AT&T "not worried" about loss of iPhone exclusivity

As the carrier with the highest number of dropped calls, lowest customer satisfaction rating, and smallest 3G coverage area, AT&T’s lifeblood over the last few years has been its iPhone exclusivity.

However, the company seems to be deluded in its thoughts on how it will be affected once this exclusivity deal ends, reports AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson spoke about the issue at an investor conference in New York, saying it’s unlikely the customer base will drop AT&T just because the iPhone goes to another carrier.

He said that 2/3 of all iPhone owners were previous AT&T customers. So somehow this Stephenson guy thinks 1/3 is a small number, and if 1/3 of all iPhone owners dropped AT&T it wouldn’t be a problem. Umm, most people would disagree with that.

Now, of course, no one is expecting that the moment a Verizon iPhone arrives, there will be a mass exodus of AT&T customers. However, with the iPhone no longer exclusive to AT&T, future iPhone buyers are going to be extraordinarily less likely to choose AT&T. By all metrics it is the worst of the four major carriers in the US. And Stephenson just doesn’t get it. Of the millions of people who now have an iPhone in the US, 33% of them were not AT&T customers before. That’s a big number.

Despite what anyone at AT&T corporate might say, losing iPhone exclusivity is a big deal. Like, a really big deal. Its profits are going to fall off a cliff as soon as another service provider announces its own version of the iPhone. Case closed.