizon?

    Would you buy a new Verizon iphone to switch networks?

    at&t is GSM, Vesizon is not. a lot of US cell phone users do not realise they can not take their current at&t iphone with them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      ... already switched long ago

      I think 99.99% of the people that have iPhones clearly know they can't put their existing iphone on Verizon.

      ... otherwise... they would have already switched long ago.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I may be wide of the mark...

    ...but I can't help considering VOIP. Most of my time on the phone is spent at home or work; either that or wandering around relatively buit up areas. If more calls end up routed via Wi-Fi then surely that will put a dent in the carriers figures?

    If I had a connection to one of these growing BT hostpot thingies, then I dare say that my telephone bills would drop a bit. I already do most of my browsing and other heavy access when I'm at a Wi-Fi point as it is. If these spots develop and gain in range and accessibility, then surely even though Stephenson sees us as being at the begining of the connected-devices market, I have to wonder how much of that will be using the cell netork.

  14. Nexox Enigma

    The real catch...

    The real reason customers are stuck to AT&T by the iPhone is that AT&T will let them upgrade to the newest, shiniest version before their contract is out.

    Which puts people in the position of A) Having an ancient (older than 12 months) device (What will their friends think? How will they play the newest Sudoku game?) while waiting for their contract to expire, so they can switch providers without a penalty, or B) Renewing their AT&T contract for another 2 years so they can have their precious / revolutionary / magical device as soon as possible.

    I imagine AT&T is counting on Apple's hype to promote option B.

    That said, my AT&T contract (for one of those phones that just makes phone calls) is up, and I've got no motivation to lock myself back in, since they've apparently stopped carrying phones without touch screens or full querty keyboards, both of which are subject to various compulsory data or messaging plan fees. I just want to make some phone calls... And it looks like I'll have to buy a grey market European GSM phone to do so.

  15. James O'Shea

    what he doesn't consider

    ... is the large number of people who are _former_ AT&T cell customers and who left for other carriers for a damn good reason long before iPhones were available, and who will never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, get another AT&T cell contract. Not even if AT&T was the last cell company on the planet. (Yes, that number would include me.) One reason why I have never bought an iPhone is simply that I don't want to go near AT&T's cell service ever again, and really don't feel like jailbreaking the thing as soon as I get it just for the 'joy' of owning one. No, I'll wait until some other carrier offers iPhone service. I currently have a Verizon Windows Mobile phone (strictly because I need it for business) and the contract on that unit expires early next year. If, at that time, Verizon offers iPhones, it'll be bye-bye Windows Mobile. If not, well, by that time we'll have dumped Windows Mobile anyway, so it'll be bye-bye Windows Mobile anyway, and probably bye-bye Verizon at the same time.

  16. David 141


    So he basically admitted that the only reason his customers are sticking around is because they have no choice?

    He couldn't manage to say that the customers might stay of their own accord and manage to keep a straight face saying it?

    I wouldn't invest in a company with that sort of business plan.

  17. Susan-iphone
    Thumb Down

    Drop Verizon iPhone and switch to AT&T instead.

    I think when a Verizon iPhone comes out... millions of people will drop Verizon and switch to AT&T.


    (Isn't it odd the NO ONE would do that.)

  18. Anonymous Coward

    AT&T has to lie to protect themselves.

    I find it *VERY* hard to believe that under 20% of AT&T's iPhone users are "normal accounts". (Non-business groups and non-family plans)

    What did you *REALLY* expect AT&T to tell its stock holders: "When we lose the iPhone, we are going to quickly lose massive numbers of users."

    AT&T can't be honest. It's in their own best interest to lie and say "oh, we aren't worried. Hardly anyone will ever leave us... even though we have the highest dropped-call numbers IN THE COUNTRY... and the all-time worse customer service of any carrier".

    AT&T has to lie about those things. And they do.

    After AT&T loses millions of customers when the new Verizon iPhone comes out... *THEN* they will just pretend to act surprised: "Gee, we had no idea that would happen!!!!".

