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According to Pali Research, AT&T will net a little under 1 million new subscribers in 2010. Only a quarter of the subscribers they obtained in 2008. If it's true that the iPhone could cross the street and set up shop with Verizon or T-Mobile once AT&T's contract with Apple expires, it is easy to see a lot of AT&T subscribers following suit.
Pali's statement comes on the heels of AT&T pushing to keep the iPhones exclusivity all the way through 2011. The Wall Street Journal claims that they were tipped off by an anonymous source that AT&T CEO Randal Stephnson is negotiating with Apple to extend their contact beyond next year's expiration date.
If Pali Research's predictions hold true, AT&T's future could depend on the alleged negotiations to retain the iPhone.
As the iPhone exclusivity period rolls off between AT&T Wireless and Apple, a material number of AT&T customers will flock to Verizon’s superior network...We estimate that nearly a third of AT&T’s post-paid customers are being retained by AT&T primarily because of the iPhone exclusivity.
A lot of the research is based on the recent studies by both Wired and PCworld showing that AT&T has a 3G connection that is sub-par in comparison to that of Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
We know of a few people, including a writer, that refuse to get an iPhone purely for their passionate dislike for everything AT&T... but would probably get one if the iPhone switched carries... like T-Mobile perhaps? There is talk of it in the UK.