As the iPhone’s launch date nears, carriers are scrambling to design deals to entice consumers. Until recently, the dominant firm was AT&T, which had an exclusive contract with Apple to distribute iPhones in the US. However, now Verizon and Sprint will also be featuring the iPhone in their vast catalogue of smartphones. Now that all the carriers will be selling a similar, if not, identical device, the only defining feature would be in the form of the service plans. Now Sprint plans to roll out an unlimited 4G plan for the iPhone 5 to directly compete with AT&T, and hopefully convert a significant number of existing AT&T iPhone users.
AT&T already suffers from a bad reputation of poor phone service. Personally, the complaints seem overrated because AT&T has done admirably well to satisfy its consumers. However, it has stumbled and it is now in danger of falling behind its rivals in terms of technology. AT&T’s initial iPhone success also became its curse because the iPhones in particular began to degrade the quality of AT&T’s networks. Unlike other smartphone uses, iPhone users are more likely to surf the internet and use on-line applications. Moreover, iPhone users are more likely to use video calls. Hence, they take up more network bandwidth than other smart phones in general.
The 4G package is interesting because we are still not entirely sure if Apple will be rolling a 4G enabled iPhone 5. However, if it does, then Sprint will be in luck since it already has a fully-fledged 4G network. Verizon is slowly rolling out a 4G LTE network (faster than regular 4G). To complement its new package, Sprint will most probably offer better prices and better customer care services (something it really takes pride in).
Overall, it is doubtful that most users will simply switch in droves (something we noticed even when Verizon entered the fray) but if Sprint is able to pull things off, we might see a small but significant change in the market composition of iPhone users.