After two years, it looks like the iPhone may not be exclusive to the AT&T network in the United States for very much longer, according to AT&T mobility CEO , Ralph de la Vega, who has not said for sure, but has strongly implied this rumor.
When de la Vega was asked what the company plans to do if this rumor is in fact true, he replied "the iPhone is a good source of new subscribers, but is only part of a smartphone portfolio that gives good results." He believes that it will not affect AT&T too greatly, when the exclusive rights expire.
Although de la Vega stated the iPhone has been a "good source of new gross (subscribers) for us," only one third of new subscribers purchased the iPhone in the third quarter.
It is rumored that the deal will terminate in mid-2010, possibly heading over to the Verizon Network. Verizon isn't looking too bad these days, first the Palm Pre, and now the Droid series of devices. Hopefully this puts those rumors to bed! Still, there will be a lot of jostling for market share in the coming twelve months.
In order to continue to compete with other networks, AT&T will continue to offer the feature that allows the devices to perform voice and data functions simultaneously, which is not available on some other networks.
Obviously the CEO is not worried about losing this deal, declaring,
Even if we lose exclusivity (of the iPhone), we will be the only carrier with HSPA 7.2 (a network specification being deployed at AT&T) and (new devices) will work on our network faster. I feel as strongly as ever (about) the capability of devices in our lineup and (am) super-excited about the deals with e-readers and personal navigation devices.
To increase revenue after the loss of exclusivity, AT&T is teaming up with device manufacturers to construct Android phones that are expected to work best with the AT&T network.
Even with the exciting new phones coming to the network, de la Vega admitted that the iPhone has been a key attribute to AT&T, recording a record number of activations in the third quarter, totaling 3.2 million. The iPhone has been the easiest device to use for customers, according to de la Vega, and AT&T has had a good run with the phone.
We spend an awful lot of time looking for the next great device and the next great technologies, and we think iPhone has set the bar... All the manufacturers are figuring out how to get close, but iPhone is still the best in the world at this point.