Ever since the launch of the iPhone, AT&T has been pushing the device almost exclusively, ignoring almost completely the Android and RIM sector of the devices. This was mainly due to the fact that they were the exclusive carrier for the device in the US. Since the news first got out about Verizon receiving the iPhone as well and preparing to launch it in February of this year, AT&T saw itself forced to look around for new devices to help keep up the subscription rates. Both AT&T and Verizon had some drops in their sales in Q4 once the announcement was made.
A pretty large part of users are holding off buying any new smartphones, while waiting for the iPhone to hit Verizon, this change obviously making an impact on both the carriers and smartphone manufacturers alike. AT&T’s CEO announced that they will start pushing Android smartphones a lot stronger now that the iPhone will be getting to Verizon, in order to compensate for the loss this is causing them. Some of the numbers they have made public regarding this are focused on the numbers of new subscribers they’ve managed to bring in during Q4 of 2010. As such they managed to sign only 400,000 new customers in the last 3 months of 2010, this being the lowest number in the past 5 years.
Considering that Verizon, who has been putting a lot of effort and money towards marketing the Android line of devices, is on a pretty close second place to AT&T, the company does see this change towards Android powered smartphones as natural. Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T said that “We’re going to be a heavy participant in the Android market this year, so you’re going to see a significant shift in mix”, this mix being the phones sold by the company.
The only question which still bugs me to some extent is – will the company commit so many resources to marketing the Android line as we saw Verizon do? Will they be committing enough resources to this sector or will they be balancing between the two boats never really sure in which one to get? If this will be the case and if they won’t be able to set up a stable connection between their Android lineup and the Apple lineup, Verizon might be able to take the lead this year. Yet with such names as the Motorola Atrix, Motorola Bionic and many others announced earlier this year at CES, I’m pretty sure that AT&T will have its hands filled with great new products to start market to a new segment of the population.
No matter what the future holds for both AT&T and Google’s Android OS, as long as the marketing plans will be setup with the power and customizability of Android devices in mind, I think they both will be fine. This, combined with the upgrades AT&T brought to their network, should give them a small edge in this upcoming battle of the carriers. Until next time, are you holding out for an iPhone on Verizon, and if yes, WHY? Let us know in the comments J1