If surveys of ChangeWave Research members are any indication, the Apple iPhone has paid big dividends for AT&T, essentially allowing it to overcome a perceived “satisfaction” and “dropped calls” gap compared to Verizon Wireless.
But there also are signs the “Apple effect” might be waning, as stated buyer intentions are trending back in Verizon’s favor, possibly suggesting a saturation of the obvious iPhone market as Verizon brings functional substitutes to market.
The December 9-15, 2008 survey of 3,800 respondents shows a very-close market share between AT&T, with 31-percent share, and Veizon with 30-percent share. As you might expect, Sprint Nextel has not yet fully solved its churn problem, showing a 10-percent share decline since the last survey, with T-Mobile unchanged at 10-percent share.
But Verizon handily leads all the others in customer satisfaction. Some 49 percent of Verizon customers say they are very satisfied with their provider. About 30 percent say they are very satisfied with AT&T. About 27 percent of T-Mobile customers say they are “very satisfied.” About 25 percent of Sprint Nextel customers say they are very satisfied.
But there seems to be some movement in the churn area. Verizon had been the clear leader among users who indicated they were going to switch providers, and were thinking Verizon was the carrier they would defect to, at least until the introduction of the iPhone.
Since news of the iPhone introduction, the roles have reversed and it is AT&T that has had the upper hand in the race to win defecting users. But Verizon seems to be gaining momentum again.
About 27 percent of respondents still identify AT&T as the firm to which users are thinking they will move. But intention to switch to AT&T is down four percentage points from September 2008.
At the same time Verizon, reported by 22 percent of respondents as the carrier to which they are inclined to move, has gained three percentage points since September 2008, a net swing of seven percentage points.
There is encouraging news for Sprint Nextel on the churn front, as five percent of respondents indicated they were inclined to switch to Sprint Nextel, a gain of two percentage points since the last similar survey.
T-Mobile, though, seems to battling a headwind, as five percent of respondents indicated they were leaning to switching to T-Mobile, down two percentage points from the last survey.