AT+T plus iPhone

The iPhone may be killing AT&T.

AT&T thought they were getting exclusive rights to sell the hottest new phone, but it turns out more people are using it as a mobile data device than as phone. Data services are very expensive for mobile carriers, that's why they've typically been very expensive for consumers. Apple talked AT&T into selling a special unlimited iPhone data plan at a discounted rate. iPhone users access more data more often than other device owners, and pay less for the access!

Although iPhone subscribers make up the bulk of new customers for AT&T, I don't think AT&T is making much money at all off of them. AT&T subsidizes the phone as well as the service. I doubt AT&T has very high margin on the iPhone at all. Fully loaded with all the costs of handling wireless data, it's possible AT&T is losing money on many iPhone subscribers.

Many people are pushing Apple to end their exclusive contract with AT&T as soon as possible. I think when iPhone users try to jump ship to other carriers, they'll find their accounts will wind up more expensive or more limited. I think all carriers will raise their prices for supporting iPhone usage. Once they do, AT&T can follow suit.

Instead of Apple dumping AT&T, I think AT&T should dump Apple as soon as possible.

2009.06.15 at 6:00pm EDT