Monday, January 10, 2011

AT&T's Monopoly over the iPhone Ends with Announcement of New Verizon Option

Finally, a choice of service on the iPhone!

Posted by: Noël Jones

I am so excited! I have wanted to get an iPhone forever, but just couldn't bring myself to sign on with only one option for service--after all, this is why we have laws against monopolies in America--to make sure that competition in the free market keeps options open and prices down. It has been rumored for two years now that contracts from Verizon might soon become available on the iPhone, giving customers an alternative to exclusive ATandT contracts (and quite likely lower contract prices due to competition). Now, the news is official--in the Wall Street Journal, Shayndi Raice and Yukari Iwantani Kanereport that availability for purchase usually occurs within 2-4 weeks of an announcement. So if that is correct, iPhones with Verizon contracts should be available at the Apple Stores before Feb. 11th, since the official announcement by Apple is happening tomorrow.

Many who live or do business in New York have also been eager for this development because ATandT's service has been so congested by millions of iPhone users in the extended New York area that there have been steady complaints of dropped calls. It will be interesting to see whether or not there is a mass exodus to Verizon, causing Verizon's service to become overloaded and ATandT's service to suddenly improve...


tunsie said...

first of all my nieces and nephews had to teach me how to use the i am sure they will have to teach me how to use ANY smart phone i get.but i cant understad why someone wants the internet on thier phone...It scares me to think that there R teens surfing while driving....El told me when U finally learn how your phone works and U know all the functions,it is time 4 a new phone,2 years r up.I dont know,honey.I dont want to be a slave to my phone.I was in a restaurant,there was a family there all playing with thier phones....sweetheart....I dont want that to happen 2 me.....I love u noel......tunsie

Smart Dude said...

AT&T and the iphone is NOT a monopoly. from wikipedia:
a monopoly exists when a specific individual or an enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it...Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition to produce the good or service and a lack of viable substitute goods.
if AT&T was the ONLY provider of cell phone service (as the old AT&T was the sole provider of land line phone service)THAT would be a monopoly.
apple has exclusive distribution; you can't just buy an apple product anywhere, so their iphone marketing fit in with that business model.
in this case, however, there ARE viable alternatives from MANY competitors.
the iphone is not the Second Coming; it's just another friggin' phone.

noel jones said...

Smart Dude--thanks for the post!

AT&T had a 5-year exclusive contract with Apple for providing service for the iPhone--so for the last 5 years, there has only been one choice for service, and it was more expensive than other plans.

At the time the iPhone came out, there was nothing like it. Over the years, other smart phones have been developing along the way, but have not until the last year and a half or so begun to offer anything really close.

That may not technically qualify as a monopoly by definition, but it did create a scenario where anyone who wanted the iPhone HAD to buy an AT&T plan, and if they were unhappy with that service, they did not have the leverage of being able to threaten to leave for another carrier.

People have been complaining of dropped calls in New York for years because the service was so saturated, and there was nothing customers could do about it, except give up the expensive iPhone they had bought for an inferior phone. Now there will be more competitive pressure to provide better service to retain customers.

Call it what you want, but this is good news!

noel jones said...

tunsie--i hear you, but i think the real danger with phones and driving is not having access to the internet, but TEXTING while driving, which can be done on almost any phone without the internet.

one great feature of the iPhone i am looking forward to with regard to driving is the built in GPS--i have a horrible sense of direction!

noel jones said...

"monopoly" definition from

[muh-nop-uh-lee] Show IPA
–noun, plural -lies.
exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices. Compare duopoly, oligopoly.
an exclusive privilege to carry on a business, traffic, or service, granted by a government.
the exclusive possession or control of something.
something that is the subject of such control, as a commodity or service.
a company or group that has such control.
the market condition that exists when there is only one seller.

Smart Dude said...

plenty of phones have GPS. I used a blackberry storm w/ verizon for awhile and there was TWO GPS apps included! IMO, the blackberry could do whatever the iphone could; of course, the apple disciples would disagree. I worked w/ 2 guys who had iphones; they talked of how 'great' it was, but could never exactly say 'why'. meanwhile, I never dropped a call, could read and send email, watch youtube videos, play games, etc.
I'm sure apple is going to sell lots of iphones now, lots of new gee whiz, whiz bang I GOT AN IPHONE!-new customers, but in the end, it's still just another smart phone.
don't believe the hype.

noel jones said...

any "disciples" who would like to follow the hype live can do so today here:

Smart Dude--you are right on about the "disciple" quality of Apple enthusiasts--it is a near-religious loyalty. I don't think they would argue with that idea either--Apple has for decades pushed the envelope on new development in the technology, and people tend to get excited about being part of the cutting edge. I suspect we will be hearing from some "disciples" soon ; )

noel jones said...

iPhones will be available with Verizon service in stores starting Feb. 10 and they can be pre-ordered...

noel jones said...

i finally got my iPhone (my first smart phone) and it's changing my life already! still learning about everything it can do little by little...

FYI--i ended up getting the AT&T plan because it turns out that the Verizon plan is the same price, but the iPhone on Verizon cannot multi-task like the AT&T plan--in other words, on AT&T you can talk on your phone while looking up something on the web at the same time--or using your GPS at the same time, etc. you can't on the Verizon plan, which is really stupid--i can't believe they are coming onto the scene with less capability and charging the same price!