In retrospect, the Apple’s Antennagate was probably the company’s worst PR disaster up to date. However, a recent poll suggests that AT&T, the iPhone carrier, may have done more damage. In fact, according to a recent poll 20% of mobile phone users said that the antenna issues with the iPhone 4 prevented them going ahead a buying one. Meanwhile, 60 % claimed that Apple exclusive contract with AT&T was to blame.

The poll itself was conducted by the analyst firm Piper Jaffray and was based on the opinions of 258 phone users in the downtown area of Minneapolis.  However, not all may be lost because Apple has hinted that it might include other carriers like Verizon next year.

Analysts found that while the iPhone 4 had serious antenna issues, the quality of AT&T service also played a significant role in dampening the iPhone sales.

The mobile users who were polled were mostly BlackBerry users. RIM still dominates the market but it is facing fierce competition from rivals, especially the iPhone.

While the study seems to confirm earlier assumptions regarding Apple and AT&T, one interesting point that was highlighted is that regardless of the marketing skills of the manufacturers, the vast majority of users still pay close attention to the quality of the service. While Apple has been known to rely on its hardcore fans to boost its sales, in the long-term it will need to improve its products and its partners.