There’s an interesting post up on TechCrunch that makes a pretty bold claim. From the site:
Smartphones like the iPhone are built from a collection of components, which are sourced individually from suppliersâ€”e.g. the iPhone 4â€™s cellular baseband (the core chipset used in mobile phones to handle voice and data communications) comes from Infineon and its GPS chipset from Broadcom.
Component purchases and manufacturing starts donâ€™t typically reveal strong links to individual handset OEMs. But in some cases components have a DNA which is traceable through the supply chain. For example, iPad rumors became much more concrete when we knew Apple was procuring large LCD screens.
For typical refreshes of GSM-based iPhones (the model that works on AT&Tâ€™s network), suppliers and component product families remain fairly consistent between models. Â But a Verizon compatible iPhone would be CDMA-based, which would make its DNA distinct from other iPhones and traceable through the supply chain.
Alright, so let’s take a moment here and assume that these rumors are true. Let’s say that Apple’s contract with AT&T is up, and come January, we’ll get some sweet, sweet, Verizon iPhone lovin. What needs to happen for this to work out with customers?
Fact is, millions of people resigned with AT&T with their new iPhone, and with that comes higher ETF fees. That means that those people are less likely to buy a new iPhone with Verizon unless it comes with a super sweet deal. So here’s my thought:
Verizon offers a substantial discount to AT&T iPhone users with a current contract to counterbalance the ETF fees. This will cause a hit in the pocketbooks of Verizon short term, but it should bring more people over. Those people will have two-year contracts of their own, and considering AT&T’s track record of crappy service, people aren’t likely to switch back.
Otherwise, January isn’t an option. Yes, Verizon would get some customers over on their side – those willing to pay the expensive ETF fees – but most will wait it out with AT&T until their contract is up. That means that Verizon is going to lose potential customers along the way, and that’s just not a great option.
I still think that the iPhone is moving carriers, but I’m not quite as sure about January.