iPhone spells churn for rival ops

Research firm M:Metrics said Friday that the 67 per cent of US consumers most inclined to purchase an Apple iPhone are subscribers on networks other than AT&T.

It’s great news for AT&T and Rogers Wireless which have exclusive distribution rights for the much anticipated device in the US and Canada respectively, but potentially means increased churn for rival carriers.

Consumer awareness of the device is sky high on both sides of the Atlantic according M:Metrics. In the US a whopping 64 per cent of people surveyed were aware of the phone, compared with 56 per cent in the UK. Of that US contingent, 14 per cent were “highly interested” in purchasing the device despite its hefty price tag and the two year operator tie in.

“Nineteen million Americans reported strong interest in purchasing an iPhone – an impressive figure, when you consider that the installed base of most high-end devices rarely approaches 1 million and respondents were informed of the price point as well as of the AT&T exclusive,” said Mark Donovan, senior vice president, M:Metrics.

Apple boss Steve Jobs’ target of grabbing one per cent of the handset market is starting to look attainable in the firm’s homeland, however, things might be a little trickier in Europe according to M:Metrics’ analyst Paul Goode: “I would certainly expect the UK and US markets to be bigger for the iPhone given the relative success of the iPod. The lower penetration for the iPod across Europe is more of a challenge. I think the exception will be in Italy, which has a high appetite for smartphones,” he said.


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