Unless you are not an iPhone user or do not know anyone who is, then you’ve probably heard complaints about AT&T and their iPhone support (or lack there of). Shortly after the iPhone exploded on to the mobile phone scene and changed everything (kudos Apple), it had competitors trying to catch up. It took a long time before any other phones were even in the same area code as the iPhone because of it’s apps that could do anything and the smoothness by which it is operated – a staple all Apple products have become synonymous with. Really, the Achilles Heel of the iPhone, since the beginning, has been it’s exclusive carrier, AT&T.
I’ll hand it to AT&T for getting the exclusive contract to carry iPhones. I’m not sure what they did or how they convinced Apple that it would be in their best interest, but somehow they did. I know that Apple is all about “exclusive” – their software is proprietary, their machines are closed, they’re not “compatible friendly” in general. Still, to limit their phones to one carrier that has some of the spottiest coverage of all the major carriers and limits the extensive abilities of their power product by capping data usage and adding huge charges for basic features (ie – texting), well, it leaves me confused.
But then it happened again. AT&T’s initial contract with Apple for the iPhone ends this year (2010), but they are in serious talks to get an extension and remain the exclusive iPhone network carrier through 2011. Which would get them to their projected 4G network availability date.
4G will change the game
Apple recently had a couple leaks of their new iPhone 4G (once on accident, once on purpose, I think). There are two 4G networks in the US right now… and AT&T is not one of them… yet. Sprint has already launched it’s 4G network and word on the street is that it is screaming fast. HTC (maker of the Hero for Sprint, an Android phone) has the first actual 4G phone on a 4G network available now – the HTC Evo. Verizon has plans to have a 4G network up in the next 2 years.
I expect that when AT&T exclusive contract extension is up in 2011, iPhone’s will go multi-carrier and release their iPhone 4G on Sprint and Verizon stay exclusive except move to Verizon as their carrier. Just a hunch. If you trust me, sell AT&T stock late this year and buy Verizon.
What do you think?
Are you an iPhone user? What has your experience been with AT&T?
Any HTC Evo users out there? How’s that working out for you?