ATT’s contract stickiness

TechCrunch reports that there are some disparities between the estimates of ATT subscriber loss expected if they lose their exclusivity on the iPhone and how ATT CEO Randall Stephenson is portraying the situation.

Earlier today, a study by Credit Suisse was released stating that 23 percent of iPhone users currently on AT&T would switch to Verizon if that carrier offered the phone. That number is slightly off from the 34 percent that was previously reported, but is still pretty massive. In total, that represents about 1.4 million customers that would jump ship from AT&T to Verizon without hesitation. But speaking today at the Goldman Sachs media and technology conference, Communacopia (yes, awful name), AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson had something interesting to say about possible defections.

Stephenson noted that 80 percent of AT&T’s iPhone base is either in family plans or business relationships with the carrier and that these type of customers tend to be “very sticky.” So essentially what he’s saying is that those 80 percent of iPhone users probably won’t leave even if they want to. Wow, that’s a fresh approach.

Excerpt from TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/22/att-iphone-verizon/

Sure, the ATT CEO is predictably putting emphasis on the side of the equation that makes them look best to their investors. The study cited even admits that only 3% of customers would break their contract to switch. More troubling for ATT should be the other report that says 34% of customers waiting for a new carrier before they upgrade their iPhone.

It may be that the past stickiness of family plans and business relationships may not be such a reliable predictor of the future.