    1. Wallyb132

      @AC RE:AT&T has to lie to protect themselves

      Sir, I would like to point out that, despite posing a good argument with compelling facts and irrefutable points, there is one small inaccuracy in your statement, sprint has been ranked as having the worst customer service of any corporation the world over, not just ranked worst amongst wireless carriers, but ranked worst out of all corporations anywhere, in any line of business... Thats no easy feat capturing that title. They've been inducted in to the "shitty customer service" hall of shame and recently received the "shitty customer service" lifetime achievement award as well, honoring them for all of the years of relentlessly screwing over customers, showering them with rudeness and mocking condescending behavior, while simultaneously confusing them with never before seen levels of incompetence.

      Though i agree that at&t is horrid, credit must be given where its due...

  19. Mage Silver badge


    Until there is a LTE Verizon the capacity and speed will be rubbish.

    3G can dynamically share between data and voice.

    CDMA/EVDO uses 1/4 size channels and separate data and voice channels, so the peak speed is 1/4 or less and also the network utilisation is less efficient.

    I can see Verizon grinding slow when that get much iPhones or Smart phones that people want to eat data on. Of course it won't affect voice traffic.

  20. Kristian Walsh

    CDMA is too "legacy" for Apple... look to LTE.

    Apple hasn't really covered itself in glory in putting together a WCDMA/GSM handset, despite there being hundreds of cheap off-the-shelf radio modules available. Verizon's CDMA network is virtually US-only, and so doesn't have as many off-the-shelf designs available as GSM. This means that retrofitting an iPhone with CDMA is not going to be quick or easy, especially not for a company with Apple's questionable RF capabilities, and in the long run, it would mean expending a lot of effort to support an obsolescent technology, something Apple have never done: once it's commodity, Apple are out of it, looking for the next big thing, with fat margins.

    However, Verizon are piloting GSM-LTE ("4G") this year, and this may be enough "shininess" to bring a brand like Apple over. Add to this the fact that Apple's current 3G hardware suppliers are no doubt working on drop-in LTE modules, and it may be the iPhone 5, with LTE, that breaks their US carrier-lock. (Verizon's LTE launch is due at the same timescale, but to muddy the waters somewhat, Nokia announced recently that their push into the USA would be based on LTE equipment)

  21. Neil 21

    Unlocked Iphones in Canada

    Copy/paste from Canadian Apple Online store ...

    When you purchase your iPhone from the Apple Online Store, you’ll get it commitment-free. So you can sign up for service with the carrier of your choice and change your carrier at any time. Questions? Call our iPhone experts at 1-800-MY-APPLE.

  22. JaitcH

    iPhone dumping AT&T could be a plus for AT&T

    Since the Lemon 4 was released on to an unsuspecting public AT&T has taken a lot of flack for their network insufficiencies because the defects of the Lemon 4 only served to exacerbate the defects of AT&T.

    Switching networks would likely reduce complaints about AT&T and Lemon 4.

    Besides, since AT&T is offering Android, which doesn't have Lemon 4 weaknesses, AT&T will begin to look good again.

  23. E5B

    In less than six months this conversation will be irrelevant

    As soon as Phone7 is available to the masses on ALL major carriers and multiple hardware platforms this conversation will be as irrelevant as the iphone.

  24. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    contract law and stickiness

    @Iain 15, regrading US contract law -- well, the phone was subsidized -- heavily -- but yeah. The ETF (Early Termination Fee) used to be constant (exit 23 months out of a 24 month contract and it was still the same as leaving in month 2) but after a few lawsuits a few years back it is now prorated.

    Regrading "stickiness", everyone's overlooking the family plans. The ETF does DEFINITELY have an effect (the "business relationships" the AT&T spoeksman refers to would be the ETFs and the people with a FAN discount -- I don't know what FAN stands for but it's a negotiated discount for corporate accounts..). But family plans would also have some effect on "stickiness" -- the effect on a family plan is, each added line on the plan only costs $10, and everyone on the plan shares minutes. Also, there's unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling but it's only within the same cell phone company. So having part of a family plan move from AT&T to Verizon would mean those calls would use minutes whereas with them all on AT&T it wouldn't, and it'd cost more than having everyone on AT&T or everyone on Verizon due to having to buy two buckets of minutes.

  25. Gil Grissum


    When the next iPhone pops up with GSM/LTE/CDMA chippery under the hood, there won't be a reason to stick with AT&T. Verizon is looking really good for alot of people to switch to. I don't know a lot of people who are in love with AT&T's network performance.

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