After my Rant the other day regarding the rumor that AT&T will charge for Face Time over wireless I got to thinking about how Apple can get back to innovation without network constraints. Apple proved to the world that people are willing to deal with a lesser quality network for a better quality phone. Due to the exclusivity agreement Apple made with AT&T ,many users switched carriers to get their hands on the iPhone. The AT&T market share was boosted as a result. As Android devices have caught up and started rolling out, networks have gained a bit more leverage against Apple. Now that AT&T profits are thriving they are not as concerned with pleasing Apple, In fact, they would rather be doing business with Microsoft. So what would happen if Apple offered exclusivity to Sprint?
Sprint would obviously benefit tremendously from exclusivity as the iPhone is still wildly popular and still maintains a huge piece of market share. The problem here is iPhone users tend to use a lot of data. This is a problem because Sprint will most likely have to invest in their networks to handle the extra demand. The good thing is, Sprint is in a better spot than AT&T was when they first debuted the iPhone. Sprint would probably drop some calls and have some Data issues but it is likely they would invest and catch up, Hopefully a bit faster than AT&T did. As mentioned before, iPhone users care more about the phone than the network. If the phone is awesome we will deal with the network.
Apple has more to bring to the table than Spring. With roughly 30% of the smartphone market share Apple can boost new user contracts tremendously. Even if only half of all iPhone users make the switch, Sprint’s market share would grow by 16%. A percent that would boost Sprint up with the ranks of AT&T and Verizon. With those kinds of numbers, Apple has some bargaining power. This means Apple could have everything. Tethering, Face Time, and Unlimited data are just a few things that could be offered at no extra charge. Apple could take the control back and give it’s users the best possible smartphone experience once again.
While this is interesting food for thought. iPhone’s current sales are too good to make such a drastic move. As the iPhone starts falling in popularity however, a move like this could be just thing to bring it right back. The move would have to be two fold. Apple would need to release a product that is Amazing, Innovative, and completely free from limitations. The completely new and improved iPhone would also have to be exclusive. People want what they can’t have.
In case you are wondering why I left T-mobile out of this , it’s because they don’t currently have a network that could support the iPhone. T-Mobile uses a different technology that the iPhone currently does not support (A least for 3G and 4G). Since Sprint uses the same technology as Verizon and iPhone already supports it, Sprint would be a more viable option at this point. Maybe T-Mobile will adapt. Maybe Apple will change their technology. I would personally prefer it if T-Mobile had iPhone exclusivity due the international support they would bring.
So How bout it? would you switch to Sprint to keep the iPhone?Joe Hoffman