At a conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made some interesting statements regarding the iPhone and its future plans. Given the fact that AT&T is one of the largest service providers in the US, his words did not fall on deaf ears. He also spoke on the rise of Android and the company’s recent attempt to purchase T-Mobile. Overall, AT&T and its other rivals are geared for a busy season as a variety of new devices hit the markets: most importantly, the new generation of the iPhone. Hence, all of them will be planning bitterly competitive strategies to outdo one another.
According to AT&T, the possibility of Sprint also acquiring the iPhone will not really change the competition between the three major service providers. Verizon already has access to the iPhone and AT&T did not experience the vast migrations many analysts predicted. Instead, AT&T has been able to hold on to its core customer base without much difficulty. This is probably because people are loathe to actually change carriers and the stiff severance penalties makes this a lot harder. Perhaps, the company is also touching on another subtle fact about the iPhone; that it is part a trend that is becoming less and less exclusive.
Another interesting point that came up amongst the major service providers including AT&T is the position of Android within the industry. Android already accounts for the largest share of smartphone market and lately it has powered an array of incredible devices that make the iPhone look amateur. There was a broad consensus that overall battle now seemed between iOS and Android but many concluded that there was ample room for a third competitor which could be either Research in Motion (RIM) or Microsoft (the company recently partnered with Nokia).
Last but not least, there was an interesting discussion regarding AT&T recent attempt to buy its rival T-Mobile. However, the acquisition has come under intense scrutiny by the US justice department and many think that the deal may not be completed. If so, it would be a huge loss for AT&T, which has invested a lot in the deal. The company maintained that T-Mobile was a depreciating asset and that the acquisition would allow the AT&T to reach a wider range of consumers and upgrade the overall service provided. Skeptics are more focused on the potential loss of competition within the market, which could drive up prices in the long-run and stifle innovation and modernization.