AT&T: iPhone users sticking with us

The iPhone is now available all three major U.S. carriers, but AT&T says it's still doing a brisk trade selling the smartphone and retaining existing subscribers.

All three big U.S. carriers offer the iPhone now. "Meh," says AT&T. Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

iPhone users have not fled AT&T in droves now that Apple's smartphone is no longer exclusive to the carrier--or at least that's how AT&T tells it.

Glen Lurie, president of emerging devices for AT&T, told MarketWatch that "churn has not moved at all." Churn is an industry term referring to customers who cancel services.

He added that AT&T has seen record sales of the new iPhone 4S, despite customers having to wait as long as two weeks for the new device to show up. Lurie credits part of Apple's seemingly boundless potential for growth to more IT managers allowing the iPhone into the enterprise for business use by employees.

Lurie refused to play favorites though, telling MarketWatch that other manufacturers like Nokia and RIM--maker of the BlackBerry--shouldn't be counted out in the battle for smartphone market share.

Apple introduced a CDMA iPhone for Verizon in the first quarter of 2011 and then added Sprint with the introduction of the iPhone 4S, making the Apple smartphone available on the three largest carriers in the United States.

The Verizon iPhone 4 is a rare exception in Apple's recent history in that its sales figures were seen by many as a disappointment. Despite pervasive problems with AT&T's network, especially in New York City and San Francisco, it seems that few users were willing to break a contract, buy a new phone, and jump ship.

It appears, according to another story out this week, that if Steve Jobs had had his way, there never would have been an AT&T or Verizon iPhone. According to reports, Jobs had envisioned replacing traditional carriers with a whole new network running off Wi-Fi spectrum.

 

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