Do you remember that kid in high school that was a total jerk but everyone pretended to like him because his parents were always out of town and he always threw a lot of parties? According to a recent survey done by ChangeWave, AT&T is the jerk in this analogy and the iPhone is the party. You see, according to their study, 33% of the smartphone owners they surveyed said that they would buy the iPhone if it were offered by someone other than AT&T. On top of that, a completely different study conducted by Deloitte found that 50% of current iPhone owners would dump AT&T like a bad habit if the iPhone were offered on another carrier.
Considering Verizon is getting the iPhone by Spring of 2011, AT&T should be concerned. And if Apple is listening, they should really think about getting an iPhone into T-Mobile and Sprint stores. Heck, T-Mobile is not so overtly courting Apple as we speak. They are already selling iPhone accessories in stores and their recent ad campaign specifically targets the iPhone and hints at how their network would be a better home for Apple’s handset.
At some point AT&T had to read their contract with Apple and realize that their exclusivity agreement eventually ran out. While the iPhone expanding to other carriers certainly won’t cripple the behemoth cellular provider, a mass exodus of subscribers will certainly cause their accountants to pull out their red pens.
When push comes to shove, Apple might realize that they made a mistake going exclusive with AT&T for as long as they did. They certainly aren’t making the same mistake with the iPad as virtually everyone and their mother is selling that along with Apple branded iPad cases and peripherals. Whether the iPhone becomes a free for all as well remains to be seen, but we certainly are headed in that direction.